"The video Emission found its origin in three performances which I wrote between 1988 and 1991. In their original form, the performances dealt with sex, romance, and communication technologies. The video elaborates upon these themes to speak of how human beings exist in a margin between nature and technology, and works towards confounding any simplified analysis of this worn-out duality.
Benglis uses the video format as a metaphor for other types of limiting conditions or limited realities. "The constant motion of Benglis's hand-held camera (scanning her studio and two television sets) calls attention to the limits of the camera's field of vision: the walls of the studio are the ultimate 'enclosure' of the camera's eye. The open window and the sound of children (from the street) seem to suggest release; yet the confines of the studio are never truly broken."
Irreverent yet poignant, The Eternal Frame is a re-enactment of the assassination of John F. Kennedy as seen in the famous Zapruder film. This home movie was immediately confiscated by the FBI, yet found its way into the visual subconscious of the nation. The Eternal Frame concentrates on this event as a crucial site of fascination and repression in the American mindset.
"The intent of this work was to examine and demystify the notion of the presidency, particularly Kennedy, as image archetype...."
Made from silent black and white tube camera footage of the artist taken by her father in the early 70s, this series of loops—through the examination of particular moments and gestures— is evocative for what it reveals and conceals about their relationship.
In 1972, Robert Morris and Lynda Benglis agreed to exchange videos in order to develop a dialogue between each other’s work. Morris’s video, Exchange, is a part of that process—a response to Benglis’s Mumble. At the beginning of the piece, Morris comments on the nature of the collaboration, their interaction, and what they represent to each other. Morris’s speculations about work, travel, and relationships are juxtaposed with frozen images of race cars, Benglis herself, images from Benglis's video, and Manet’s Olympia.
There are times when concurrent multiple realities demand an attempt to determine who has this "place in the sun" and where, exactly, it is located. Hearts and Helicopters occurs at that moment in the lives of four people.
Acconci listens to his own recorded monologue of sexually intimate secrets and repeatedly tries to obscure these secrets by shouting over the tape, demonstrating the paradoxical situation of the artist confounded by two desires: to reveal oneself for the sake of pleasing the audience, and the conflicting desire to protect one’s own ego. As viewers, we are intrigued and tantalized by the confession we never hear.
This sprawling drama about a group of country folk sucked into the fashion world of magazine layouts and romantic intrigue features a cast of glamorously garbed gals and good-natured bumpkins. Produced in collaboration with his students at the San Francisco Art Institute, the picture delivers high-octane antics fueled by the $800 budget and creative desperation typically inherent in these types of endeavors. The cast is large and labors valiantly with the high speed shooting schedule and color saturated subplots.
“This melodrama, staged by me and produced with my students at the San Francisco Art Institute, follows the turbulent journey of an aspiring singer as she flees a frigid environment to heat up a tepid career. Hauling along her decrepit mom and an equally cadaverous aunt, our heroine falls prey to a variety of libido-inspired stresses and also has a tragic debut at a disco club populated by repressed, trailer trash and ousted meteorologists. It’s a fast moving trip from north to south with many odd detours for the viewer to relish.”
Feathers: An Introduction is a self-portrait centered on the story of Latham's grandmother’s comforter which, old and worn, scatters feathers everywhere. Displaying an arresting stage presence, Latham addresses the viewer as a potential friend or lover, speaking in a soft-spoken near-whisper, and gingerly touching and kissing the camera lens and monitor. Then, almost mocking the video’s intimacy, Latham gives us close-ups of herself chewing a sandwich and shaving her armpits, heightening the sense that she has been playing cat and mouse with the viewer all along.
An original program for VDB TV curated by Rachael Rakes and Leo Goldsmith. These striking videos each examine a force of feeling which is beyond emotion or affect, and which often elicit physical sensation.