It is not everyday you have a living legend enter your life. Even if it only for a day. Steina Vasulka began life in Iceland in 1940. In the 1960’s she lived in Prague but in 1965 she moved to New York where she lived as a sound artist, musician and film maker. With her partner Woody and Andreas Mannik they founded The Kitchen in 1971. I quote from Steina’s CV:
In these early years, Steina and Woody collaborated extensively on investigations to the electronic nature of video and sound, and on producing documentaries about theater, dance, and music, with a special fascination for the New York underground scene. In 1974, the Vasulkas moved to Buffalo, where they joined the faculty of the Center for Media Study at the State Univesity of New York. At this point, their interest diverged: Woody turned his attention to the Rutt/Etra Scan Processor, while Steina experimented with the camera as an autonomous imaging instrument in what would become the Machine Vision series.
To give some idea of the environment of The Kitchen read this extract from a press release:
Alivision No . 2 [signifies] the awareness of an intelligent, yet not human vision. The act of seeing, the image source and the kinetic resources come from the installation itself, choreographed and programmed by the cyclical nature of its mechanical performance. [Steina Vasulka quoted in a Kitchen press release]
Throughout her career Steina has consistently produced provoking, beautiful and critical works of art using technology as a tool for thought and not a commodity or gimmick. We are truly lucky to be hosting a seminar by Steina Vasulka in HUMlab on April 11 2007 at 15:00 in conjuction with the Umeå University College of Arts.
For more background on Steina see these resources online:
I will blog more on the vist by Steina in the coming days.