VDB at the Chicago Art Book Fair


This November we are delighted to be participating in the inaugural Chicago Art Book Fair as a vendor and programmer. The CABF is dedicated to showcasing emerging directions and diverse legacies within small press arts publishing. The fair features an international group of over 100 arts publishers, small presses, book artists, comics artists, zinemakers and printmakers. The fair will take place over the course of three and a half days from November 16th-19th, and will also feature satellite programming and after parties. CABF is free and open to the public.

Stop by booth 114 and say hi! We will be selling books and media from artists in our collection, as well as some fabulous VDB swag. Additionally, there will be a special screening of recent VDB acquisitions, Saturday 18th at 5.30pm. The program features work screened at the 63rd International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (Germany), including groundbreaking new releases from Nadav Assor, Sky Hopinka, Kent Lambert, Dana Levy, Jessie Mott & Steve Reinke, and Martine Syms.

Chicago Athletic Association
12 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603

Find out more about the Chicago Art Book Fair via http://cabf.no-coast.org/

New on VDB TV “James Casebere and Landscape with Houses” by Rima Yamazaki

VDB TV: James Casebere and Landscape with Houses (2011)
Rima Yamazaki

Since the mid-1970s, James Casebere has been making photographs of tabletop models which he builds in his studio. The subject of his work ranges from suburban interiors to institutional structures, inspired by political events and social issues. In his photographs, these models often give the impression of reality. Each image transports viewers into an ambiguous environment, evoking a sense of emotional place.

For this documentary, the filmmaker Rima Yamazaki visited the artist’s studio in Brooklyn on a regular basis, from the spring of 2009 to the fall of 2010, and documented the process of making the series titled Landscape with Houses, for which Casebere built his largest model to date. As the subprime mortgage crisis occurred, he became interested in American suburban neighborhoods, and started building a model of an American suburban landscape.

The film mainly consists of the sequences shot in an observational style, and a sit-down interview conducted in May 2010.

About Rima Yamazaki

Rima Yamazaki is an independent documentary filmmaker specializing in contemporary art and architecture. Her practice is an exploration of cinematic expression in documenting, studying and reflecting on the arts. She works as a one-person film crew; all her films are directed, photographed and edited by herself. Her films have been shown at various film festivals and venues internationally. She received a BA in Social Sciences from Hitotsubashi University (Japan) in 2005, and a BA in Film from Hunter College (NY) in 2008. She currently lives and works in New York.

About VDB TV:

VDB TV is a rotating series of groundbreaking programs presenting essential video art, streaming free for the first time to the general public on the Video Data Bank website. From early media pioneers, to sensational contemporary artists, VDB TV provides unprecedented access to the culturally significant Video Data Bank archive of more than 600 artists and 6,000 video art titles. VDB TV is curated by prominent programmers and moving image art specialists. To advance accessibility to the VDB collection, all programs included within VDB TV feature closed captions for the hearing impaired.

Preserving Video History at VDB: A Q&A with Digitization Specialist, Kristin MacDonough

Video Data Bank has long been dedicated to the ongoing preservation of video works in the collection, and we have been working for a number of years towards the goal of full digitization of the archive. In September 2014, we welcomed archivist Kristin MacDonough as Digitization Specialist. During her tenure at VDB, Kristin’s work has been committed to the digitization project.

Working with Archive and Collection Manager Tom Colley, Kristin maximized the efficiency of VDB’s ongoing efforts. Thanks to her project leadership, we are delighted to announce the digitization of the entire VDB collection. It was with a heavy heart that in September 2017 we bid Kristin adieu; however we take comfort in the fact that she won’t be traveling far — in November, Kristin becomes the first Time Based Media Conservation Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago. Congratulations, Kristin!

  1. Tell us a little about your background, what inspired you to work in video preservation?

I think I’ve always been interested in general concepts and principles surrounding preservation. I strongly considered archeology or art history research, but in exploring these paths, I realized they weren’t quite in the direction I wanted to go at the time. Somehow, and I don’t recall how, I heard about audiovisual preservation. The more I learned about it, the more I discovered that the balance between hands-on work and forward-thinking research was at the heart of my interest in preservation. Then during my graduate studies, those same interests led me to specialize in video preservation. The learning curve has been steep since I don’t consider myself an engineer, but I also believe this is knowledge that needs to be passed on to the archiving field since the number of engineers currently capable of handling Sony ½” open-reel decks or CRT televisions is low. Plus, it’s unlikely people entering engineering fields will need or want to learn about this equipment, so archivists will be the ones dealing with them now and in the future.

