Sounding Images #2: Steina: Early Video Harmonics

Steina_Violin Power_3

A screening curated by Alena J. Williams

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 // 7:30 pm  //  ACUD Studio


In 1965, STEINA, an Icelandic musician formally trained as a violinist, emigrated to the United States, landing in New York City with her husband Woody Vasulka, a Czechoslavakian filmmaker. After purchasing their first Portapak camera and attending Howard Wise Gallery’s seminal TV as a Creative Medium exhibition in 1969, the Vasulkas shot scores of footage in public spaces, taping live events and musical performances in concert halls, drag clubs, and Washington Square Park. They began working with sound and images, manipulating the video apparatus with the Rutt/Etra Scan Processor, phase shifters, and modulators. Introducing static, error, delay, and noise into the field of representation, the Vasulkas sought to open up video to unstable states, reflecting both technical exploration and a radical aesthetic critique. Sharing their tapes with friends, along with Nam June Paik and Ira Schneider, in their loft on 14th Street, these sessions served as an informal open studio, which developed into The Kitchen—an experimental electronic media space that opened in 1971 in the kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center’s abandoned and re-outfitted hotel space—where works in progress were shared and live performances took place. Steina now lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work has been shown at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; The Jonson Gallery, University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. This screening curated by Alena J. Williams will focus on Steina’s work in sound within the context of the Vasulkas’ larger project of sound and image processing.

Steina, Violin Power, 1970-78
10:04 min, b&w, sound

Steina and Woody Vasulka, Soundsize, 1974
4:40 min, color, sound

Steina and Woody Vasulka, Noisefields, 1974
12:05 min, color, sound

Steina, Flux, 1977
8 min, color, sound

Alena J. Williams is an art historian and curator. She teaches film and media history and theory in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, where she co-directs the Discursive and Curatorial Productions initiative with Mariana Wardwell. Her research areas include the history and theory of modern and contemporary art, media, and film; the epistemology of the image; and theories of modernity. She is the curator of Nancy Holt: Sightlines, an international traveling exhibition for the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University (2010-13) and published a companion book with the University of California Press (2011). She has contributed to Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, and WdW Review and lectured and curated film screenings internationally, including Zwischenakte: Three Passages in Cinema at the Arsenal Cinema in collaboration with the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, and Rutgers University (2011), Site Recordings: Land Art on Film and Video at the Anthology Film Archives, New York (2010), and Light Is a Kind of Rhythm, a film program and book, at the Institut im Glaspavillon am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin (2007-09).


Veteranenstr. 21
10119 Berlin

Doors: 7:30pm
Entrance: 3-6€