Video from the Kitchen

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Changes, San Francisco, CA (1973)




Excerpt: "Beginning with the distinction between video art (video for video's sake)and video for community television, there is no reason to believe that CableTV is the absolute prerequisite for the survival of 1/2 Inch Video Tape production. "VT Is not TV" is the slogan of the Video Tape movement. What is It? It's the poetry of vision and sound, and like poetry, music andthe traditional arts, it exists In Itself and not necessarily for a mass audience. Its appeal is In its personal style. Given a playback deck, a monitor, and an electrical outlet, video can be shown anywhere, anytime. Video will last without Cable, and certainly without the networks. There's an underlying faith that when the time comes, Cable will expand until television will have at least as many stations as radio, that piratestations will flower, that college networks will extend across country, that communities will open up to take what they need. Meanwhile, video is being used, for the most part, as a medium unto itself. The Kitchen, at the Mercer Arts Center In New York City, exists to perpetuate the personal, poetic sensibility of video. It is the equivalent of the cafe where poets gathered, the loft where painters met to show and talkabout work. It's a place where video, and other electronic arts, are performed, shared, discussed. Bill Creston, one of the first to use the medium as an art form, showed original works for five evenings In January. According to his press release, Creston's tapes "celebrate the hallucinatory quality of every day life . . ."; he takes as his initial premise "the Insanity of real life and plays on the absurdities imminent in the juxtaposition of ordinary interest"; finally, "his memories are no more material for sentiment than his subjects are matters of documentary Interest." Creston showed various selections which Included halting Imitations of"Bert Lahr", a portrait of a corner news vendor, and sequences from his on-goIng autobiogrphy. One evening, he showed excerpts from the dream journal he keeps. It was a personal, brave tape to show; the quality of the spontaneous expression of the dreams was as Important as the dream Itself. In "From Grandma's House to Bar Mitzvah,? Creston Introduces a potent formula for video autobiography. First showing scenes from his childhood, then returning to the studio to tell stories about the place and the time, an effective journalistic pattern is created. The tape ends with a movie made In the late 1940s of his Bar Mitzvah, to which he added a new soundtrack. The effect is haunting, nostalgic, surreal." Others mentioned: Ed Emshwiller, Gilles Chartier, John Reilly and Stefan Moore, Video Free America and Skip Sweeny, Nam June Paik, Bill Etra, Steven Ruit, Dimitri Deryakin, Shridhar Bapat, Shigeko Kubota, Walter and Jane Wright, Video Free America, Global Village, Women?s InerArt Center, Videofreex/Media Bus, Raindance Foundation, Film/TV Bureau, NY State Arts Council. Excerpt provided by Barbara Rosenthal.

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