T.R. Uthco was a San Francisco-based multi-media performance art collective that engaged in satirical critiques of mass media images and cultural myths, using theatricality and spectacle as strategies. Founded in 1970, T.R. Uthco staged irreverent, fabricated events, and produced video documents of its performances. Interweaving reality and illusion, truth and artifice, they parodied pop iconography, political symbolism and cultural mythology.
Bringing complexity and sophistication to her deconstruction and appropriation of popular texts, Rea Tajiri decodes the images and soundtracks of Hollywood cinema and mass media as a strategy of cultural analysis. Fragmenting and rereading the vernacular of pop cultural narratives, she deciphers their embedded meanings to expose how history and memory are rewritten through media representation.
Janice Tanaka's intricately textured video collages confront the autobiographical and the cultural. Merging social and political observations, philosophical inquiries and personal introspections, Tanaka's works use original footage, appropriated media images, and layered electronic processing. In recent works, she has extended these inquiries to the construction of Asian-American identity.
Refracted through archival material, texts, found footage and dense soundtracks, Leslie Thornton's rigorously experimental film and video work is an investigation into the production of meaning through media. Her epic project Peggy and Fred in Hell is an ongoing cycle of interrelated films, videos and installation environments. Exploring the aesthetics of narrative form as well as the politics of the image, Thornton forges a unique and strangely beautiful syntax, one that poses its critique at the same time that it mesmerizes and confounds.
Francesc Torres' works question social orders based on political and economic power relations. Examining the machinery of war and violence within culture and history, he contemplates tensions between the persistence of time and the fragility of memory in politically charged spaces. From architectural ruins to media artifacts, he creates associations and metaphors to suggest larger cultural constructs.
Ryan Trecartin is one of the most innovative young artists working with video today. Trecartin's fantastical video narratives seem to be conjured from a fever dream. Collaborating with an ensemble cast of family and friends, Trecartin merges sophisticated digital manipulations with footage from the Internet and pop culture, animations, and wildly stylized sets and performances. While the astonishing A Family Finds Entertainment (2005) has drawn comparisons to Jack Smith, early John Waters, and Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Trecartin crafts startling visions that are thoroughly unique.
Adopting the tongue-in-cheek appellation Top Value Television, the influential video collective TVTV defined the radical video documentary movement of the 1970s that is known as "guerrilla television." TVTV subverted conventions of television news and documentary reportage with its alternative journalistic techniques, countercultural principles and pioneering use of portable, low-tech video equipment.