Pop-Pop Video: General Hospital/Olympic Women Speed Skate

Dara Birnbaum

1980 | 00:05:30 | United States | English | Color | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Feminism, Media Analysis, Television, Video History

The "cross-over" in Olympic Women Speed Skating is juxtaposed against General Hospital's whites in reverse angle shots. A couple tries disparagingly to reach an understanding. Skaters continuously return to the starting line. Frustration and exertion combine with originally scored soundtracks of disco, rock, and jazz.

"Dara Birnbaum's Pop-Pop Video... [has] been hailed as [a] classic of the new wave. [The tape] juxtaposes fragments from a soap opera with sequences of ice skating races. The graceful movements of the skaters punctuate repeated excerpts from a dreadfully intense discussion between a doctor and his patient: β€˜He doesn't do anything, doesn't say anything.... It's just the way he looks at me.... That sound crazy?’ The narrative builds up slowly as a few more words of the deadly dialogue are released. Extended in this way, the pathos is bare, the narrative content becomes meaningless and the result is particularly moving." --Katherine Elwes, Performance (July/August 1981)

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