Art Collective

In this interview, Indian artist Shuddhabrata Sengupta (b. 1968) discusses his role in the initiation of the Raqs Media Collective, a Delhi-based artist collective, active since the 1990s. At the time of this interview, Raqs had been creating documentaries, art installations, and educational programs for eighteen years. Sengupta likens the driving force of Raqs to that of a game of catch, a process generated by a back-and-forth dialogue mobilized through writing and in-person meetings. As children of the late sixties, Sengupta explains how and why the members of Raqs, (himself, Jeebesh Bagchi and Monica Narula) share an interest in investigating mass communication, technologies of visibility, and the significance of memory and travel. It is also for this reason, Sengjupta explains, that the Collective’s work is committed to fostering rigorous research in addition to art-making endeavors.

Parry Teasdale, David Cort and Chuck Kennedy visit The Kitchen in New York looking for Shirley Clarke, and bump into Steina and Woody Vasulka who are overseeing a show in progress.  A few doors down they find Shirley in her studio, dressed in white and full of energy. 

A Japanese Kabuki-influenced performance piece, shot in the woods in Winter. A masked woman emerges from a snowy forest and approaches a stone dwelling, where another woman is waiting.  The pair enact a tea ceremony in silence. 

In the next scene the tea tray appears in the road, and then disappears after a car passes.  Image processing magic.

Please note, production year is approximate.

Spell Reel is an archive of film and audio material from Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. On the verge of complete ruin, the footage testifies to the birth of Guinean cinema as part of the decolonising vision of Amílcar Cabral, the liberation leader who was assassinated in 1973. In collaboration with the Guinean filmmakers Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes, as well as many others, Filipa César imagines a journey where this fragile matter from the past operates as a visionary prism of shrapnel with which to look through.

The Swing, 1972

Simultaneously dark, surreal, and unnerving, this seventeen-minute tape is a stark departure from the usually playful productions of the Videofreex. Through the use of slow fades, processed audio, and the juxtaposition of often-times violent imagery with a bleak, winter forest, the viewer is thrust into an atmospheric and experimental trip.

Sybil, 1970

Nancy Cain interviews an upside down chin face about Women's Liberation, asking "Where do you stand on the subject?"  The chin face professes to be happy with her lot, and says she enjoys living alone with her cat.

This video was shot in the Prince Street, New York loft/studio used by the Videofreex.

 

Parry Teasdale is one of the founding members of the video art collective Videofreex, which was active in the 1960s and 70s. In this extensive two-part interview Teasdale explores the collective’s motivations and endeavors, which embodied the social and political concerns of the period.

In this tape the Videofreex document an impromptu experimental art gathering in 1971, hosted by New York artist, Tosun Bayrak. Before entering the gathering, the Freex record their encounters with a police officer, passersby, and a member of Vegetarians for Ecological Action (an animals’ rights activist group) protesting the misuse of animals in performance art.

This two-disc title contains the following video documentation: