“Edited at EAI”: Video Interference
Activist Videos by Artists and Collectives, 1989-1995
Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10011
EAI continues our 45th anniversary “Edited at EAI” series with an evening of activist video work from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. Shot largely on low-end consumer equipment and edited, often off-hours, at EAI, these works use video as an activist tool, confronting urgent issues around the AIDS crisis, race, gender, and sexuality. Videos by ACT UP affinity groups DIVA TV (Damned Interfering Video Activist Television) and House of Color, as well as art collective X-PRZ, will be screened along with work by artists Robert Beck and Tom Kalin. Although rooted in the specific political and cultural contexts of that moment, these powerful activist voices continue to resonate and find relevance today.
The urgency of the AIDS crisis and the parallel emergence of new activist movements, along with the increasing availability of relatively inexpensive video equipment, were among the factors that brought activists to editing facilities like EAI during this time. In The Feeling of Power, artist, EAI editor, and DIVA TV member Robert Beck documents a 1989 ACT UP protest at Trump Tower and offers a self-reflexive manifesto of this new video activism. Target City Hall, the first tape produced by DIVA TV, documents a massive ACT UP demonstration at New York City Hall and offers a look at the diverse groups of activists within the larger ACT UP movement, including CHER (Commie Homos Engaged in Revolution) and LAPIT (Lesbian Activists Producing Innovative Television). In I Object, House of Color (Robert Garcia, Wellington Love, Idris Mignott, Jeff Nunokawa, Pamela Sneed, Jocelyn Taylor, Julie Tolentino), an ACT UP affinity group made up of queer people of color, forcefully challenge the representation and exclusion of people of color in the media. Tom Kalin builds on the subversive, advertising-influenced work he made with ACT UP affinity group Gran Fury in Nation, which confronts nationalism and the public health crisis of AIDS, and in his later revisiting of the same material, Information Gladly Given … In No Sell Out art collective X-PRZ (Doug Anderson, Kenseth Armstead, Tony Cokes, Mark Pierson) critique the commodification of Malcolm X by the media, setting computer-manipulated imagery of Malcolm X against advertising logos, archival footage, and TV imagery.
Organized in conjunction with EAI’s 45th anniversary, the “Edited at EAI” series highlights a historically significant but less well-known area of EAI’s programs: EAI’s Editing Facility for artists, one of the first such creative workspaces for video in the United States.
Robert Beck, The Feeling of Power, 1990, 8:48 min, color, sound
DIVA TV, Target City Hall, 1989, 26:43, color, sound
House of Color, I Object, 1990, 5:25 min, color, sound
Tom Kalin, Information Gladly Given but Safety Requires Unnecessary Conversation, 1995, 1:03 min, color, sound
Tom Kalin, Nation, 1992, 1 min, color, sound
X-PRZ, No Sell Out... or i wnt 2 b th ultimate commodity/ machine (Malcolm X Pt. 2), 1995, 5:37 min, color, sound