Conversations at the Edge

Special Preview: Marvin J. Taylor interviewed for Video Data Bank

Posted by | George William Price | Posted on | November 21, 2014

Marvin J. Taylor, Director of Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University sat down with CATE’s program assistant George William Price to talk about his thoughts on the emotional archive, the ethics of custodianship, and the cultural scene of 1980’s Downtown New York City. This interview will be released as part of Video Data Bank’s On Art and Artists collection late Spring 2015.

Taylor spoke at the November, 2014 program The X-Ray of Civilization: Films by Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner. Surveying the cultural scene of 1980s New York, this program explored how the impending Culture Wars and the devastation of AIDS contributed to a city that crackled with tension and ached with sadness. Against this background, artists Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner transformed mass media’s detritus into transgressive responses to the socio-political order.

Video Data Bank’s On Art and Artists is a unique collection of interviews and portraits of artists, musicians, performers, architects, theorists, and critics, spanning 1974 to the present.  The OAA collection represents four decades of producing and acquiring interviews by the Video Data Bank, and features more than 300 available titles, of which at least half are interviews produced by the Video Data Bank and its co-founders Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield.  In addition, the collection offers artist interviews produced by external producers and producing organizations—including Artists Television Network,Long Beach Museum of Art, and the University of Colorado—and experimental documentaries and portraits, many of them produced by other artists.

Special Preview: John Smith interviewed for Video Data Bank

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | November 14, 2014

A special preview of John Smith’s interview for Video Data Bank’s (VDB) ever growing On Art and Artists Collection, due for release late Spring 2015. In this interview excerpt Smith discusses, with VDB’s director Abina Manning, his film Shepherd’s Delight a film largely concerned with how context determines the reading of information.

The Jarman Award winning artist presented his work at three different institutions during his time in Chicago. A collaboration between Conversations at the Edge, Video Data Bank, Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and PracticeMary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, and the University of Chicago’s Film Studies Center. In his playful and thought-provoking short films and videos, Smith explores the language of cinema and reflects on the image’s role in politics, war, and the global economy.

Video Data Bank’s On Art and Artists is a unique collection of interviews and portraits of artists, musicians, performers, architects, theorists, and critics, spanning 1974 to the present.  The OAA collection represents four decades of producing and acquiring interviews by the Video Data Bank, and features more than 300 available titles, of which at least half are interviews produced by the Video Data Bank and its co-founders Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield.  In addition, the collection offers artist interviews produced by external producers and producing organizations—including Artists Television Network,Long Beach Museum of Art, and the University of Colorado—and experimental documentaries and portraits, many of them produced by other artists.

On Mati Diop… What Were We Left With?

Posted by | George William Price | Posted on | November 12, 2014

I am delighted to introduce the final text in our series of SAIC student writings on this season’s artists. Natalia De Orellana speaks to how the boundaries between the documentary and the fictional in Mati Diop’s A Thousand Suns results in an intermingling between the real and the imagined, where ‘nothing is true and nothing is false’.

Still from A Thousand Suns (Mati Diop, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Still from A Thousand Suns (Mati Diop, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Whilst tougher immigration laws are put on the table by some European leaders jeopardizing the long-gone fantasy of free movement,[1] immigration has remained one of the principal worldwide issues shaping policy-making hierarchic rules for the past decades. Among the myriad of justifying socio economic facts that blur this issue, what remains veiled however, is the vision and complexity that sharpens the experience of those who made this step.

This is one of the visions that is embraced by the cinematographic narratives of Mati Diop (1982), daughter of the musician Wasis Diop and niece of Senegalese film director Djibril Diop Mambety. Actress and director, her vision is one that places this topic within the present, where the lenses of the camera follow the character in its constant doubt presenting him as sensitive individual as opposed to the menacing victim or heroic figure. Indeed, Diop’s narratives are relevant for she does not introduce the fearless achievement of the character who crossed the geopolitical border triumphantly singing ‘Paris’. Hers is the focus on human fears led by the same passion and social dreams that would forever conflict with the sense of belonging and identity.

In 1972 Mambety, Mati’s uncle, directed Touki-Bouki unveiling the real experience of two youngsters in Dakar – Magayer Niang and Myriam Niang – dreaming to leave the Senegalese shores. Forty years after his niece offers to revisit this work situating it within the present context in 1000 Soleils (One Thousand Suns) bringing back to the scene altogether a forty years older Magayer Niang.

