Titles with or about Woody Vasulka

Art of Memory

1987, 36 min, color, sound

Art of Memory is a major work, an original and mature articulation of Vasulka's inquiry into the meaning of recorded images. Constructing a haunted theater of memory from a spectacle of filmic and electronic images, Vasulka collapses and transforms collective memory and history in an enigmatic space and time. The monumental landscape of the American Southwest is the mythic site onto which he inscribes newsreel footage of war — ghostly images that become malleable, sculptural forms through constant electronic transmutations.

In this metaphorical vision, the recorded image becomes a monument to the past; history becomes cultural memory through photography and cinema. Vasulka locates the trauma of 20th-century history in filmic images of violent events, including the Spanish Civil War, the Russian Revolution, World War II and the advent of the nuclear bomb. Presided over by a winged creature of conscience, history and memory are seen to be manipulated by the history and memory of images. In a breathtaking conjoinment of the apparatuses of war, history and the media, Vasulka achieves a poignant, ultimately tragic memory theater.

With: Daniel Nagrin, Klein. Voices: Doris Cross. Videotools: Rutt/Etra, Jeffrey Schier. Collaboration: Bradford Smith, Penelope Place, Steina, David Aubrey.

Ordering & Fees