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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

TV

 

Susan Hiller
Douglas Davis
Nam June Paik
Jimmy Kuehnle
Bruce Nauman
Darsha Hewitt
KM Bosy
Wojtek Ulrich
Dara Birnbaum
James Connolly and Kyle Evans
Joel Holmberg
Paul Pfeiffer
Adrian Piper
Jan Bark & Erkki Kurenniemi
Hiwa K
Christo
Antonio Muntadas
Seo Young Chang
TVTV
Zhang Xiangxi
Leopold Kessler

 

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Susan Hiller Channels (2013)
Susan Hiller’s Channels is an audio-visual conglomeration of near death experience (NDE) narrations told through a full-scale installation of television monitors. Whether these monitors simply house these personal stories or act as a portal through which they emerge isn’t clear. It doesn’t need to be. Bathed in the glowing light of these numerous screens, numerous voices come forth with one eventually becoming the clearest. Hours of recantations are housed here, in these screens, in this room. It’s the near-ghost in the machine.

 

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Douglas Davis Images from the Present Tense (1971)
Douglas Davis tackled video in a very thoughtful manner: both by questioning the medium and by a theoretical discourse on its possibilities. For Davis, the issue of the advantages of this new technology arose in view of his most important objective: to allow communication between people by bridging spatial and temporal distances. His encounters with Paik, Beuys, Acconci, Campus, Baldessari and concept artists were important for Davis. Like Paik and others, Douglas Davis was involved in the manipulation, refusal and rejection of television, as for example in his installation for Project ’74 in Cologne, Images for the Present Tense, in which he pointed the television set towards the wall, with a hissing, brightly flickering screen, and used it as a source of light or reflection.

 

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Nam June Paik TV Crowns (1965)
The patterns were created using tone generators and an amplifier in conjunction with the televisions themselves.

 

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Jimmy Kuehnle Loud and Clear (2006)
‘I constructed a pulpit like structure containing, sound amplification equipment, a video projection screen, hidden cameras, and two towers of televisions. Similar to previous performances, costume played a major role. My head was completely enclosed in a fabricated, opaque plastic box. In addition to my head and brain, the box housed cameras and microphones pointed towards my face. The signal from these cameras and microphones was delivered to the projection screen and sound amplification equipment on the pulpit. This was how I communicated with the audience without being able to see the audience directly.’ — JK

 

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Bruce Nauman Lip Sync (1969)
In Bruce Nauman’s Lip Sync, a video camera is turned upside down and held in a tight close–up on the filmmaker’s face as he speaks the words of the title. The words, which at first emerge in a low murmur, quickly grow louder and more distinct, overwhelming the sound track and creating a rhythmic beat. The sound and image fall in and out of synchronization as the viewer tries vainly to connect the movement of Nauman’s lips with his voice. This struggle intensifies as the work progresses, keeping the viewer in a state of nervous tension.

 

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Darsha Hewitt The Electrostatic Bell Choir (2012)
Everyone is familiar with the curious effects of static electricity. Freshly laundered clothing clings together if one neglects to toss an anti-static sheet into the dryer, a balloon magically sticks to a wall after being rubbed over a head full of hair, an irritating shock transmits from one person to the next while shaking hands on a dry winter’s day. Inspired by this peculiar phenomenon The Electrostatic Bell Choir plays with static electricity in order to harvest its kinetic potential and use it as the driving force in the artwork.

 

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K M Bosy Water Drawing (2018)
Video on two monitors (4min 56sec)

 

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Wojtek Ulrich TV Mirror (Irreversible) (2011)
2 tv screens and 2 mirrors, DVD movies: Irreversible by Gaspar Noe and Amores Peros by Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu. ‘A movie being played, a document, a live coverage, anything on TV, shows, films, news, all the illusion and created vision that is reflected, the image in the mirror, becomes the truth in the mirror, “almost” without any “distance” for the maximum “fidelity to the events” and, as a matter of fact, due to the 1:1 fidelity, we get the truth, we get what said fidelity creates in a given situation.’ — WU

 

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Dara Birnbaum Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978-79)
Opening with a prolonged salvo of fiery explosions accompanied by the howl of a siren, Dara Birnbaum’s Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman shows the secretary Diana Prince changing again and again into the superhero Wonder Woman. By isolating and repeating the moment of transformation – spinning figure, arms outstretched – this landmark work in the history of video and appropriation unmasks the language of television, the mechanisms of gender representation and the technology at the heart of the metamorphosis.