One Thousand Suns, considered as the most outstanding of her works until this day, is a unique and compelling example of notions of presentness and inner conflict. The latter transcends the definitional boundaries between the documentary and the fictional, where the lenses of the camera follow the hints of the documentary frame whilst characters and facts are the result of an intermingling between the real and the imagined, where ‘nothing is true and nothing is false’.[2] The spectator finds himself in the in-between space of doubt and questioning, attracted nonetheless by the depth of Niang’s character; denim jacket and cowboy booted hero who had once the chance to ship away to Europe and yet, whose feet remained anchored on the Senegalese coast: ‘At that moment’, Niang narrates, ‘I became very frightened, I wondered why I was leaving, What am I going to do in France?’. Niang is the present day individual, the one that emblematizes the complex context where the Western so called dream-like destination is in fact entangled with loss and fear.

More relevant is the way in which Mati embraces her uncle Mambety’s 1972 piece Touki-Bouki. Whilst the latter narrates the experience of her uncle, Mati offers in ‘1000 Suns’ an investigation on the heritage of Mambety’s cinematographic work consequently bringing the past questionings as formulated in ‘Touki-Bouki’ to the present. And yet, these questions are not merely repeated, but actualized: ‘Should I go?’ becomes ‘Why didn’t I go?’, the ‘what will I do’ transformed into the ‘what did you leave us with?’.


[1] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/19/jose-manuel-barroso-david-cameron-eu-migration

[2] Diop, in Genevieve Yue, 2014

Natalia de Orellana is a second year graduate student in the dual degree program Arts Administration and Policy and Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism (2016). She holds an MA in Art History from The University of Edinburgh. Since 2010 she has collaborated in a number of curatorial projects in the United Kingdom for Tablo Arts, a non-profit London based organization. She is presently a curatorial fellow for the 2014–15 MFA Show at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Nov 13 – Mati Diop: A Thousand Suns

Posted by | George William Price | Posted on | November 8, 2014

Thursday, November 13th | Mati Diop in person!

Still from A Thousand Suns (Mati Diop, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Still from A Thousand Suns (Mati Diop, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Known for dreamlike shorts that experiment with the boundaries between documentary and fiction, award-winning French filmmaker Mati Diop mined her own history for A Thousand Suns. The film explores the public and private legacies of the seminal Senegalese film Touki Bouki (1972), directed by her uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty. She focuses on Magaye Niang, a farmer living outside of Dakar, who, as a young man, played the film’s lead. As Niang reflects on the events of his past, Diop meditates on Senegal’s history, the role of its cinema, and her own place in it. Accompanied by Diop’s haunting 2009 short Atlantiques, which spins feverish tales of European opportunity and perilous sea crossings.

An Interview with Andrew Lampert

Posted by | George William Price | Posted on | November 7, 2014

Andrew Lampert sits down with SAIC graduate student Elizabeth Metcalfe to talk about his interest in archiving, current inspirations, and his unique approach to improvisation.

Lampert joined CATE on October 9th 2014 and turned his attention to the Gene Siskel Film Center in a site-specific performance created especially for the evening. The performance was accompanied by a series of Lampert’s shorts, including El Adios Largos (2013), an inspired reconstruction of Robert Altman’s 1973 feature The Long Goodbye from imperfect source material.

Andy Lampert

Andy Lampert

Elizabeth Metcalfe: How did you become interested in film archives and what role does the archive play in your artistic practice?

