Lynn Blumenthal

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As an artist, educator, and administrator, Lyn Blumenthal forged new directions and objectives for the field of independent video, creating not only important video pieces but envisioning alternative video as a critical voice within the culture, a medium capable of exposing the numerous foibles and "blind spots" of mainstream media. Her work vitally contributes to feminist and de-constructionist dialogues on commercial television, sharing much in common with the work of Martha Rosler, Dara Birnbaum, and Paper Tiger Television. Blumenthal began making videos in the early 1970s, collaborating with Kate Horsfield on videotaped interviews of women artists discussing the evolution of their work. In 1976 the two founded the Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Committed to the application of feminist theory to video practice, the art videotapes Blumenthal produced during the early 1980s investigate issues of women's identity and sexuality as a crisis of representation, addressing the need to understand the limited models our culture offers women and the ways in which traditional male power is encoded in these models. Her tapes weave together stunning visuals and theoretical analysis, most usually with a biting sense of humor that tears the veil away from cherished cultural institutions such as television and the family. "The world is divided between 'his' culture and 'her' nature. My own resistance to this demands that I am forever dodging his projects of representation, of reproduction, of his grasp. That this resistance should all too often take the form of a death struggle between two consciousnesses does not alter the fact that at stake here, somewhere, evermore insistent in its deathly hauteur is the risk that the subject as self will crumble away. What if the 'object' started to speak?" óLyn Blumenthal ---from Video Data Bank