This section comprises taped interviews with artists, architects, musicians, critics and other creative practitioners, recorded in conversation with Video Data Bank staff, colleagues from the School of the Art Institute faculty, and others knowledgeable about the particular interviewees work.
The first interview dates from 1976, the year of VDB’s official inauguration, and VDB continues to add to the collection to this day, recording and producing approximately ten new interviews a year. Many of the interviewees are guests of S AIC departments, such as the Visiting Artists program or Conversations at the Edge screening series, or invitees of the Society for Contemporary Art. The VDB interviews supplement these visits, allowing for an in-depth conversation that underlines the development of an artists’ practice.
Coco Fusco is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and writer. She has performed, lectured, exhibited, and curated around the world since 1988. She is the author of English is Broken Here (The New Press,1995), The Bodies That Were Not Ours and Other Writings (Routledge/inIVA, 2001) and the editor of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (Routledge, 1999) and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (Abrams, 2003).
In this 2014 interview, South African artist Kendell Geers (b. 1968) discusses the function of magic, myth, and memory in his work. Beginning at childhood, Geers charts the path he has taken in his understanding of his own biography as a site of resistance. This interest in the use of personal biography culminated in 1993 with his decision to change his date of birth to May 1968 as a way to reference both the May 1968 student protests, and the fact that 1993 was the first year that South Africa had participated in the Venice Biennale since 1968.
In this 2002 interview, filmmaker Joe Gibbons (b.1953) discusses his early work and the path that led him to an interest in both narrative and experimental film. Gibbons recalls how exposure to P. Adams Sitney’s Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde while at Antioch College would compel him to begin making his own structural films. Describing his appreciation for the directness and immediacy of experimental filmmaking, Gibbons discusses a subject’s relationship with the camera as one characterized by intense intimacy.
The Guerilla Girls are an anonymous activist group who refer to themselves as “the conscience of the art world” and whose stated goal is to combat racism and sexism. Through posters, magazine ads, exhibitions, and panels, they have educated and agitated the art world with statistics on the under-representation of women and minorities in galleries, museums, and the press. This interview is conducted with three Guerrilla Girls, who appear adorned in their trademark gorilla masks to ensure their anonymity.
Interview by Carole Tormollan.
This extensive interview with California artist Doug Hall (b. 1944) provides unique insight into the culture and politics of experimental artistic production during the 1970s. Discussing the founding of the performance group TR Uthco, Hall offers context for his contribution to the field of video art, and shares stories of his collaborations with Ant Farm, Videofreex, and others. Ranging from his early years as an art student, to his romance with artist Diane Andrews Hall, to reflections on technology in art, this interview importantly extends the discourse surrounding topics of archive, performativity, and autobiography—subjects that have come to define the contours of video art today.
Dee Dee Halleck is a media activist, one of the founders of Paper Tiger Television and the Deep Dish Satellite Network, and was a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California-San Diego. Her first film, Children Make Movies (1961), was about a filmmaking project at the Lillian Wald Settlement in Lower Manhattan. She has led media workshops with elementary school children, reform school youth, and migrant farmers.
Newton Harrison, born 1932, is one of the earliest and best known social practice and environmental artists. He and Helen Mayer Harrison collaborated under the name Harrison Studio for most of their lives, working in a variety of mediums in collaboration with scientists, political activists, and many others to start dialogues about community development and engagement. In conversation with Claire Pentecost, a writer and professor of photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harrison discusses his expansive career, and offers advice for younger artists working today.
Louis Henderson’s work focuses on anti-colonialism and criticizing the neocolonialisation of cyberspace. Born in England in 1983, he graduated from London College of Communication and Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains. He recently finished a post-diplôme at the European School of Visual Arts.
In this interview, Brian Holmes, an influential art critic, activist and translator, discusses social forms of alienation, human ecologies of power, and the impact of technology on geopolitical social networks. Holmes reflects on his ongoing study of the ways in which the rhetoric of revolution has been institutionalized, as well as artists’ resistance to such cooption. For him, artists working in collectives have the potential to create a new artistic milieu that is not aligned with the dominant model of production. This argument is born out in his published collection of essays, Hieroglyphics of the Future (2003).
Documentarian and independent film producer Warrington Hudlin co-founded the Black Filmmaker Foundation in the late-1970s to help develop and promote emerging artists. More recently, he has been involved in DV Republic, a web-based alternative media site that is “socially concerned, entertainment driven,” and the screening series World Cinema Showcase, hosted by the American Museum of the Moving Image.
Interview by Shelley Shepard.
A historical interview originally recorded in 1983.
Juliana Huxtable was born in Texas and studied at Bard College, NY. An artist working across video, photography, poetry, and music, her practice demands a reexamination of the canon of art history in order to break the cycle of misrepresentation and under-representation in the contemporary art world.
The 1970s witnessed unprecedented artistic development of non-traditional media – chief among them were textiles and fabrics. Diane Itter was at the forefront of this boom in craft-oriented art making, designing colorful, geometric and exceedingly intricate fiber works that demanded near countless hours of time to execute. In this interview she discusses her practice, as well as the pitfalls that are encountered while working in what was – at the time of the interview – a still largely marginalized art form.
Alfredo Jaar is a politically motivated artist whose work includes installation, photography and film. Born in Chile and now living in the U.S., Jaar’s socio-critical installations explore global political issues, frequently focusing on the Third World and the relationship between consumption and power. A 1988 installation in a subway station in New York involved dramatic photographs of impoverished gold miners n Brazil interspersed with quotations of current gold prices, drawing an unexpected parallel between the material desires that motivate people in both poverty-stricken Brazil and a
In this 1993 contribution to the On Art and Artists series, artist Art Jones describes his entry into the world of activist media, and the genesis of his belief in the potential for a democratized street-level media. Hailing from the Bronx, Jones recalls his personal dislocation during college, when he began studying film and video at SUNY Purchase. At that time, Jones experienced a cultural isolation, which he mobilized to fuel his practice. This willingness to confront issues of representation and absence, asserting the validity of his own subjecthood, would become a defining characteristic of his work.
Miranda July (b.1974) makes performances, movies, and recordings—often in combination. Her videos (The Amateurist, Nest of Tens, Getting Stronger Every Day) present complicated parallel narratives with characters who experience loneliness, exploitation, unexpected phobias, and often inexplicable relationships. July has also recorded several performance albums released by Kill Rock Stars and K Records. In 1995 she founded Joanie 4 Jackie, an on-going movie distribution network for independent women movie makers.