Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978)

Dara Birnbaum is an American video artist who is perhaps most famous for her provocative and influential contributions to the contemporary discourse on art and popular culture.
Recognized as one of the first video artists to employ the appropriation of television images as a subversive strategy, Birnbaum recontextualizes pop cultural icons and TV genres to reveal their subtexts. Birnbaum describes her tapes as new ready-mades for the late 20th century.

Birnbaum isolates and repeats the moments of the real womans transformation into superhero. In doing so, Birnabaum is subverting its meaning within the television context. She condenses the comic-book narrative distilling its essence to allow the subtext to emerge.
A stutter-step progression of extended moments unmasks the technological miracle of Wonder Woman's transformation, playing psychological transformation off of television product. Birnbaum considers this tape an altered state which renders the viewer capable of re-examining those looks which, on the surface, seem so banal that even the supernatural transformation of a secretary into a Wonder Woman is reduced to a burst of blinding light and a turn of the body.

Gestures (1974)

Although best known as a photographer and a performance artist, Hannah Wilkebegan her career as a sculptor working in ceramics, a practice that was the foundation for all other aspects of her artistic practice.
Gestures traces the ways in which the artist’s expanded notion of sculpture threads through diverse aspects of her body of work.

The exhibition will begin with a focused look at Hannah Wilke’s early sculpture and include, as examples, her early box sculptures and the gestural objects.
The show will then consider the way in which Wilke’s complex conception of sculpture fed the development of her living sculptures, video, and performance art.


Omaha Perez has collaborated with numerous writers including Richard Hell, Robert Hunter and Steve Niles.
In the mid-nineties Omaha was known for such indie comics as Raw Periphery, Shock The Monkey and Prey for us Sinners.
The Society of Illustrators New York, the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, and the Spectrum illustration annual have recognized Omaha’s work.

A Buck's Worth

This short is based on the short stories of Edgar Keret. The story is essential in his structure: gun in hand, a homeless man requests a dollar. It was used as proof of concept for the feature film $9.99.

Using refined stop-motion techniques, Tatia Rosenthal orchestrates an existential drama of interlinking and parallel stories, able to make the spectator forget the characters are puppets, creating emotions as if they were flesh and blood actors.

Perfect Leader (1983)

The first in a series of social satire pieces, a powerful computer creates the perfect political candidate and, in the process, director Max Almy presents an alternative take on political image making and marketing. This topic is worked through via a combination of live action, audio and video special effects, an original soundtrack, and a heavy dose of omnipotent computer animation.

Perfect Leader shows that ideology is the product and power is the payoff. The process of political imagemaking and the marketing of a candidate is revealed, as an omnipotent computer manufactures the perfect candidate, offering up three political types: Mr. Nice Guy, an evangelist, and an Orwellian Big Brother. Behind the candidates, symbols of political promises quickly degenerate into icons of oppression and nuclear war.

Mondo Mecho

You can continue to read Mondo Mecho. It's by Jesper Nordqvist.

David Holzman's Diary (1967)

David Holzman's Diary is a film which spoofs the art of documentary-making. It tells the story of a young man making a documentary of his life, who discovers something important about himself while making the movie.
Newly unemployed and beset with doubts and worries, Holzman thinks that filming his everyday existence will bring life into focus. Staged to seem like a documentary of a real person's life, Holzman’s filming of his life starts to take over his life.

Brilliantly conceived and executed by Jim McBride, it manages to simultaneously be very much of its time and very many years ahead of its time.
Amid the free-flowing, episodic structure of this rather scratchy and low-key movie, there are some arresting moments. On the surface it looks like a verity film and it does include spontaneous scenes like the one where a transsexual pulls up the car and starts talking to a non-diegetic cameraman.


By Marco Milone.

Mongoloid (1978)

Mongoloid is a prime example of music video, in which various black and white film clips containing anything from educational films to old commercials are spliced together and set to the old Devo song, Mongoloid. It was not actually made by the band, but by experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner. He combined 1950s television advertisements, science fiction film clips, and scientific documentaries with abstract animation and original film work.

It's a documentary film exploring the manner in which a determined young man overcame a basic mental defect and became a useful member of society. Insightful editing techniques reveal the dreams, ideals and problems that face a large segment of the American male population.
You can buy Two Films by Bruce Conner.

T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, (1968)

Paul Jeffrey Sharits was a visual artist, best known for his work in avant-garde filmmaking, particularly what became known as the Structural film movement, along with artists such as Tony Conrad, Hollis Frampton and Michael Snow.
Trained as a graphic artist and a painter, he became a noted avant-garde filmmaker noted for manipulating the film stock itself to create a variety of fascinating, abstract light and colorplays when projected on the screen.