 

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James Connolly and Kyle Evans Cracked Ray Tube (2012)
Cracked Ray Tube is a collaborative realtime installation and performance project with Kyle Evans that breaks and disrupts the interfaces of analog televisions and computer monitors through hybridized analog and digital systems to produce flashing, screeching, wobbulating, self-generated electronic noise and video. The project is heavily influenced by the Chicago Dirty New Media scene, and was created under the COPY-IT-RIGHT philosophy, with plans for all of our custom hardware shared online in PDFs and taught in workshops.

 

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Joel Holmberg GOTcredits+expose (2014)

 

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Paul Pfeiffer Caryatids (2009)
Caryatids present video footage of solitary boxers being punched in slow motion. Intensive editing and computer manipulation has erased the opponent, focusing the viewer’s attention on the brutal impact inflicted by the invisible assailant.

 

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Adrian Piper Mythic Being (1973)
Adrian Piper’s early performance and photography work is often referred to but rarely seen. For the ‘Mythic Being’ series (1972-75), shown complete here for the first time (and archived usefully on the website, www.thomaserben.com), Piper disguised herself as an androgynous, racially indeterminate young man, dressed in black T-shirt and flared jeans, big sunglasses, an Afro wig and a Zapata-ish moustache, often smoking a cigarette. She documented a series of public and private performances.

 

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Jan Bark & Erkki Kurenniemi Spindrift (1966)
In 1965, Swedish composer/musician Jan Bark proposed an experiment for a new kind of ‘music for black-and-white TV’. Bark’s friend Erkki Kurenniemi programmed the animations.

 

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Hiwa K My Father’s Color Periods (2012)
‘”Tonight the film will be broadcast in color” – a rumor spread in 1979 among people who believed that the state owned TV station would show the film in color despite of the fact that the TV´s were still black &white. Unlike in cities with Arab inhabitants the majority of the people in Kurdish area of Iraq still had no reach of color TV sets. So my father would cut and stick a sheet of cellophane on the screen of our TV at home. Some times it stayed one week until he switched to another color. We used to watch films, music videos and all other programs, once in blue, pink, green and yellow and so on. Later that he started also with dividing the screen into two, three or four squares with different color in each. Eventually he began with stripes and other possible forms. We were watching the figures walking from blue to green, though yellow, purple to pink. In a while the entire city employed it with their black and white TVs going through the blue, then to pink, yellow phases and so on.’ — HK

 

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Christo Wrapped Television Set (1996)
polythene, rope and TV set

 

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Antonio Muntadas Video is television? (1989)
Playing back “visual quotations” of everything from Poltergeist to Blade Runner, Muntadas rescans the surface of the monitor, questioning the “nature” of media—film, television, video, and image. Television emerges as the medium to eat all mediums, raising the question: Is it possible,within the context of television, to tell art from life or fact from fiction? An endless row of generic TV monitors visually evokes a hall of mirrors as the expression of the cultural homogeneity and bland abundance achieved through the dominant medium of the late 20th century. Music composed by Glenn Branca.

 

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Seo young Chang The Well (2010)
When the sun set, the monster crawled out of the well and ate town people. …

 

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TVTV (Top Value Television) Looks at the Oscars (1976)
TVTV (short for Top Value Television) was a San Francisco-based pioneering video collective founded in 1972 by Allen Rucker, Michael Shamberg, Tom Weinberg, Hudson Marquez and Megan Williams. Shamberg was author of the 1971 “do-it-yourself” video production manual Guerrilla Television. Over the years, more than thirty “guerrilla video” makers were participants in TVTV productions. They included members of the Ant Farm: Chip Lord, Doug Michels, Hudson Marquez and Curtis Schreier; the Videofreex, Skip Blumberg, Nancy Cain, Chuck Kennedy, and Parry Teasdale. TVTV pioneered the use of independent video based on wanting to change society and have a good time inventing new and then-revolutionary media, ½” Sony Portapak video equipment, and later embracing the ¾” video format.

 

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Zhang Xiangxi Tubes (2013)
Chinese artist Zhang Xiangxi uses old television sets to create intricately sculpted rooms. The sculptor’s meticulous craftsmanship results in intriguing and unconventional dioramas with a wonderful sense of depth. He manages to not only recreate furniture like desks and beds, but Xiangxi also mirrors the genuine messiness of a real room. Whether the artist is replicating his parents’ living room, his own chaotic studio, the littered interior of a train car, or his dream home, Xiangxi manages to capture the ambience of each environment. His attention to detail is evident through his line of carefully crafted work, which even uses materials from the objects they are mimicking. The artist says, “I like to closely observe daily life and work out how to make things.”

 

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Leopold Kessler Hit TV (2001)
Television is switched on/off by hitting on top.

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, One less Koch, done deal. ** Sypha, Hi, James. He is writing another one, thank goodness. ** Thomas Moronic, Hey! Yes, sir! Very, very happy about that too, needless to say! Well, then let’s use each other’s need to be fixed by each other to get it done! I’m game. Big love to you, buddy. ** Paul Curran, Hi, Paul! Ha ha, surprise! Well, I pulled ‘Left Hand’ off the shelf the other day and reacquainted myself with its total greatness and the rest (putting it here) was like breathing, man. And if the posting gave you a new novel push or even shove, it did its work right there. Hungry. Thanks about the excerpt. Yeah, we’ll see, you know how it goes, but I’m feeling very into the new one at least. Zac and I decided yesterday that we are going to make totally concrete plans to visit Tokyo/Japan ASAP in the next week or so, so we will be winging your way at some point, and I’ll give you a heads up when it’s set. Work and stay cool and blast off! ** Kyler, Hi, man! How’s everything? ** KK, Hi there! Good to see you! You’ll be glad if you score a ‘Left Hand’. Happy you survived your visit and enjoyed it even. Joseph Grantham, cool. I love his work. Great that you guys know each other. Ah, sweet about your new story. And on the great Scott McClanahan’s joint, no less. Can’t wait to read it. Everyone, KK aka Kyle Kirshbom has a new story up and full readable on Scott McClanahan’s Holler Presents site. I think you’ll want to read it. KK is pretty fucking good. So do that. Yes, Matt’s book arrived, and I’m reading it and liking it very, very much. Hope your tete-a-tete with him went well. It’s been very quiet here. I’m mostly just hold up working on my novel. But all my vacationing friends are getting back, and the stores that close for August, which is a lot of them, are turning their lights on again, so non-writing fun shall re-ensue. ‘Scary Stories’ hasn’t really attracted me. I bet I’ll see it on a plane flight. New cinema-wise, I’m very looking forward to the new Pedro Costa and Malick and Albert Serra films off the top of my head. Take care, good luck with everything, and I hope to see you again soon. ** Right. Remember TV sets, or, if not, have you heard about them? Well, they may be relegated to very old fashioned people’s living rooms now, but artists still find interesting ways to explore and represent them, and that’s your local entertainment for the weekend. Hope it suits you. See you on Monday.

15 Comments

  1. The Best TV Show of All-Time

    Bill would be happy to recommend places you should go in Tokyo as he’s besotted with the place.

  2. Here’s my interview with JAWLINE director Liza Mandelup: https://www.studiodaily.com/2019/08/director-liza-mandelup-jawline-austyn-tester/ . To riff of an old HBO slogan, it’s not TV, it’s Hulu!

    My dental surgery yesterday went OK. Fortunately, it only took half an hour. when the anesthetic wore off, I was in a lot of pain and immediately reached for the Vicodin. (I also found out that my gum is infected and have a prescription for antibiotics.) I feel much better today – no real pain, but my mouth is unpleasantly swollen.

    The post-punk video program also went very well. The 2 Kleenex/Lilliput videos seemed to make the biggest impression, as well as the one clip from a contemporary group I included, Kokoko!’s “Malembe.” I chose that to end the program because their drumming on water bottles and the singer’s “solo” scraping a wooden box next to contact mics and distortion pedals rhymed with the Einsturzende Neubauten performance that began it.

  3. Hey Dennis, work has an unfortunate way of interfering with one’s blog-reading routine, darn. Great to see Peter Sellers earlier, and of course the return of Paul’s Left Hand (and my little trailer).

    I’m more than a bit nostalgic about analog TVs with all their artifacts. I wonder how long people will remember vertical hold problems, analog static, that familiar buzz and smell, etc. Paik’s crowns are so simple and clever.

    I’m finally getting to Brian Evenson’s new(ish) collection. Not a lot of surprises, but the best stories are so beautifully executed, and so funny at times.

    Have a fine weekend…
    Bill

  4. Dennis, The TV not just as to what its content is but as an actual object. Ace.

    Man, I ran myself down so much with barely sleeping this week. Not intentionally, of course. And then went crazy with 9 straight hours last night. Needed it.

    Frankly, my novel does have its layers and little connections under the surface, but they’re pretty trad and conventional. Logistics is a thing too with this, as far things that happen and where or when, though there’s a little bit of play with that, especially as far as the narrator in the second half remembers things. But I feel I can’t have it too far off or it just makes the narrative less…riveting? Or something. So yeah, I’ll be keeping a tight eye on that.