  1. What have you been working on during your time at VDB?

When I started three years ago, I was hired to digitize the backlog of videotapes in the video art collection. Since the video collection includes tapes from the early 1970s to today, most of the tape masters are on either U-Matic (¾”) or Betacam SP, with a few Digibetas as well. I made suggestions for purchasing new equipment and set up two new digitization stations in order to digitize more U-Matic tapes where I could constantly monitor the process. After the first year, the project was extended to include the Videofreex Archive, a collection consisting of mostly original ½” open reel videotapes. Then in the third year, we made our services available to other departments across SAIC and digitized collections for them. During the three-year project, I digitized over 2,500 video and audiocassette tapes.

  1. What technical puzzles have you encountered during the Digitization Project and how did you overcome them?

At times, every day of the week could feel like a technical puzzle. Format, machine, and software obsolescence are persistent concerns when digitizing video, and with that in mind, machines and software need to remain interoperable. Upgrading a Mac OS or changing out a machine in the equipment chain can affect the digitizing process. When changing a component, I had to be sure to track or document each step I made and be able to reverse my steps if they didn’t work out.

  1. How has your understanding of video as an art form changed during your time at VDB?

The exposure to so much video art has really helped me understand the scope of work that is out in the world. We know artists make works for a variety of reasons, but there is almost always a message, whether it’s an aesthetic, a political, or social one. At the same time, it is hard for me to watch video art and not look for errors or unintentional video artifacts, but I also feel like I get to see beyond what the artist originally intended.

  1. You spent a great deal of time with the Videofreex collection. Would you tell me how you went about preserving and digitizing those tapes?

About fifty percent of the work on the Videofreex collection was building a functioning playback environment. The ½” open reel machines came to us in various states of disrepair and deterioration. We acquired several ½” open reel playback machines, cleaned them, and with the help of a local engineer, Gary Chang, we were able to repair five decks and bring them to full working order. Along with Electronic Industries Association of Japan (EIAJ) standardized ½” black and white tapes, we are now able to digitize tapes recorded before 1970 (pre-video standardization) and tapes recorded in color. The other part of the work was stabilizing the media. Some of the tapes were not kept in the best storage conditions since they were recorded nearly fifty years ago. The tapes were cleaned with a custom built tape cleaner — which VDB commissioned — and then baked in a food dehydrator to temporarily stall the effects of deterioration so the tapes could be played. During the digitization process, tapes were monitored for technical errors to determine if those errors were recorded into the content or part of the playback/digitizing process. To determine this, multiple recordings were often made and compared side-by-side. It was important to remember that this was new technology at the time, and the Videofreex were still learning as they went along. Still, our goal was to capture the best image possible.

  1. Name some of your favorite video works from the collection and your reasons why.

Some of my favorites are the early recordings from the Videofreex and the experimental works they made. The group documented political demonstrations in New York City and Washington D.C., including the 1971 May Day protests against the Vietnam War. The videomakers would record public service announcements (PSAs) from organizers, which they would show the other attendees later in the day. The content included information about staying safe while protesting, or how to talk to police if you’re detained. A step towards democratic social media, which seems as relevant today as it did in 1971.

In some of the experimental work, such as Me’s and Youse and Mushwolf, they played around with superimposing faces in the video, which created a comical effect. In Pulsa, another experimental piece, they took advantage of the inherent image lag of a Portapak cathode ray tube, by setting up strobe lights in the yard at night and recording the lights turning on and off or moving around. The image lag creates an effect that makes the lights look like bright comet tails in the dark.

  1. Any final thoughts?

With regards to the archive, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished. Digitization at VDB has helped the artists by making their works more technically accessible, and getting those works out into the world.

Alternative Histories, Alternative Archives: A one-day symposium on the state of the archive

“This material will still be here when you leave.  Someone else will study it.  These images will encounter other times, other faces.”

— Akram Zaatari, artist, speaking about the Arab Image Foundation photography archive

The concept of “the Archive” has gained potency over recent years, particularly in the realms of art and culture. Depository of information, home for memory and data, source of inspiration and inquiry for artists and researchers — archives function in a multitude of ways across disciplines.
For more than forty years, Video Data Bank (VDB) has served as a valuable resource for alternative video art histories, and has itself evolved into an “accidental” archive. VDB is a pioneer in fostering awareness and scholarship of media art — from a renowned anthology of early video art, to feminist and queer-focused curatorial projects, and media activist collections — long advocating for this most democratic and widely distributed of art forms.
This October, VDB will host Alternative Histories, Alternative Archives, a one-day symposium centered on alternative archival content, practices, and strategies, from archivists, academics, and artists. Among the questions posed:
  • What makes an archive?
  • Who is the archive for?
  • Is the archive neutral?
  • Who controls the archive?
  • Can the archive be a progressive tool?
  • How can the archive survive in the current political and financial climate?

We are happy to welcome Josh MacPhee of Interference Archive as our keynote speaker, as well as representatives from organizations including: Black Film Center/Archive, Chicago Film Archives, Experimental Sound Studio, Media Burn, Public Collectors, Read/Write Library, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sixty Inches From Center, South Side Home Movie Project, and artist Joshua J. Kent.

Click here for the full schedule

Click here for the full list of participants

Co-Prosperity Sphere
3219 South Morgan Street
Chicago, IL 60608

Thursday, October 5th 9.00am-5.00pm

This event has been made possible thanks to the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund

Eventbrite - Alternative Histories, Alternative Archives

40 Years of Visionary Video

VDB’s 40th anniversary year is now officially behind us! The last 12 months have bought a whirlwind of activity as we marked four decades at the forefront of video and media arts, and celebrated the extraordinary video artists in the VDB archive.  The year saw some exciting projects and special events:

Video Data Bank is now officially 41!  As we move into our fifth decade, we are honored to represent the work of all 600 artists in the collection, from pioneers of the 1960s and 70s such as Nancy Holt, Bruce Nauman, and Yvonne Rainer, to the latest works by emerging and established contemporary artists, including Coco Fusco, Sky Hopinka, and Martine Syms. We look forward to continuing and deepening our relationships with artists, users and audiences, and to embracing the challenges of the future — be they new delivery systems, changing technologies, or social and political challenges.  We continue to believe in arts power to transform the world! Here’s to 40 more years…

— Abina Manning
VDB Executive Director on behalf of the VDB Team

VDB at the 2017 ALA Conference & Exhibition

Video Data Bank (VDB) is pleased to partner with the American Library Association (ALA) during the 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibition, taking place in our hometown of Chicago, June 22nd-27th. During this event-packed conference — which will feature well-known speakers including Ron Chernow, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Hillary Rodham Clinton — staff from VDB will be sitting on a number of panel discussions, tabling in the exhibition hall, and hosting the ALA Video Round Table Gala at the Gene Siskel Film Center. If you are in Chicago for the weekend we hope that you will join us for what promises to be an exciting few days of exploration and discovery with colleagues new and old. Development and Marketing Manager, George William Price and Distribution Manager, Zach Vanes will be available for individual meetings on Friday 23rd and Monday 26th. Please see our About Us page for contact information.

Friday 23rd-Monday 26th
ALA Exhibition
McCormick Place West Building
Level 3
Halls F1 & F2
Booth #4635

VDB staff will be available to discuss all matters related to video art, distribution, and preservation.

Saturday 24th, 3.00-4.00pm
Audiovisual Materials and Issues with Degradation and Storage
McCormick Place, W179a

Tom Colley, Archive and Collection Manager
Kristin MacDonough, Digitization Specialist

Film, video, and audiotape are increasingly at risk for physical degradation due to poor storage environments and their chemical properties, known as “inherent vice.” These vulnerability issues continue to gain attention. Likewise, knowing preservation best practices of analog objects is growing in importance, especially as digitization isn’t a feasible option for many institutions. This panel will discuss the science of this deterioration and ideal vs. practical solutions for storage through case studies and discussions.

Sunday 25th, 10.30-11.30am
Preservation Showdown: Audiovisual Edition
McCormick Place, W184d

Kristin MacDonough, Digitization Specialist

Two teams will go head to head to debate the statement “The preservation of analog audiovisual media is the single most important preservation issue facing libraries (and archives and museums) in 2017.” Teams will include members from the Preservation and Reformatting Section and the Video Round Table, bringing their different perspectives to each side of the issue. Audience members will be expected to ask questions during the debate, and the debate will be followed by an open discussion with the audience and the debaters.

Sunday 25th, 7.00-9.00pm
ALA Video Round Table Gala
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.

