Performance

This video is staged as a reading of the great Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky's famous poem A Cloud in Trousers, written 1914-15. It was an attempt to go beyond the autobiographical mode of Fast Trip, Long Drop by appropriating the allegorical potential of another artist's work. Mayakovsky's poem is lyrical and didactic, romantic and materialist.

1-87, 1976

"Inspired by Ralph Hocking's fish biting video.  Eighty-seven stones thrown, volumes shifting of water sound, a real time performance event. Holding the camera and throwing 87 stones into the frame. 1/2" reel to reel Sony portapack." 

– Peer Bode

2x2, 1997

On the narrow stairway that exits Paul Kos’s Tunnel\Chapel, where his 27-channel Chartres Bleu installation is housed, Kos writes with both hands on opposite walls, recording the narrative of Noah’s Ark.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

Joan Logue cuts down considerably Andy Warhol’s projection of fifteen minutes of fame, with this compilation of 30-Second Spots. Produced to be broadcast as individual, mini-documentaries on the included artists and their work, Logue’s short interpretive video pieces feature a prime time selection of over twenty New York performance artists, composers, dancers and writers, including Maryanne Amacher, Robert Ashley, David Behrman, John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Douglas Ewart, Simone Forti, Jon Gibson, Philip Glass, Spalding Gray, Joan Jonas, Bill T.

An audience-interactive demonstration of Lev Kuleshov’s famous editing experiment, and a 3D review of loosely related principles of subject/spectator empathy.

Note: should be viewed through 3D glasses. See http://store.yahoo.com/rainbowsymphony/an3dglasreda.html 

This title is also available on Ben Coonley: Trick Pony Trilogy.

5%, 2001

5% is a ten-minute work that questions the cult of pop stardom, deconstructs music industry practices, considers the problematics of live performance, and suggests other, more anonymous working strategies.

50 Blue, 2009

In 50 Blue a young man (the artist’s brother) pushes an elderly disabled man (the artist’s father) in a wheel chair through a muddy landscape. It is a long and exhausting trip to an unknown destination only discovered at the end. After an arduous struggle the two arrive at the edge of a grey lake where a 10-meter high guard tower stands. The young man ties the wheel chair to a rope and hoists the old man up on the tower platform with the help of eight men, all dressed in yellow plastic raincoats.

Mexican video artist Ximena Cuevas documented the preparations and opening of the Marina Abramovic Videoinstalaciones exhibit at Mexico City's Laboratorio Arte ALameda, the first Abramovic exhibition ever to take place in Mexico, in November of 2008.  Cuevas captures the self proclaimed "performance grandmother" in a number of personal and performative moments as she readies for the opening.

A "painter" casts out the demons that haunt his canvases and who creep into his bed at night.

Vito Acconci (b. 1940) is known as a conceptual designer, installation and performance artist. In the 1960s he embraced performance in order to "define my body in space, find a ground for myself, an alternate ground from the page ground I had as a poet." Acconci’s early performances, including Claim (1971) and Seedbed (1972), were extremely controversial, transgressing assumed boundaries between public and private space and between audience and performer.

An homage to early videoworks by William Wegman, starring Man and Fay Ray's stand-ins.

"Anne McGuire shows that men are dogs."

--Ed Halter, New York Underground Film Festival (2003)

The HalfLifers exhume cinema’s favorite incarnation of mindless, decaying mortality, the Zombie, in the hopes of breathing new life into this misunderstood figure. From a panel discussion in an old TV studio to a quarantined helicopter high above California’s rolling hills, these life-challenged entities walk, talk, and chew over some of the more difficult questions of this “whole linear birth-death system."

This title is also available on HalfLifers: The Complete History.

Agoraphobic is a portrayal of a specific case of New-Age impotence. The agoraphobic's pathology manifests itself as a need to drink his victim's blood in order to move from place to place. Set in an office interior, Agoraphobic becomes a play on the patient / therapist relationship, suggesting an imbalance in the transfer of baggage. 

