Video Data Bank- Experimental Video by Contemporary Video Artists

Why this site isn’t a cable channel by now I’m not sure but I’ll bet it has something to do with Sumner Redstone. The Video Data Bank is the world leader in what could only be called experimental video by contemporary video artists.

By spending hours on the site, you can literally track the development of video used in art from the late 1960s right up to the present. Individuals and groups may directly order rentals or purchase many of the titles, searchable by title or artist. There are interviews with critics, artists, photographers and writers, such as George Kuchar’s recent “The Celtic Crevasse,” a ‘tape’ of summer months in NYC and Massachusetts juxtaposing the two.

The VDB also makes available Anthologies curated by guests curators with a long history in the biz. There are histories of video art, performance collections, gender themes, technology, feminism, to name but a few. Select a topic and chances are video artists have already dealt with it in seeming anonymity. Interested in Freud or Henry Ford? Check out “Sigmund Freud vs. Henry Ford,” a little ditty about the relationship between our North American consumer society and psychoanalytic confessions. Would a little taste of body limitations stir your appetite? “Endurance” is an anthology about testing the physical, mental and spiritual endurance of the body.

There is a vast CD-ROM library including “Culture vs. The Martians” (1998) by Art Jones and interactive collection of videos, sounds, screensavers that explore our media saturated cultural landscape. Or perhaps you would like an interview with Allan Kaprow whose influential 1952 article, “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock,” argued that the art-making activity should be separated from the art itself. His famous Happenings replaced the traditional concept of the artist-creator with one he called the “social occasion” – suggesting that the artwork was indistinguishable from “life.” Some classic Allen Ginsberg? A dash of geodesic dome champion Buckminster Fuller? They got ’em.

The Video Data Bank’s collection includes some 1200 titles by over 250 artists, and like I said, should be a cable channel. But we also like this underground secret just the way it is.

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