Tom Colley, Archive and Collection Manager
George William Price, Development and Marketing Manager

Join the Video Round Table for drinks and hors d’oeuvres followed by a presentation on the media collective Videofreex from Tom Colley, Archive and Collection Manager of Video Data Bank. One of the earliest video collectives in the United States, the Videofreex formed in 1969 at the legendary Woodstock Music festival, and went on to tour the country with the newly available Portapak video equipment interviewing counter-cultural figures of the day. In 2001, as part of Video Data Bank’s mission to preserve and archive important historical video, they began amassing the Videofreex’s vast tape archive on the now-defunct half-inch open reel video format. The presentation at the Gene Siskel Film Center will include rarely seen gems from the Videofreex archive, including historic interviews with Fred Hampton and Abbie Hoffman.

VDB Artists Showcased in Whitney Biennial 2017


We are thrilled to announce that Video Data Bank artists Basma Alsharif, Kevin Jerome Everson, Sky Hopinka, Dani Leventhal, Leslie Thornton and James Richards have been included in the lineup for the Whitney Biennial 2017! The exhibition includes sixty-three participants, ranging from emerging to well-established individuals and collectives working in painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film and video, photography, activism, performance, music, and video game design.

The Whitney Biennial is the longest running survey of contemporary art in the United States, with a history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking lively debate. The 2017 Biennial is the Museum’s seventy-eighth in a continuous series of Annual and Biennial exhibitions initiated by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932. It is the first to be held in the Whitney’s downtown home at 99 Gansevoort Street, and the largest ever in terms of gallery space.

Congratulations again to all the artists as well as curators Christopher Y. Lew, Mia Locks, and film program co-curator Aily Nash.

Whitney Biennial 2017 Film Program

“The Whitney revealed the 63 participants in its sprawling survey of what’s happening now in contemporary art—the new, the influential and the potentially provocative.”
The New York Times

“The 2017 Whitney Biennial Will Feature Edgy, Trending Artists in ‘Turbulent’ Times”
Artnet News

VDB TV: Decades Launches Today!

VDB TV: Decades
The Whole World is (Still) Watching
Sadie Benning | Dara Birnbaum | Gran Fury
Leah Gilliam | Tom Kalin | Tom Rubnitz | Suzie Silver

VDB TV: Decades The Whole World is (Still) Watching

This November, Video Data Bank (VDB) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates forty years of supporting video art and artists with the launch of VDB TV: Decades, a five-part curated screening series exploring the VDB’s unique archive, streamed for free on the VDB TV platform.

VDB TV: Decades casts a distinctive eye over the development of video as an art form. First in the series is The Whole World is (Still) Watching, an exciting survey of the Nineties curated by regular Artforum contributor Solveig Nelson, featuring videos by seminal artists including Dara Birnbaum, Tom Rubnitz, and Suzie Silver. Launching November 14th at vdb.org/tv, this special series will mark the beginning of an incredible year of reflection and celebration for Video Data Bank.

About VDB TV:

VDB TV is a rotating series of groundbreaking programs presenting essential video art, streaming free for the first time to the general public on the Video Data Bank website. From early media pioneers, to sensational contemporary artists, VDB TV provides unprecedented access to the culturally significant Video Data Bank archive of more than 600 artists and 6,000 video art titles. VDB TV is curated by prominent programmers and moving image art specialists. To advance accessibility to the VDB collection, all programs included within VDB TV feature closed captions for the hearing impaired.
VDB TV is supported in part by a Media Arts award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

VDB at Conversations at the Edge

Left: Sara Magenheimer at Conversations at the Edge, October 20th
Right: Paul Kos via Skype at Conversations at the Edge, November 3rd

As part of Video Data Bank’s ongoing 40th Anniversary Celebrations we were pleased to welcome both emerging multimedia artist Sara Magenheimer (October 20th) and seminal conceptual artist and educator Paul Kos (November 3rd) to the renowned experimental media series Conversation at the Edge (CATE) located at the Gene Siskel Film Center. You can read more about Magenheimer’s and Kos’ practice by visiting the CATE blog where VDB Distribution and Marketing Manager, George William Price, has written two short texts on the artists:

On Sara Magenheimer
On Paul Kos

Sympathetic Vibrations:
The Videoworks of Paul Kos

Video Data Bank is proud to launch Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos. This two-disc box set features 25 video works and a 50-page monograph containing specially commissioned essays that expand upon Kos’ five-decade long practice by art scholar Constance Lewallen and SFMOMA’s Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling.

Sympathetic Vibration: The Videoworks of Paul Kos is available for educational purchase.

“[Paul Kos’] work is conceptual to a degree, but it takes a real, generally sculptural, form. Add to that a strong vein of Dada absurdity and an ultra-dry wit, and it adds up to one of the Bay Area’s most entertaining, influential and important living artists.”

— Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle

Video Data Bank believes in the unique vitality of our moving image community, a belief that we share with our artists, customers, and partners. As a non-profit organization, Video Data Bank relies on the generosity of individuals like you who believe that video art and artists are worthy of investment.

As part of our 40th Anniversary Celebrations we are releasing a selection of limited edition merchandise! These include stylish tote bags, stickers, and buttons to show the world you care about video and media art. We are offering these to VDB donors throughout our anniversary year, but hurry, as stocks are limited!

VDB Artist News — Fall 2016

Harun Farocki‘s Parallel IV and Peggy Ahwesh‘s She Puppet will screen as part of Game Play: Artist’s Playing Video Games, November 14th at OFFoff Art Cinema, Gent, Belgium.

Ellen Spiro‘s (In)Visible Women is on looped exhibit at the International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago, November 15th through December 4th, in observation of HIV/AIDS Awareness Month.

Cecelia Condit and Leslie Thornton are featured in Stranded at Schwimmen-zwei-Vögel (2), taking place November 16th at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria.

Feel the Burn: Video Art and Television, screening November 16th at Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, will showcase multiple works by VDB artists including Max AlmyAnt Farm, Dara Birnbaum, Anthony Discenza, and Ilene Segalove. The screening will be presented alongside a conversation between Chip Lord and Steve Seid.

November 15th through the 20th, Ursula Biemann‘s Subatlantic will be exhibited as part of the 33rd Kasseler Dokumentarfilm-und Videofest, Kassel, Germany.

Basma Alsharif‘s The Story of Milk and Honey and Home Movies Gaza will be screened at the Palestinian Film Festival Australia, November 17th through December 4th.

Sadie Benning‘s solo exhibition Shared Eye opens at Chicago’s Renaissance Society November 19th through January 22nd, 2017. You can download the poster for Benning’s exhibition by clicking HERE.

Louis Henderson‘s All That Is Solid will be shown at the Departament de Cultura, Barcelona, Spain on November 15th.

The Saint Louis Art Museum presents two works by Dara Birnbaum, Technology/Transformation: Wonder Women and Kiss the Girls: Make the Cry, through December 11th. Birnbaum was also interviewed for BOMB Magazine by Barbara Schröder & Karen Kelley.

Tran, T. Kim-Trang has released a new digital publication more than meets the eye: the videos of Tran T. Kim-Trang. This publication contains a number of original critical texts, from scholars such as Lucas Hilderbrand and Holly Willis, which were commissioned in 2009 by Video Data Bank as part of The Blindness Series box set.

VDB Newsletter ::: October 2016

Sara Magenheimer: Slow Zoom Long Pause
Conversations at the Edge
October 20th, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago

Sara Magenheimer, still from Slow Zoom Long Pause, 2015.

Sara Magenheimer, still from Slow Zoom Long Pause, 2015.

Thursday, October 20th, 6:00 p.m.
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.

Video Data Bank is delighted to present artist Sara Magenheimer at
Conversations at the Edge as part of our 40th Anniversary Year celebrations.

In her arresting videos, Sara Magenheimer mixes humor and playfulness with a sophisticated inquiry into language and meaning-making. Using visual puns, graphics, and text-to-voice computer programs, her work explores the slippery dimensions of communication. In Seven Signs That Mean Silence (2013), two disembodied computer voices describe in-between places where meaning hides. In Slow Zoom Long Pause (2015), characters meditate on the many ways language fails.

2011–16, USA, multiple formats, ca 60 min + discussion

Sara Magenheimer (b. Philadelphia) has exhibited, performed, and screened her work widely. Recent exhibitions include White Columns, New York; Foxy Productions, New York; and Document, Chicago; among others. From 2004–10 Magenheimer performed in bands, touring extensively and releasing five records. She was the recipient of a 2014 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant, a 2015 Artadia Grant, and the Prix De Varti at the 2015 Ann Arbor Film Festival. Upcoming exhibitions include Art In General’s New Commissions in Riga, Latvia, and a solo exhibition at the Kitchen in New York.

Find Out More
“VDB Asks…Sara Magenhiemer”
Conversations at the Edge
Video Data Bank Celebrates 40 Years of Visionary Video!

2016 Political Data Bank

Let the Video Data Bank be your political guide this month
with our Top Ten Election Season Videos!

Four More Years, TVTV, 1972
TVTV’s inside view of the 1972 Republican National Convention made broadcast history. While network cameras focused on the orchestrated renomination of Richard Nixon, TVTV’s rag-tag army of guerrilla television activists turned their cameras on to the cocktail parties, anti-war demonstrations, hype and hoopla that accompanied the show.

The Eternal Frame, Ant Farm and T.R. Uthco, 1976
Irreverent yet poignant, The Eternal Frame is a re-enactment of the assassination of John F. Kennedy as seen in the famous Zapruder film. This home movie was immediately confiscated by the FBI, yet found its way into the visual subconscious of the nation.

The Speech, Doug Hall, 1982
This tape grew out of Hall’s fascination with Ronald Reagan and his uncanny ability to demonstrate what he called the ‘Signifiers of Americanism’.

Perfect Leader, Max Almy, 1983
A satire of the political television spot, Perfect Leader shows that ideology is the product and power is the payoff.

The Riot Tapes, Ilene Segalove, 1984
A video biography of Segalove’s political involvement in college, of her boyfriend (who became anorexic while dieting to evade the draft), and of her discovery that art could give her a voice and a forum for her political views.

Canon: Taking to the Street, Dara Birnbaum, 1990
Starting with student-recorded VHS footage of two successive Take Back the Night marches at Princeton University, Birnbaum develops a saga of political awareness through personalized experiences.

Stoney Does Houston, Bob Hercules, 1992
In this irreverent and hilarious videotape, renowned street performer Stoney Burke leads us on a subversive tour of the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston’s Astrodome.

RE:THE_OPERATION, Paul Chan, 2002
Based on a set of drawings that depict George W. Bush’s administration as wounded soldiers in the war against terrorism, RE:THE_OPERATION explores the sexual and philosophical dynamics of war through the lives of the members as they physically engage each other and the “enemy.”

Energy Country, Deborah Stratman, 2003
This short video harangue questions land use policy as it serves the oil industry, patriotism as it absolves foreign aggression, and fundamentalism as it calcifies thinking.

Political Advertisement, Antonio Muntadas and Marshall Reese, 1996-2016
Political Advertisement depicts the evolution of political ads over the last 44 years, beginning with Eisenhower in 1952 (which was an unqualified success), and continuing up to the most recent ad campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016, coming to Video Data Bank very soon! Political Advertisement IX will screen Friday, November 4th at the School of Visual Arts, NYC.

VDB at the 2016 New York Film Festival

Video Data Bank’s very own Distribution Manager, Zach Vanes, was present at last weekend’s packed Projections program at the 2016 New York Film Festival! He gives us a quick rundown of the happenings at this exciting moving image festival.

“There’s nothing quite like Projections at the New York Film Festival. The audience assembled in the Film Society of Lincoln Center was made up of colleagues and friends, and each program offered new insights into the possibilities of the moving image. It was wonderful to see Video Data Bank artists like Sky Hopinka, Jesse McLean, Steve Reinke, and Deborah Stratman present their work to sold out crowds. It was truly a great weekend for experimental video, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the program.”

— Zach Vanes


Video Data Bank believes in the unique vitality of our moving image community, a belief that we share with our artists, customers, and partners. As a non-profit organization, Video Data Bank relies on the generosity of individuals like you who believe that video art and artists are worthy of investment.

As part of our 40th Anniversary celebrations we are releasing a selection of limited edition merchandise! These include stylish tote bags (perfect for carrying your VDB rentals), stickers and buttons to show the world you care about video and media art. We are offering these to VDB donors throughout our anniversary year, but hurry, as stocks are limited!