Andrew Lampert: When I was 18 I was hired by an organization called the New York Underground Film Festival of which I eventually became the Director of Programming. The festival itself happened at Anthology Film Archives, where I had previously been a patron. Through my role in the festival, I was hired to work at the archive as the Theater Manager, which I did for a number of years. And of course, at Anthology it’s very much focused on exhibition and preservation but it wasn’t until there was an evening in which they had a special private event to celebrate the tenth anniversary of a particular artist’s death and the preservation of one of their works. I attended this event and they were talking a lot about preservation and of course this was a word that I had heard thrown about quite a bit and I had never at that point asked myself, “Well, what IS preservation? What does it mean?” so I asked the person sitting next to me who was an archivist for a particular filmmaker and he said, “There’s a school for that! It’s the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman House Museum.” It was the first program in the United States specifically for film preservation. Generally speaking, film preservationists and archivists previous to this program were filmmakers and film geeks or de-facto librarians but not film preservation trained specialists. Then, I realized that Anthology, which has the most prominent collection of experimental, avant-garde films in the country, did not have an archivist and hadn’t had an archivist for a period of ten years because it wasn’t in the budget. So Anthology’s founder and director at that point, Jonas Mekas, was de-facto the archivist. Realizing that, I inquired about the school and I made a deal with Jonas that if I was accepted and went to the school, he would find the funding to bring me back as an archivist. So I went to school but my reason for going to the school was not a desire to preserve all films like Casablanca or Gone with the Wind for generations to come. I don’t care about preserving those films because I don’t have to. There are other corporate and commercial concerns safeguarding those films. But who’s looking out for the films that made a strong, aesthetic, cultural and emotional impact on MY life and the lives of many others? So I wanted to work with this particular collection. I went away, I trained, and Jonas brought me back as the archivist and for ten years I served as the archivist until my title was changed to Curator of Collections. My title changed because in those ten years, we managed to build up the archive so that now there are three employees: an archivist, a digital archivist, and myself.

In my own work, archives rarely play a role. Adios Largos, a restoration of Robert Altman’s Long Goodbye, is a project that began in 2002 before I was an archivist. I couldn’t accomplish the project originally because I didn’t have the knowledge or funds to work with that project. However, my training as an archivist gave me the knowledge to know how to work with that project later on. Aside from that work, I have two other pieces that deal with found footage: All Magic Sounds and Benetton. Benetton is a series of films constructed from a $20 flea market purchase made in 2003 of two and a half hours of raw, unedited footage from a Benetton ad campaign in the mid 1990s. Today, we’ve made at least 14 different pieces from the footage. Eventually, I want to use every single frame of the footage and repurpose the frames into works. The frames alone don’t behave like Benetton commercials and what fascinates me about the footage is thinking about its original, primary use in commercials. I’m interested in how the footage wouldn’t be used, outside of a commercial context. When I have no money or little time, I go back to that project since I consider it to be a lifelong project.

All Magic Sounds is an E-bay purchase of all of the footage (outtakes, retakes, mistakes etc.) from a Christian children’s adventure film about some kids who get washed up on the beach only to be saved by a Jesus-like character who appears with a magical donkey. With that footage, my goal is to use every single frame of the footage and to not edit it. The footage is on several three-minute camera rolls, but my editing process is not to take shots from different rolls and juxtapose them but instead to use the rolls in tact, using them as building blocks. For a while, I would re-edit the order of the footage every time I showed it. It becomes this series of flash-forwards, flashbacks, and constant presence in time.

Besides from those archival-based projects, I shoot and edit my own footage. I’m pretty compartmentalized in thinking about archival concerns and what I’m interested in. That said, my latest series of photos and videos is made for an exhibition currently on view in Texas called Don’t Lose the Manual. The starting point for that project is thinking about old people using new technology and new people using old technology. That idea doesn’t relate to the archive so much to me as transitions in technology and the necessity of adaptation to survive.

Still from El Adios Largos Y Mas (Andrew Lampert, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Still from El Adios Largos Y Mas (Andrew Lampert, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

EM: What are some of your favorite films and what inspires you?

AL: Lancelot du Lac by Robert Bresson, Kitch’s Last Meal by Carolee Schneeman (I only came to know that film through preserving it; it’s a Super 8 double projection blown up to 16 mm, which is incredibly poignant to me), Duck Soup by the Marx brothers…However, I always say when giving these sorts of lists that I’m only listing my favorite films on this day of the week at this hour as I conclude this sentence, and if you ask me tomorrow that list might change. I do keep coming back to works by Ken Jacobs and Michael Snow, whose films, upon re-watching, inspire new experiences and new thoughts. Michael Snow’s Wavelength exposes a new relationship to me each time I watch it. But as much as I show and preserve experimental, avant-garde films, I increasingly am not so into them. In my opinion, the best film of the last five years was Daddy Longlegs, an indie fiction film by Josh and Ben Safdie, which I probably would have hated ten years ago. Also, Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell is an absolute masterpiece. You must see it!

EM: Can you talk a little bit about what role improvisation plays in your work?

AL: Improvisation is key to my work. Improvisation is something I brought into my practice via musical improvisers and thinking through the work and experiences I’ve had with composers like John Zorn. He was creating compositional structures, which then created parameters around what musicians played. The structures didn’t dictate note for note what musicians should play. The pieces were like games and the musicians created the music that is always attributed to John Zorn. I always found that to be an interesting and problematic relationship. What I like to do is create structures that then get filled in by my participants and collaborators. I’m not ceding authorship, direction, or editorial control, but I like the truth that lies within improvisational structures.

My interest in improvisation is also why I almost always cast non-actors in films. If I’m filming a film about a teacher, I would want to hire a real teacher rather than hiring an actor who pretends to be a teacher. I like to think of people, who they are, what their skill set is, what their natural presence is, and how they would act in a given situation, and then create a structure around that. I typecast. I want people to use their natural skills. I don’t want to work with professionals.

As an example, I once made this film called Etka and Masha: Teenagers of the Old World. I worked with two young women, who we dressed up in ridiculous Old World clothing (or at least the Old World of my imagination) and set in ancient Russia (which looks like upstate New York). The general parameter of the film was that the women were Old World teenagers having an Old World “Yo Mama” fight. I casted the people I did because they are some of the most vibrant, funny, fast-witted people I know and I wanted to see what would happen if I put them in this context where they had to use fake Russian accents and make jokes about horse carts and cholera. They improvised within the set parameters to fill in the content and I really like that because every work that I make starts from an idealized point but things change when the conceptual idea is realized. I’ve found that if you try to set up a situation where you can’t fail or lose, or at least set up a situation that gives a lot of permissions, it creates more engaged responses.

Still from Jazzy for Joe (Andrew Lampert, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Still from Jazzy for Joe (Andrew Lampert, 2013). Courtesy of the artist.

EM: How do you engage people in your site-specific performances?

AL: A film goes out in the world: it can play in California or it can play in Croatia and I don’t have to deal with it. But a performance, to me, is a one-time event. If you try to do something twice, it never comes out the same way. Theater has little idiosyncrasies each night but it is primarily about repetition. I find myself completely bored if I try to recreate something because I know more or less what will happen and at that point it becomes theater. When I am invited to do a performance in a space, I want to learn about the dimensions of the space and engage with the staff of the facility to learn about available equipment and the possibilities of the room. With that starting point, I work backwards. I have the container—now what do I want to put in it? Whether it’s the restaurant at the Whitney Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, or the Gene Siskel Center in Chicago, I think about the general use of the room and how that use can be disrupted so that audience expectations are thrown into disarray. We have this idea about performance or cinema that you sit in a chair and look in front of you. But the cinema can do different things. At the Siskel, it was only through dialogue with the head projectionist about my limitations that I could think about how to engage the space. The room is a classic theater so it is hard to imagine how to use it in other ways. However, knowing what is permissible and what is restricted gives me a framework to work with and also lets me know what to push against.

I also like to surprise people I use in performances. In contrast to people I cast in films, I will not always tell people what I am going to do in a performance. Many years ago I was invited to do a performance piece at Penn University. I engaged a theater friend of mine who has stage management experience. He can stand in front of people without being nervous, which is why I asked him to participate. I gave him tons of information beforehand about what he should do in the performance, but as we drove to Philadelphia, I told him that I was changing the performance. He then got a little nervous. The night of the performance, right after I was introduced, I told my friend that everything was changing once again and he should just do everything I told him to do at the moment I told him to do something. This shock produced extremely candid and natural responses because his expectations were thrown. In all performances, I never disclose what the performance will look like to all of the people participating. I only inform people of their unique roles, so that part of the performance is genuine reaction. Practice makes perfect but practice can also lead to stasis. I want honest reactions that can’t be anticipated. I don’t want to even anticipate what I am going to do next. I would love, when I’m 80, to look back on my life and see one hundred films or videos that seem like they were created by one hundred different artists or filmmakers. I recognize that a common tone is important within a body of work is important. However, I would rather feel as though I had made a big mess of life instead of a tidy package.

On “The X-Ray of Civilization…”

Posted by | George William Price | Posted on | November 5, 2014

I first encountered the work of David Wojnarowicz a few years ago whilst interning for the New York City based arts organization Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI). I had been asked to research his expansive practice for an upcoming panel discussion David Wojnarowicz: Motion Rhythms and was instructed that I would need to visit Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University in order to do so. Here I was, an Englishman in New York, which at that time was an unfamiliar city, about to undertake an extended period of research on an unfamiliar artist with only a copy of his Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration for reference—a book that I studied closely whilst inside my shoebox of a room located in a grotty ground floor apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Still from A Fire in My Belly (David Wojnarowicz, 1986-1987). Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix.

