James Byrne: Selected Works I

1974-78, 17:10 min, b&w, sound

Byrne's early black-and-white videotapes are confrontational, self-reflexive formal exercises that incorporate performance, perception, and an intense physicality in a phenomenological exploration of the medium's properties. In Translucent and Both, Byrne directly addresses the presence of the video monitor and exploits video's simultaneous playback, confronting the viewer with the illusory perception of real and electronic space, recorded and live images. Aired as commercial breaks on local television in Minneapolis, Works for Broadcast is a series of formal performances in which Byrne aggressively and physically challenges the expectations, perceptions, and identity of the viewing audience. I Like Mechanics Magazines is a self-portrait, Byrne's first edited piece, and an early use of video as a storytelling medium, using personal anecdotes, memories, and metaphoric images.

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