Problematizing Pleasure / Punk Theory


Collection: Curated Compilations

Tags: Culture Jamming, Death and Dying, Feminism, Language, Love, Philosophy, Sexuality

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Problematizing Pleasure / Punk Theory

VDB TV: Decades
1980s: Problematizing Pleasure / Punk Theory

An original program for VDB TV: Decades curated by Steve Reinke.

"I was born in 1963, and so the 1980s mean something to me, but I’m not sure what. I think it good, for instance, that I didn’t get AIDS and die. Also, that I only flirted with semiotics. Like cybernetics, which started in the 1950s, grew to dominance in the 1960s and simply faded away in the 1970s, we once believed in semiotics. In the 1980s, it was the way to understand how images contained meanings/produced discourses, and how texts circulate. (How do they circulate? Intertextually.) Perhaps semiotics was the dying gasp of modernism, a conservative strain of modernism posing as postmodernism. The death of the author resulting not in the birth of the reader, but in the birth of a severe, obscure, hermetic semiotician."

  Steve Reinke

This program is also avaliable on VDB TV: Decades, a unique five-disc compilation that casts a distinctive eye over the development of video as an art form from the early 1970s to the present. This five-disc compilation was released during 2017 in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Video Data Bank. Each program was curated by an inspiring artist, scholar or media arts specialist who has focused on a specific decade, diving into the archive of the VDB to create personal, distinctive, and relevant programs, accompanied by original essays and texts. VDB TV: Decades is the perfect accompaniment to VDB’s iconic anthology Surveying the First Decade: Video Art and Alternative Media in the U.S. 1968-80, providing another essential tool for understanding the development of video and media art over the past five decades.

Included Titles

Possibly in Michigan
Possibly In Michigan is an operatic fairytale about cannibalism in Middle America. A masked man stalks a woman through a shopping mall and follows her home. In the end, their roles are reversed when the heroine deposits a mysterious Hefty bag at the...


Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: consumer culture, feminism, music

Tony Oursler
1981 | 23:40
Grand Mal
"Oursler’s thematic concerns betray classic Freudian anxieties about sex and death. In Grand Mal, the hero takes a convoluted odyssey through a landscape of disturbing experiences. The video’s free association includes, "digressions about the...


Collection: Single Titles

Tags: animals, death and dying, drawing, sexuality

Damnation of Faust: Will-o'-the-Wisp (A Deceitful Goal)
The second part of the Damnation of Faust Trilogy centers on the development of Marguerite, the female character in the Faust legend. Masterfully composing fragmentary "memory" images in elegant 19th Century Japanese compositions, Birnbaum traces...


Collection: Single Titles

Tags: feminism, literature

Liza Béar
1983 | 08:00
Earthglow is a poem written for the character generator and switcher that conveys a writer's internal dialogue through both subtle and dramatic color changes and through movement, size, and placement of words. The ambient soundtrack evokes the...


Collection: Single Titles

Tags: language, poetry, technology

Evocation of Faust: Charming Landscape
The final work in the Damnation of Faust Trilogy, ironically titled Charming Landscape, investigates the way in which the urban landscape is a place "where you lose your identity.” Two female residents of the inner city tell their stories in casual...


Collection: Single Titles

Tags: feminism

Julie Zando
1987 | 11:00
Hey Bud
Hey Bud revolves around the suicide of Bud Dwyer, a government official who killed himself before a television audience. Zando compares the suicide to a kind of pornographic sex act that plays upon the tension created between exhibitionist and...


Collection: Single Titles

Tags: body, death and dying, lgbtq

Related Titles

VDB TV: Decades