There are moments in cinematic art when the narrative of the film is subjectively implied and subsequently written by the viewer. while this is common to most structural and lyrical films in the experimental genre, none hits louder than T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G,. an angry and demonic piece that simultaneously lulls you into awareness and hypnotizes you into an emotive overload.


By Brion Foulke. You can continue to read Flipside.

Ventura (2001)

Stuart Pound has a background in film-making and computing, and digital video brought the two together. Over the past 12 years he has collaborated with the poet Rosemary Norman on a number of videos.

An experiment in personal history.The footage was shot in the London Docklands. But who is the speaker who was told that he was english? Was his mother really born in California? What was her connection with Ireland and Germany, if any? And what does the sculpture ‘black form’, in a park in Hamburg, have to do with it?

Time/Temperature (1973)

John Baldessari's works often attempt to point out irony in contemporary art theory and practices or reduce it to absurdity. His videos have been featured in more than 120 solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe.

The artist as shaman or alchemist proves to be a tedious fraud. In Time/Temperature a small hourglass and thermometer measure properties that are otherwise invisible. Like the camera, these are indexical instruments, but where the camera would ordinarily be taken for granted, these devices seem self-evident.

The Cool World (1964)

The Cool World is about life in the African-American ghetto in the early 1960s. A black teenager robs, brawls, and peddles dope on the mean streets of Harlem, dreaming of walking tall with his gang, the Royal Pythons, and his idol, a hipster-pusher named Priest.
There is a clearly patent allegory of an attempt to attain manhood and identity in the only way accessible to him - the antisocial one: the desperate meaning of segregation that will not easily be erased even if every civil rights battle is won for the next ten years…

The Cool World is the first film about Harlem that was actually shot in Harlem. Shilrley Clarke's film is a landmark of American independent cinema for its blending storytelling with documentary-style location shooting. Hanging the camera from the ceiling provides a very personal experience for the viewer. Dark yellow hued interior scenes capture the true feeling of the dwellings of the gang members.
Clarke looks at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society.
Armed with the eye of an Italian neo-realist, Clarke stand as benchmarks of the American new wave, exploring the boundaries between fiction and documentary. Clarke's lens was more than a recording device: it was a provocateur exploring the cinematic bond between actor, filmmaker and viewer.

Now (1965)

Santiago Alvarez fired off 'Now!', one of the most powerful bursts of propaganda rendered in the 1960s. He used a song by Lena Horne that was banned in America but that Horne gave Alvarez to use in the film. Using mostly photographs clipped from American magazines such as Life, Álvarez creates a dynamic montage of images in juxtaposition with the lyrics of Now.
Not intended as a work of great subtlety, Alvarez wields other people's images with perhaps more artistry than those who created them, and builds a remarkable piece of rhetorical cinema in the process.

The result is a highly emotional commentary on racism, using mostly pirated newsreel images, which synthesises music and visuals with astonishing precision.
Álvarez was almost certainly influenced by the photomontages of the German communist John Heartfield from the 1920’s and 1930s, but the only film collage work of a marginally left political nature that pre dates Now is that done in Northern California by Bruce Conner and Bruce Baillie.

Sunstone (1979)

As both an artist and a teacher, Emshwiller's pioneering efforts to develop an alternative technological language in video were enormously influential. His early experiments with synthesizers and computers included the electronic rendering of three-dimensional space, the interplay of illusion and reality, and manipulations of time, movement, and scale that explore the relationship between "external reality and subjective feelings.

Sunstone is a landmark tape. Symbolic and poetic, it is a pivotal work in the development of an electronic language to articulate three-dimensional space. The opening image is an iconic face, which appears to be electronically carved' from stone. A mystical third eye, brilliantly crafted from a digital palette, radiates with vibrant transformations of color and texture.
Emshwiller's humanistic approach to technology ushered in the 1980s with a new electronic vocabulary for conceptualizing and visualizing images in space and time has been amazing.

Heuschrecken (1969)

Heuschrecken is the first real video installation made by Wolf Vostell .
Two photos confront each other on a large screen: on the left, a lesbian couple making love, on the right a newspaper photo of Russian tanks rolling into Prague. The two topical subjects are juxtaposed as antitheses. Arranged above the photos are signs from a meteorological chart of the USA, below them a row of 20 monitors that show the face of any entering visitors who happens to fall within the video camera's field of view. On the floor is tar with residues of hair, shoes, bones.

Vostell's works were always critical of society. He tried to detach himself from the stigma of the artist as the suffering individual. As he considered art and life to be equal, he thought artists had to take joint responsibility for history.
His starting-paint was his theory of De-coll/age, which stands for an omnipresent process of decomposition and wear. This conception covers all destructive action. In his oeuvre he used destructive techniques and showed objects or concepts torn out of context in a new framework. He wanted to confront his public with fear, destruction and human distress, to achieve a therapeutical effect.

Tommy Atomic 2

By Ryan Dunlavey.