Still from A Fire in My Belly (David Wojnarowicz, 1986-1987). Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix.

My first Monday in NYC I began the long, arduous, and immensely intimidating process of sifting through the seemingly infinite number of papers, objects, and everyday ephemera that make up the David Wojnarowicz Papers. Other the next three months I would divide my time between the EAI office and Fales Library. In the library I would place my personal items in a locker, surrender my identification to the librarian, and seat myself down at my assigned table, waiting for the first of many Wojnarowicz artifacts to be brought out to me.

Still from A Fire in My Belly (David Wojnarowicz, 1986-1987). Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix.

Still from A Fire in My Belly (David Wojnarowicz, 1986-1987). Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix.

The library itself is unremarkable, a grey box, filled with grey furniture and graduate student workers, but what it holds is utterly astounding. Forming only a small part of the Downtown Collection, which in turn only forms a small part of the Fales collection, the David Wojnarowicz Papers are comprised of 175 boxes of journals, correspondence, manuscripts, photography, film, video and audio works, source and production materials, objects, and ephemera. I found myself absorbed in Wojnarowicz’s world whilst in parallel discovering a contemporaneous one outside the confines of the library—New York City. Wojnarowicz was to become my guide for my short stay in this strange American beast. He would allow me to discover the Lower East Side, walk along the piers of the West Side, and frequent the place he spent much of his formative years in working as a hustler—Times Square. Those areas had been long since gentrified by the time I had arrived, but they still acted as vessels for those memories Wojnarowicz described in his writings and recordings. These were memories that Wojnarowicz’s distinctive voice regaled to me through his diary entries, recorded on mini-cassettes, that I would spend hours listening to—sometimes fully engaged and taking notes, at other times lulled into a dreamy slumber by archive fatigue. That retreat to slumber was repeatedly punctuated by Wojnarowicz’s piercing monologues:

There is really no difference between memory and sight, fantasy and actual vision. Vision is made of subtle fragmented movements of the eye. These fragmented pieces of the world are turned and pressed into memory before they can register in the brain. Fantasized images are actually made up of millions of disjointed observations collected and collated into forms and textures of thought.

Wojnarowicz’s fantasized images were crucial for my understanding of a politicized contemporary Queer culture and became my central point of access to discover contemporaries of his such as the incredible Tom Rubnitz and the hell-raising Tommy Turner. These artists were instrumental in developing a Queer community in New York City’s Lower East Side that enabled the survival of Queer culture even during a time when bodily plague and governmental inaction amounted to mass genocide. I believe that tomorrow’s screening at Conversations at the Edge is import to see, not just for the aesthetic value of the works being screened, but to better understand the political and cultural environment of a Queer New York City during the 1980’s.

Still from Listen to This (Tom Rubnitz, 1992). Courtesy of Video Data Bank.

Still from Listen to This (Tom Rubnitz, 1992). Courtesy of Video Data Bank.

George William Price is an arts administrator and scholar specializing in alternative forms of moving image media. He is the program assistant for Conversations at the Edge at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is a candidate for a Masters in Arts Administration and Policy (exp. 2015). 

Nov 6 – The X-Ray of Civilization: Films by Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | November 2, 2014

Thursday, November 6th | Introduced by Marvin J. Taylor, Director of Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University and founder of the Downtown collection

Still from Psykho III The Musical (Tom Rubnitz, 1985). Courtesy of Video Data Bank.

Still from Psykho III The Musical (Tom Rubnitz, 1985). Courtesy of Video Data Bank.

The Culture Wars and devastation of the AIDS epidemic contributed to a cultural scene in 1980s New York that crackled with tension and ached with sadness. Against this background, artists Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner transformed mass media’s detritus into transgressive responses to the socio-political order. From the sprawling suburbs in Where Evil Dwells (Turner/Wojnarowicz, 1985) to America’s status as a global military power in Listen to This (Rubnitz/Wojnarowicz, 1992) and A Fire in My Belly (Wojnarowicz, 1985) to Hollywood itself in Psykho III The Musical (Rubnitz, 1985), the three artists scrutinized and scathingly satirized mainstream American iconography.

