Early Performance Video

Screening + Conversation

Please join EAI for a special evening with Dara Birnbaum, who will screen and discuss her earliest media works, performance-driven videos produced in the mid-1970s. Rarely screened in public, these remarkable works, which were restored by EAI, will be presented together for the first time in New York as part of EAI's ongoing 40th anniversary programming.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011
6:30 pm

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)
535 West 22nd Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10011


Admission $ 7.00 / Students $ 5.00
RSVP: rsvp@eai.org
Please note: Seating is limited.
Reservations are required.

EAI is proud to present a screening and conversation with pioneering video artist Dara Birnbaum, whose provocative analyses of television and mass culture have been highly influential. Marking the publication of a major new book, Dara Birnbaum: The Dark Matter of Media Light, Birnbaum will screen and speak about her earliest videos, which preceded and informed her well-known single-channel works—including the classic Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman—of the late 1970s and '80s.

In the mid-1970s, Birnbaum created a series of black-and-white, performance-based video exercises that represent her earliest experiments with the medium. These videos, which are direct and unmediated, introduce themes that recur throughout her later work. In many of these works, Birnbaum appears on camera as the performer, investigating through the body intense emotional or psychological manifestations while also foregrounding the relation of the camera/viewer to the subject/performer. Such works reveal an unexpected link to the body-art and performance-video practices of artists such as Vito Acconci, Joan Jonas, and Bruce Nauman. Other early works incorporate disjunctive tactics and pop-cultural content, pointing to Birnbaum's later editing strategies and engagement with television as source material.

This event presents a rare opportunity to see and discuss these early videos, which offer fascinating new insights into Birnbaum's work—before Wonder Woman.

The evening will include remarks by Karen Kelly and Barbara Schröder, editors of Dara Birnbaum: The Dark Matter of Media Light. Following the screening, Birnbaum will appear in conversation with Lori Zippay, Executive Director of EAI, and participate in a Q&A session with the audience.


Birnbaum will also sign copies of her new catalogue. Dara Birnbaum: The Dark Matter of Media Light is the most comprehensive book to date on the artist's groundbreaking oeuvre and the companion volume to the major retrospective of Birnbaum's work, exhibited at S.M.A.K., Ghent, in 2009 and Museu Serralves, Porto, in 2010. Published by S.M.A.K. and Fundação de Serralves in association with DelMonico Books·Prestel, the book was edited by Karen Kelly, Barbara Schröder, and Giel Vandecaveye, with conversations between Birnbaum and Hans Ulrich Obrist and essays by Sigrid Adorf, Marianne Brouwer, Johanna Burton, Diedrich Diederichsen, Marina Gržinić, Steven Jacobs and Michael Newman, and texts by Lori Zippay and Rebecca Cleman. The book will be available for purchase at EAI during the program at a special discounted rate.


Dara Birnbaum received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.F.A. in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. Birnbaum has taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax; California Institute of the Arts, Valencia; Princeton University; and the School of Visual Arts, New York. She has received numerous grants and awards for her work in video, from institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Tate Gallery, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; among others. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Jewish Museum, New York; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Wilkinson Gallery, London; IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia; and the Musee d'Art Contemporain, Montreal, among others. Retrospective screenings have been presented at The American Film Institute, Los Angeles; Kunsthaus, Zurich; and Kunstmuseum, Berne, Switzerland. Birnbaum was the only video artist invited to participate in Documenta 7, Kassel, Germany; the 1985 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh; and the 74th American Exhibition, Chicago, where she was awarded the Norman Wait Harris Prize. In 2010 she was honored with a USA Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Fellow award from United States Artists Fellowship Program. In 2011 she was awarded a Creative Artist Residency at the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant. Birnbaum was honored with a major retrospective of her work at S.M.A.K. (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst) in Ghent, Belgium, in 2009, and the Museu Serralves in Porto, Portugal, in 2010.


DARA BIRNBAUM: BEFORE WONDER WOMAN is part of an ongoing series of events and projects marking EAI's 40th anniversary year. For more information about upcoming programs in this series, please click here.


EAI: Celebrating 40 Years

Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world's leading nonprofit resources for video art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution and preservation of video art and digital art. EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical media works by artists. EAI's activities include viewing access, educational services, extensive online resources, and public programs such as artists' talks, exhibitions and panels. The Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and also features extensive materials on exhibiting, collecting and preserving media art: www.eai.org

Electronic Arts Intermix   535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor   New York, NY 10011
info@eai.org   t (212) 337-0680   f (212) 337-0679


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Experimental Television Center. The Experimental Television Center's Presentation Funds Program is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts.