Hans Breder

TRT 01:09:30 | 1969-2014

Video Details
Hans Breder | 1969 | 00:09:00 | United States | B&W | Silent | 4:3 | 16mm film

Shot on 16mm, this slow-motion film is a glass snow globe with dancers who topple and bounce off the sides of the frame.

The Video Data Bank is pleased to announce the acquisition and distribution of the moving image works of internationally exhibited artist Hans Breder (1935-2017). In a career spanning six decades, Breder’s sensibility was expressed in and between painting, sculpture, photography, music, installation, video and film--each expression an invitation to subversive liminality and momentary transcendence. Breder’s work dissolves boundaries and manipulates perception, sometimes enticing, sometimes shocking the observer to an experience of liminality from which a realm of pure possibility may emerge.

One of the first video artists whose work was included in three Whitney Biennials, Breder founded the Intermedia Program in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa in 1968 and directed it until his retirement as F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor in 2000. The internationally regarded program was built on Breder’s interdisciplinary inclination for intellectual and aesthetic collision.

The VDB has been working with Breder’s representative, Adam Burke (media artist and documentarian who worked as an assistant to Breder from 2014 to 2017), to preserve his titles and prepare them for distribution. To celebrate the launch of the Hans Breder archive at VDB, Burke and the VDB team have selected this program for VDBTV of six titles as a representative introduction.

Featured Titles

boxed-in, Hans Breder

This slow-motion film is a glass snow globe with dancers who topple and bounce off the sides of the frame. Re-purposed by Breder at his Dortmund retrospective as Weisse Tasse in which a video was projected on the side of a white cup.

Rosa, Hans Breder

This interview with a Mexican squatter in Oaxaca, Mexico is an example of the genre that Breder conceptualized as “aesthetic ethnography.” This term refers to processes and form which attempt to illuminate people and cultures in specific historical moments and places through an aesthetic rather than a scientific methodology. 

My TV Dictionary: The Drill, Hans Breder

My TV Dictionary: The Drill is one of several video works Breder created by re-editing recorded footage from cable television movies. This video conveys the violent and sexist subtext of the 24/7 stream of cable television “and thus becomes a potent metaphor for our times” - Jon Hanhardt, 1987

under a malicious sky, Hans Breder

“The images mix fragments of the real and imaginary in a hermetic effort to express the [Breder's] quest for a visual text that is at once personal reflection and cultural criticism. ” - John Hanhardt, 1989


In this video diary of Breder’s trip, the viewer is given an after-hours tour of the Soviet capital. The different segments include a daylight panorama of Red Square, a scene in which Breder is handed the phone by his Russian artist hosts, a walking tour precursor of My Body Sees You, an underground performance with gas flames in a glass column, the midnight changing of the guard at Red Square, and a hypnosis session with a psychic that ends with a close up of another Russian magician on television.

tel-uh-vizh-uh-n, Hans Breder

My TV Dictionary: The Drill (1986) translated through digital filtering in 2014.