Last Party at West End Avenue before Leaving for the Country

Videofreex

1971 | 00:29:44 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Single Titles

Tags: Documentation, TV production, Television, Video History

In this video, the Videofreex host a party during which the main source of entertainment is a video-television feedback loop. In one room, a video camera linked up to a television set allows party guests to see themselves, as if in a mirror, while guests in the other room can also watch the recording, and may speak to them through a microphone. Although the voices of the off-screen guests can be heard on the tape, they are always imageless. In effect, the set up in the first room allows people to hear but not see those with whom they attempt to communicate, while those in the second room, although visually unknown, become the more authoritative narrators and choreographers of the videotaped acts captured in this tape recording. 

Davidson Gigliotti and his young son, Murphy, as well as Mary Curtis, Nancy, Carol, Frank, and other guests of the Videofreex, filter in and out of the two rooms to play in this impromptu video installation. Using masks and other props, they experiment with the feedback loop’s possibilities for communication and mistranslation. The last fifteen minutes of the tape become increasingly surreal as the high pitch of the sound system increases, and the camera, now rotated to its side, creates a world of total spatial and audio misalignment.

 While the party context is a playful one, the larger implications of this feedback installation resonate with the politics of representation utilized and constructed by the news media. It was exactly these types of mistranslations in the media's coverage of Vietnam and Civil Rights events, conditioned by the misalignment of visual and audio information, that alternative media groups, such as the Videofreex, and activist collectives like the Black Panthers, sought to expose and critique.

—Faye Gleisser

 

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Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001

 

Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001

 

 

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung