Woody Vasulka

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Woody Vasulka was born Bohuslav Peter Vasulka in Brno, Czechoslovakia in 1937. After graduating from a technical school, he was placed in a nearby factory. Dissatisfied with his lot, he applied to the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague to study film. Several documentary films later, he graduated and moved to New York in 1965 with his wife Steina. For a few years Woody free-lanced as an editor for various large-format, multi-screen projects.Encountering the half-inch video "portapack" in 1969, he quit film to dedicate himself to working with electronic media. Collaborating with Steina Vasulka and Andres Mannik in 1971, he founded The Kitchen in, an electronic media theater in New York City.The same year, under Electronic Art Intermix's umbrella he formed with Steina and Eric Siegel the group Perception. After some pioneering work in video, he moved to Buffalo in 1973 to become a professor at the Center for Media Study. While on the faculty in 1974, Woody turned his attention to the analog Rutt/Etra Scan Processor. In 1976, the NEA funded a collaborative project with the Experimental Television Center to investigate computer control over analog video imagery. Vasulka bought a DEC LSI-11 computer, which inspired him and Jeffrey Schier to build a rare and original imaging device, "The Digital Image Articulator." He left his teaching position in 1980, and moved to New Mexico where he continues his investigation into what he calls "New Epistemic Space." Since 1993, he has been a visiting professor at the Faculty of Arts of the Polytechnic Institute in his home town, Brno, Czech Republic. Under a commission from Peter Weibel in 1992, the Vasulkas curated "Eigenwelt der Apparate Welt: Pioneers of Electronic Art," an exhibition of early electronic art tools for Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria) along with a videodisk, interactive catalogue.With Steina, Woody has been artist in residence at the National Center for Experiments in Television (NCET), at KQED in San Francisco, and at WNET/Thirteen inNew York. He has received funding from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New Mexico Arts Division. He also won the American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award in 1995 and the Siemens-Medienkunstpreis a year later. Woody and Steina were awarded honorary doctorates from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1998. Woody has participated in major video festivals worldwide, lectured, published articles, and composed music. Additionally, he has made numerous video tapes, including two major works, The Commission and Art of Memory, after moving to Santa Fe. During the '90s he has built three large-scale installations in his machine cycle,The Brotherhood: Theater of Hybrid Automata, Table III, and Table I. Commissioned by the NTT InterCommunication Center in Tokyo, Woody recently completed three additional machines in the Brotherhood series, The Maiden, The Scribe, and Stealth.