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Softcover, 130 pages, 62 bw, 3 colour, 7.5 x 10.5"
Publication Date: 1987
In a visual hip hop of high art, Dara Birnbaum used TV fragments of sitcoms and superheroes to mark a decisive moment of confluence between video art and television in the late 1970s. Manipulating appropriated images from a highly manipulative medium, she arrests moments of TV time and invites viewers to critique and deconstruct the power of mass media. Each documented video work analyzes a particular TV convention, such as reverse angle shots, the two-shot and insertions. With special effects from Wonder Woman, Birnbaum points to television’s need for frequent transformation fantasies. Her intercuts in Pop-Pop Video: General Hospital/Olympic Women Speed Skating (1980) speak to “the totally homogeneous nature” of TV treatment in genres ranging from sporting events to daytime soap operas.
Published in 1987 and edited by Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, this fourth volume in the Nova Scotia Pamphlets Series originated when Birnbaum was a visiting artist to NSCAD in 1980. Her provocative video works and multimedia installations are now considered among the most influential contributions to current discourse on art and television. Rough Edits also includes Norman M. Klein’s essay, “Audience Culture and the Video Screen,” and transcripts of Birnbaum’s New York interviews with video art distributors, staff at a non-profit alternative space, and curators responsible for successfully introducing video arts into two traditional high art institutions.
Video (color, sound), 5:50 min. Technical Assistance: Ed Slopek/Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Original Television Footage: CBS Inc. "Wonder Woman."
Sound: The Wonderland Disco Band.
© 2009 Dara Birnbaum. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.