VDB TV presents:

CHANNELING: an invocation of
spectral bodies and queer spirits

VDB TV Presents: CHANNELING: an invocation of spectral bodies and queer spirits

As part of Video Data Bank’s ongoing commitment to the presentation of groundbreaking moving image art, VDB TV presents this free online program that provides an entryway into the spirit realm and the queer body politic. This program, curated by cultural agitators Latham Zearfoss and Ethan White, summons the ghosts of the past and the specters of the future. Originally released as a compilation in 2008, the video works have been revisited by the curators who provide new insight into this culturally relevant program:

“While the spectrum of what is visible — and therefore legible, validated by mainstream consensus — may have shifted slightly in the last eight years, the questions raised by CHANNELING still inhabit the shadows and gray areas. The “political and historical dramas that haunt the queer experience” — i.e. the spectral bodies and queer spirits we sought to evoke in this program — have not been properly put to rest.”

— Latham Zearfoss and Ethan White

About VDB TV:

VDB TV is a rotating series of groundbreaking programs presenting essential video art, streaming free for the first time to the general public on the Video Data Bank website. From early media pioneers, to sensational contemporary artists, VDB TV provides unprecedented access to the culturally significant Video Data Bank archive of more than 600 artists and 6,000 video art titles. VDB TV is curated by prominent programmers and moving image art specialists from around the world. To advance accessibility to the VDB collection, all programs included within VDB TV feature closed captions for the hearing impaired.
VDB TV is supported in part by a Media Arts award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

VDB Artist News — Fall 2016

Socially engaged artist Suzanne Lacy‘s 18-month project Shapes of Water Sounds of Hope at Brierfield Mill, Lancashire, UK, receives a warm write-up by Laura Robertson for this month’s Frieze Magazine.

VDB artists including George Barber, Kevin Jerome Everson, Louis Henderson, Michael Robinson, and Deborah Stratman are screening works at Experimenta, the artists’ moving image section of the 2016 London Film Festival, October 6-16th.

Shelly Silver‘s documentary in complete world will be shown at the Whitney Museum of Art, NYC, and followed by a discussion between Silver and activist Louis Massiah, on the meanings of citizenship in the 21st Century, October 14th. Additionally Video Data Bank is offering this title for free to any interested screening venue until November 8th, contact info@vdb.org for more information.

Filmmaker Jim Finn‘s title Chums from Across the Void will screen at the 2016 Vienna International Film Festival on October 20th.

As part of the ongoing series Artists’ Film Club at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art, moving image practitioner Dani Leventhal will screen a selection of recent works, followed by a Q&A led by Mason Leaver-Yap on October 27th.

Writer and filmmaker Renée Green will screen her video Partially Buried as part of a program that surveys the influence and impact of artists supported by gallerist and patron Virginia Dwan, entitled Of Minimalists and Land Artists, at the National Gallery of Art, October 29th.

Berlin-based artist Rosa Barba is currently exhibiting her film Disseminate and Hold as part of an installation at the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo through December 11th 2016. Barba also has a solo exhibit Blind Volumes currently on show at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, through January 8th 2017.

Video Data Bank at the 54th New York Film Festival


The New York Film Festival, now in its 54th year, runs September 30th to October 16th, 2016. This year marks the third year of the Festival’s unique celebration of experimental media: Projections.

The New York Film Festival’s Projections section presents an international selection of artists’ film and video work that expands upon our notions of what the moving image can do and be. Drawing on a broad range of innovative modes and techniques, including experimental narratives, avant-garde poetics, crossovers into documentary and ethnographic realms, and contemporary art practices, Projections brings together a diverse offering of short, medium, and feature-length work by some of today’s most vital and groundbreaking filmmakers and artists. Projections is curated by Dennis Lim (Director of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center), Aily Nash (independent curator), while Thomas Beard (Film Society Programmer at Large) serves as Program Advisor.

VDB is thrilled that the 2016 Projections program will highlight a number of VDB titles and artists, including:

  • Rosa Barba, Bending to Earth (2015) [Program 1 – October 7th & 8th]
  • Kevin Jerome Everson, Ears, Nose and Throat (2016) [Program 2 – October 7th & 8th]
  • Sky Hopinka, Jáaji Approx. (2015) [Program 2 – October 7th & 8th]
  • Jesse McLean, See a Dog, Hear a Dog (2016) [Program 1 – October 7th & 8th]
  • John Smith, Steve Hates Fish (2015) [Program 1 – October 7th & 8th]
  • Deborah Stratman, The Illinois Parables (2016) [Program 3 – October 7th]
  • Steve Reinke, A Boy Needs A Friend (2015) [Program 7 – October 8th & 9th]

Find out more about the 54th New York Film Festival by visiting the online festival brochure.