    Also, I will be revising, particularly trimming and cutting. The first half is more clinical and even sterile. Just the facts, ma’am. The second opens up a bit and kind of takes off. Or that’s the intent. And I have a certain set of (what I hope is) subtle imagery that goes through that first part that I think needs to be maintained. Gloves are off in the second and I’m not worried about that stuff as much, except maybe as a hint, though the themes will remain.

    With all that said, I think a lot of people will read it and think, “Hmm, very mainstream shit here.” And that’s okay for this novel.

  5. Oh, and you might find this funny (and typical of me). I get my hair cut at Sport Clips. On the receipt, they ask you to do a survey. I know the girls there pretty well, and a rating of 10/10 really helps them in their jobs. I do one every time. But of course, I can’t do it normally. They ask for comments, so I write…stories. I have a theme now of them fighting over my glorious locks. They really enjoy reading them and they’re fun to do once a month.

  6. Hey D – TV’s have been on my mind, as I just got a flat screen for the first time. Enjoying it, but don’t watch that much TV. I’ve been hooked on The Young and the Restless since college – and it’s so good lately! Not at all ashamed to admit it! Hot new actor!

    How’s everything? Like everything? Well…business has been great – a friend who has my Dad’s birthday thinks my Dad is sending me good business from beyond – and I think he’s right.

    But something awful happened right after their funeral and I’ve been dealing with that. I’ve been let go as a volunteer for God’s Love We Deliver after 27 years! Long story short: 2 mentally ill clients complained about me – and the huge bureaucracy that God’s Love has become can’t deal with this. Well, I can’t deal with bureaucracies or organizations – so this has been my challenge for the summer. A learning experience, for sure. Thanks for asking. How’s “everything” with you?

  7. Dennis TV! Yes! And for teen me plugging that screen into a VHS box was a mainline out of here.

    Double excellent about your & Zac’s materializing Tokyo jaunt! Eager for news. We’re actually off on a six day cruise down the Japanese coast and over to Korea tomorrow. Will try to check in from the high seas. Mega love again for your encouragement and support! xx

    Bill, yes, your fantastic clip! Reminds me I owe you an email. Hope things are good. xx

  8. ps, thanks Kyler! xx

    And KK too. Cool story.

    P

  9. p.s. Thanks, Kyler!!xx

    And KK! Cool story!

  10. The television has also been used as the medium for UFO contact and communication, that is explained in my article ‘TELEVISUAL UFO CONTACT’, here: https://mrmarkreeve.blogspot.com/p/related-other.html

  11. The TV set is a beautiful medium and I for one will mourn its eventual passing.

    I’m happy to say that my brother’s nuptials this weekend went like a dream. The wedding DJ never played my Kraftwerk request but still, here is a pic of the novelty bicycle-themed socks that I was ordered to wear. Accessories aside, it was all as idyllic as anyone could ever hope.

  12. Hey,

    Oh, wow, ‘CPOTMT’ was your second GBV purchase ever!!! So cool! I’m just so fucking in love with that album.

    Oh, come on. You’re incapable of making a fool of yourself. You’re Dennis Cooper. But, I mean, Pollard knows who you are and that you’re the BIGGEST GBV fan in the world, right? Did you/your agent/editor/publisher had to ask permission to use those GBV lyrics in ‘Guide’?

    Yeah, the late 60s and 70s were definitely Springtime For Serial Killers. You had the Zodiac, the Doodler, Berkowitz, Gacy, Corll, The Lower East Side Killer(s), Bundy, Dahmer just starting his notorious career just at the end of the decade, etc, etc.

    What do you think of Pollard’s score for Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Bubble’? I LOVE both the film and the score. I think the film is Soderbergh’s Masterpiece by very far.

    I think I’ve already asked you this, but, are you familiar with Joanna Newsom’s music? If so, what do you think of it?

    Were all the people who are featured in ‘PGL’ and have lines actors?

    Hey, are they still tickets for the ‘CROWD’ performances in Paris next month? How could I get a ticket? Will you be in Paris during those days?

    Good day, good luck,

    a.

  13. Corey Heiferman

    August 26, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Long time no correspond, how are you? This post is a gem. Scanned over it but nothing to say yet really so overwhelmed. Still no news from film school but interregnum has been good for writing life. Getting very into Pessoa, you dig? Visited USA for two weeks. I’ve bene gone less than two years and it’s already culture shock going back. Was at an old-fashioned wedding with swing dancing, wishing I knew how, but all us single attendees were to sheepish to dance anyhow, thought it would’ve been a loud gesture under the circumstances to ask the maid of honor who arrived unaccompanied to dance though there was a spark between us, this general sense of sheepishness and oversexualizing of everything (it wouldn’t have been a come-on per se, especially in context of all the single people taking turns dancing with each other) must have something to do with your writing and how it is received.

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