Surveying the First Decade: Video Art & Alternative Media in the U.S. | Chicago Reader

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Chicago's venerable Video Data Bank has just reissued its 1995 anthology Surveying the First Decade: Video Art and Alternative Media in the U.S. as a DVD box set, and this program excerpting four pieces shows an engaging diversity of approaches, as early video makers were figuring out what to do with this very pliable medium. In Steina Vasulka's Switch! Monitor! Drift! (1976) images intrude into other images in a pleasing use of imprecise analog effects; the video-lab subject matter is almost humorously appropriate. With The Red Tapes, Part II (1976), artist Vito Acconci focuses on performance, staking out space with his body while enacting imaginary conversations. Queen Mother Moore Speech at Greenhaven Prison (1973), by the People's Communications Network, typifies the improvisational, unpolished political documentary, recording the radical speech of an older activist that seems charmingly dated today. Also screening: Richard Serra and Nancy Holt's Boomerang (1974). 75 min.

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