Special Preview: Carlos Motta interviewed for Video Data Bank

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | October 31, 2014

We are excited to present a short excerpt of Carlos Motta’s interview for Video Data Bank‘s On Art and Artists Collection, conducted by SAIC’s Art History Chair David Getsy. In this compelling interview Motta discusses his rich practice, major influences, and Queer and Trans theory in relation to contemporary artistic practices. The full interview is scheduled for release late Spring 2015.

Motta presented a short series of films entitled The Nefandus Triology at Conversations at the Edge on October 2nd. Motta’s practice draws upon various political histories in an attempt to articulate counter narratives that recognize suppressed histories, communities, and identities.

Video Data Bank’s On Art and Artists is a unique collection of interviews and portraits of artists, musicians, performers, architects, theorists, and critics, spanning 1974 to the present.  The OAA collection represents four decades of producing and acquiring interviews by the Video Data Bank, and features more than 300 available titles, of which at least half are interviews produced by the Video Data Bank and its co-founders Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield.  In addition, the collection offers artist interviews produced by external producers and producing organizations—including Artists Television Network,Long Beach Museum of Art, and the University of Colorado—and experimental documentaries and portraits, many of them produced by other artists.

On Anda Korsts…

Posted by | George William Price | Posted on | October 29, 2014

SAIC printmedia graduate student Amanda Sukenic takes the time to describe Anda Korsts as a feminist visionary who, along with many others, shaped the alternative media landscape of the USA on both a local and national level. Please join us this Thursday October 30th for a special survey of Korsts’s prolific career presented in collaboration with Media Burn Independent Video Archive.

Anda Korsts Polaroid. Courtesy of Media Burn Archive.

Anda Korsts Polaroid. Courtesy of Media Burn Archive.

Before I had the oppourtunity to take the Chicago Media Arts course being taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the name of Anda Korsts was entirely unfamiliar to me. When it came time to pick an artist to focus on for our final projects, I carefully researched all options, and finally decided on Korsts. I was intrigued by not just her incredibly visionary stance on the importance of video as a tool for the masses, nor simply for her own prolific and multi disciplined practice, but as an archivist and the founder of Videopolis.

As a young DIY archivist myself, Korsts was someone who worked hard to uphold the work, the people and the ideas she thought were valuable and important to not simply her own life and work, but society as a whole. Korsts also worked to archive and preserve them in the hopes that others would also come to see their great value. As I researched Korsts more, I became increasingly aware that my interest in her was more than just as a cold subject for a paper, it was a wresting with ones own Dorian Gray style portrait in a sense—Korsts’s personal life tragedies, and the mystery of the later parts of her existence, haunt me each day it seems.

I am ecstatic to finally have a chance to see more of the amazing work from this extraordinary individual, as there is still so much of her work that remains unseen. This is why I am so very excited that Anda Korsts’s Video Metropolis will be the subject of this Thursday’s Conversations at the Edge.

Amanda Sukenick, is a fat, bipolar, learning disabled tranny with a huge toy collection… She is a monster. Graduating as an undergraduate from SAIC in 2007, she is currently back at SAIC, working towards an MFA in Printmedia. Primarily now a video artist, Amanda started making Youtube videos in 2009 doing Dragonball Toy reviews, and now focuses on DIY video archive building, music, Antinatalism, and the production of Vloggerdome, a public access Philosophy/Variety show created by Youtubers from around the world. 

Oct 30 – Anda Korsts’s Video Metropolis

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | October 27, 2014

Thursday, October 30th | Followed by a roundtable with documentary filmmaker Judy Hoffman, Media Burn Archive Founder Tom Weinberg, and Executive Director Sara Chapman

Still from Video Letter to Barbara London (Anda Korsts, 1982). Courtesy of Media Burn Archive.

Still from Video Letter to Barbara London (Anda Korsts, 1982). Courtesy of Media Burn Archive.

In the 1970s, Chicago journalist and artist Anda Korsts helped pioneer video as a radical tool for art and activism. A key figure in the guerrilla television movement, she worked on a series of media exposés as part of the national video collective Top Value Television (TVTV) and founded Videopolis, a Chicago organization that put video in the hands of everyday people. She also produced hundreds of tapes, many in collaboration with makers around the country, including a groundbreaking television series called It’s a Living, inspired by Studs Terkel’s Working. Filmmaker Judy Hoffman, Media Burn Archive founder Tom Weinberg, and Executive Director Sara Chapman survey Korsts’s prolific career and discuss her legacy today.

Presented in collaboration with Media Burn Independent Video Archive.

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