The word-based art and performances crafted by world-renowned artist Alison Knowles (b.1933) are central to the 1960s international Fluxus movement and its enduring legacy. Describing her experience as a student at Pratt University in the 1950s where she learned from Richard Lindner and Adolf Gottlieb, Knowles recalls her transition from Abstract Expressionist painting to the chance operations initiated by John Cage and Bertolt Brecht.

McGuire constructs a murky black and white soap-opera world of endless, timeless, and placeless limbo, where the characters talk to each other entirely in clichés, bad poetry, and other contrite forms of speech — a short TV show in which nothing is resolved. The video culminates in an absolutely stunning monologue performance by legendary underground film and videomaker George Kuchar.

The only Benglis video with a discernable plot, The Amazing Bow-Wow follows the adventures of a talking, hermaphroditic dog given to Rexina and Babu by a carnival barker. Rexina and Babu soon decide to make the dog a sideshow act hoping to earn their fortune. Babu eventually becomes jealous of Rexina's devotion to the dog and one night attempts to castrate it, accidentally cutting off its tongue. The dog's head becomes hideous and skeletal, ruining its sideshow career and the profits.

In the video An Evening with Kembra, Glennda and Brenda attend one of Kembra Pfahler's dinner shows on New York City's Lower East Side. At her show, she performs cabaret versions of songs from her band The Volumptuous Horror of Karen Black. After the show, the group discusses the relationship of her work to queer culture. Interspersed throughout the video are two short clips: a skit entitled Drag Queen Starter Kit, and a call to boycott a bakery due to its discriminatory behavior. 

"Ever on the lookout for learning opportunities, Reinke envisions an art institute where you don’t have to make anything, and with a library full of books glued together. All the information’s there—you just don’t have to bother reading it!"
—New York Video Festival (2002)

 

Laurie Anderson is perhaps best known as a performance artist who works in both the art and commercial worlds. Anderson talks to Steven Poser through a voice manipulator, commenting on how performing abroad has informed her work and her perspective on American culture, especially regarding issues of language and voice in communication.

This video was produced for the Artists TV Network series Conversations.

Woman, monster, animal? A portrait of a woman's face, the movement slowed down and reversed, the grotesquely made-up face examined in close-up.

Animal, 2009

Masked men prowling in the bushes and not touching anything but satin, dandelions and flesh.

 

Through the testimonies of five women, this video lays out the complex problem of anorexia, detailing how the disease develops as a response to both personal and societal pressures. The common thread in these accounts is how the disease clusters around a need to control one’s body, and how not-eating becomes a way to gain that control, with anxieties and frustrations being displaced onto a negative obsession with food.

Aquatics, 1997

Actions speed up, slow down, and run at regular speed. The usual props are there, as is a wet dog. Subtle nuances are revealed as the behavior of the anxiety-laden protagonists is rendered, for once, in real-time.

This title is also available on HalfLifers: Rescue Series and HalfLifers: The Complete History.

Using highly-manipulated and over-processed images, Latham investigates the process of video as inherently fragmented. Weaving together various people’s impressions of the artist and her work, the work demonstrates important parallels between video, storytelling, and the formation of identity — all processes of active fabrication that blend “lies” and truth in the construction of a certain reality, history, or past. Labeling an image of herself talking as “her most recent explanation,” Latham addresses “the construction of her video personality” as an identity outside of herself.

This documentary explores the groundbreaking street performances of Cuban artist JuanSí González during the 1980s. A pioneer of relational aesthetic practice in Cuba, González transformed public spaces in Havana into laboratories for edgy exchanges between artists and the public and created numerous works that threw art's role in a socialist society into question. His experiments provoked surprise from his peers and suspicion from state authorities. Twenty years later, the artist sat down to reflect on the relevance of those performances for the development of Cuban contemporary art.