Various - U.S. Express - 1970's Video Art (2005)

Download this at KaraGarga.

On 4 DVDs, U.S. EXPRESS includes more than 80 short videos made by 50 artists living and working in the United States.

U.S. EXPRESS : 1970s
7 videos 80 minutes

1. Sunstone
Ed Emshwiller 2:57 1979

Color and monochrome.
Ed Emshwiller drew on his experience in science fiction illustration, filmmaking and
painting to produce this ethereal and spiritual sci-fi video gem. Working with a team of
early digital effects artists, he created visuals that seem to breathe on screen. Sunstone is
a landmark work of electronic art, lovingly created over a period of 8 months in a video lab
at the New York Institute of Technology. Emshwiller, who died in 1990, was a major figure
in the history of video art as an artist and a teacher. In his work he investigated the
expressive capabilities of video synthesizers and computer systems, while demonstrating
the humanistic potential and transformative properties of the medium.

2. Probably America’s Smallest TV Station
Videofreex 5:25 1973-76/2004

Color and black & white.
Formed in 1969, Videofreex was a pioneering collective of artists and community activists
who embraced portable video technology in its earliest days. In 1971 they built the
country’s smallest TV station in upstate New York, Lanesville TV, and broadcast hundreds
of quirky, homemade programs until 1980. Excerpted here are Lanesville TV News Buggy
(1976) and An Oriental Magic Show with a man in a box and a barbarian (1973) in a
Lanesville TV “live” broadcast with guest host Russell Connor (1975). Additional
production: DCTV (Jon Alpert, Yoko Maruyama, Keiko Tsuno).
In the context of the Alternate Culture movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, these artists were
redefining television as a medium for individuals and communities as opposed to
mainstream corporate and commercial interests. According to the Freex: “The better
tapes are just for fun.” Videofreex members included David Cort, Curtis Ratcliff, Parry
Teasdale, Davidson Gigliotti, Nancy Cain, Chuck Kennedy, Skip Blumberg, Carol Vontobel,
Bart Friedman and Ann Woodward.

3. Global Groove (re-edit)
Nam June Paik & John Godfrey 19:55 1973/2003

Wild, intense color.
Nam June Paik is the pre-eminent video artist in the United States and worldwide. Born in
Korea, and trained as a classical musician, Paik came to the U.S. in 1964. He brought with
him wide ranging interests in music, art and technology, an irreverent sensibility, and a
love of collaborating with well-known as well as younger cutting-edge artists. All of his
work shares these characteristics.

Global Groove, designed as a pilot TV program, is an exuberant montage produced with
collaborator John Godfrey, the technical wizard behind hundreds of early art videos. Jud
Yalkut, Jackie Cassen, Karheinz Stockhausen, Percival Borde, and Bob Breer also
contributed fragments of films and videos. Paik weaves performances by art-world
luminaries John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Allan Ginsberg, Charlotte Moorman, The Living
Theater, traditional Korean folk dancers, and American tap dancers, with electronic
processing and global communications theories to create a totally new vision of
multicultural TV. Narrator: Russell Connor. Producer: David Loxton. Edited in 2003 from
28:30 video.

Skip Blumberg 5:20 1976

Dazzling black & white.
Fourth generation circus performer Mario Droguett, in his Sarasota, Florida backyard, is
the subject of this high-contrast analysis of the art of juggling. The multi-layered video
creates special effects in the viewer's eye and impossible tricks on screen! JGLNG
(pronounced “juggling”) represents Blumberg’s early experiments in seeking out the
abstract in the real world.
Skip Blumberg was part of the first wave of video artists as a member and collaborator of
Videofreex, Ant Farm, TVTV and other production groups. In addition to video installations
and events, he has produced several hundred cultural documentaries and performance
videos. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, the
Pompidou Center, Paris, the Everson Museum of Art, the Museum of TV and Radio. He has
also curated several video exhibitions, including U.S. EXPRESS.

5. First International Whistling Show
Jules Backus & Skip Blumberg 19:00 1978

Black & white.
This entertaining collaboration between Skip Blumberg and Jules Backus showcases
award-winning whistling performances at the First International Whistling Festival in
Carson City, Nevada. The small video cameras and informal style of the makers brings the
viewer up close to these eccentric but virtuoso musicians. Jules Backus was an
extraordinary photographer and videomaker who died in 1996. In 1970, he co-founded
Optic Nerve, a video collective in San Francisco. He also collaborated with Chip Lord, Doug
Hall, Branda Miller, Antonio Muntadas, Joan Jonas, Kathy High and others.

6. The Laughing Alligator: Cameraman’s stand-off
Juan Downey 3:30 1976-77/1979

Color and black & white.
The Laughing Alligator is a seminal 27-minute anthropological art tape from Juan’s Trans
America series; it documents several months he spent living with the primitive Yanomami Indians in Venezuela. In the excerpt, Downey finds himself trapped by two armed hunters
in the forest. His video camera is his only weapon. In this ‘70s precursor to reality
television, it’s hard to tell if this was the Indians’ joke on a foreigner or a serious challenge.
Juan Downey, born in Chile in 1940, came to New York in 1965. As a South American of
European heritage living in the U.S., he produced illuminating, poetic works in which he
sought to define the self, and to discover his own cultural identity. He merged his interests
in autobiography and anthropology, in western art and culture, and in Latin American
rituals. Downey died in 1993. He created a body of work that includes videotapes,
installations, drawings and paintings of international renown.

7. Media Burn
Ant Farm 23:15 1975

Color and black & white.
Ant Farm was an innovative San Francisco-based collective of artists and architects,
working together from 1968 to 1978, on the fringe of architecture, performance, media,
public art, and graphic design. In Media Burn, they organized a huge crew and cast for a
spectacular performance art video and media event, in which a customized Cadillac
convertible crashed into a wall of burning TV sets. The tape both parodies and critiques
television news coverage, while it exploits TV’s enormous power to interpret and define
reality for viewers. It has become a video art classic. Ant Farm members included Chip
Lord, Hudson Marquez, Doug Michels and Curtis Schreier.

Download this at KaraGarga.

at 1:24 PM