Steina and Woody Vasulka

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First Name: 
Steina and Woody

Steina Vasulka was born Steinunn Briem Bjarnadottir in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1940. She studied violin and music theory, and in 1959 received a scholarship from the Czechoslovak Ministry of Culture to attend the State Music Conservatory in Prague. Woody and Steina married in Prague in 1964, and shortly thereafter she joined the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. After moving to the United States in 1965 she worked in New York City as a freelance musician. The Vasulkas began working with video in 1969, and in 1971, with Andres Mannik, they founded The Kitchen, an electronic media theater. Since 1980 they have lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Steina has been an artist-in-residence at the National Center for Experiments in Television, at KQED in San Francisco, and at WNET/Thirteen in New York. In 1988 she was an artist-in-residence in Tokyo on a U.S./Japan Friendship Committee grant. In 1996 she served as the artistic co-director and software collaborator at the STEIM Institute for Electronic Instrumental Music in Holland. She has received funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute and the New Mexico Arts Division. She received the American Film Institute Maya Deren Award in 1992 and the Siemens Media Art Prize in 1995. Under the auspices of Montevideo in Amsterdam her various installations have been shown in and outside Holland, and with other major exhibitions in recent years in Austria, Iceland, and Italy. In 1993 she co-curated with Woody the exhibition and catalogue, Eigenwelt der Apparatewelt (pioneers of electronic art) produced by Peter Weibel for Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. In 1996 Steina and Woody exhibited eight new media installations under the title Machine Media at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, an exhibition repeated in Santa Fe a few months later.