A troupe of male and female jugglers and musicians perform for a growing crowd in Central Park, New York, led by Hovey Burgess and Judy Finelli. The sun is shining, and the troupe are skilful, playful, and flirtatious.
"In this record of a live performance, Acconci gives physical manifestation to the subterranean regions of the artist’s mind and will, revealing the effort he must make as an artist to simultaneously convince himself and his audience. Perhaps no other piece from the early 1970s more thoroughly spells out the psychologized drama engendered by performance-based video....
C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience), Part 1 is a collaborative video and performance work by artists A.L. Steiner and robbinschilds, with AJ Blandford and Seattle-based band Kinski. Inhabiting the intersection of human movement and architecture, A.L. Steiner and robbinschilds (Sonya Robbins and Layla Childs) present a full-spectrum video, set to a score by rock quartet Kinski.
"Emptiness: I just watched your latest video, Colchones Individuales (Single Beds), Volume 1: Desolacion, and I wanted to write you about it. Oddly, Single Beds sums up much of what I have been thinking lately. In these times of speed, where everything is propelled forward at an incredibly spiraling rate, it is only in moments of pause, of inertia, that we examine what is occurring to us. Your piece, Single Beds, performs an arrested time, a succinct suspension of time. (It is in many ways a companion piece to an earlier video of yours Staying Alive).
With Cold Harbor, Donigan Cumming uses a minimum of elements to create a powerful anti-war message. Initially, the video seems enigmatic, almost abstract. An amateur Handycam moves tentatively around a hospital room, panning and zooming from the view out the window to the dark-skinned old man lying on the bed. The image is shaky, blurred, often out of focus. Off-screen, a radio or television blares the news.
Three basic compositions are played and recombined in Collage: a hockey game; arms swinging across the screen; and a hand holding one, two, then three oranges. As in her other work, Benglis plays with several generations of each shot, rescanning the screen, and placing objects in front of the monitor. Organized around color and rhythm, each segment uses bright colors, rapid movements, and complex layers of images to present a mesmerizing compendium of information that frustrates any sense of narrative.
Torn over the pressure to perform for his audience, Acconci fantasizes about "a dancing bear" who takes his place, performing in the spotlight, doing what others want, "what I always had to do." The viewer is placed in the position of an authority or analyst, above Acconci’s head, listening to his hallucination. This fantasy becomes increasingly erotic as Acconci unburdens himself psychologically and reveals his contradictory need to control and to be controlled.
This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.
In the Post Pony Trilogy, Coonley serves as frustrated host to a series of flawed lessons on currency markets and current events. His heartbreak over a missing pony sidekick presents an obstacle to achieving his pedagogical goals. While coping with the lingering effects of a broken heart, Coonley struggles to maintain composure for his audience, who are instructed to interact with the videos. In the final segment, The Last Pony, ponies replace Coonley altogether and discover that their method of anarchic equine instruction is more interesting than the human’s method.
The Trick Pony Trilogy is a series of parodic instructional videos hosted by the artist and a talking mechanical hobbyhorse. Human and pony present lessons on a series of rule-based systems including Texas country dancing, the film editing principle known as the “Kuleshov Effect,” and football strategy. The pony serves as sidekick and foil to Coonley’s stuttering pedantic Everyman, disrupting his academic demonstrations with songs, whinnies and frequent requests to be brushed.
In a series of 1992 performances, Coco Fusco and performance co-creator Guillermo Gómez-Peña decked themselves out in primitive costumes and appeared before the public as “undiscovered AmerIndians” locked in a golden cage—an exercise in faux anthropology based on racist images of natives. Presented eight times in four different countries, these simple performances evoked various responses, the most startling being the huge numbers of people who didn’t find the idea of “natives” locked in a cage objectionable.
“The idea was to address the cultural invisibility of older women through art and through action,” the voice-over explains as this video begins. This short works offers an introduction to the Whisper Minnesota Project, which organized The Crystal Quilt performance, an event that brought together hundreds of women over 60 on a Mother’s Day in Minneapolis. As the video explains, “The Crystal Quilt is a case study in reframing notions of older women’s beauty, power, and relevance. Through it we catch glimpses of life patterns and values lost to our generation.”
"If there's something big, big that you want to reach for, you begin by dreaming." —Ivonne and Ivette
"The discomfort in Sleepworld Volume 1 is that of being oneself. The videos included here look at who we are and what we imagine we are. They are experiments in appearances, about the use of artifice to improve life or hide it. It is a reflection on moral displacement, hypocrisy, self-contained dreams, self-loathing, self-destruction in order to repeatedly kill our dreams.
Cuevas is obsessed with the micro movements of daily life, with the border between truth and fiction, with the "impossibility" of reality. Her work relentlessly seeks out the layers of lies covering the everyday representations of reality and systematically explores the fictions of national identity and gender.