On Friday, March 26 the Gene Siskel Film Center hosted a virtual Q&A for THE VASULKA EFFECT (2020, Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir, Iceland/Czech Republic, 87 mins), a documentary portraying the life and work of pioneers of video art Steina and Woody Vasulka. The Q&A featured director Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir, electronic art pioneer Dan Sandin, and Media Burn Archive executive director Sara Chapman. The conversation was be moderated by Amy Beste, director of public programs and senior lecturer in the department of film, video, new media, and animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
THE VASULKA EFFECT (2020, Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir, Iceland/Czech Republic, 87 mins) is a documentary portraying the life and work of pioneers of video art, Steina and Woody Vasulka. Beginning in the late 1960s, the Vasulkas playfully explored the possibilities of the electronic signal, creating thousands of videos and installations. In 1971, they founded legendary New York art space The Kitchen. In their opening manifesto for The Kitchen they wrote, “This place was selected by Media God to perform an experiment on you, to challenge your brain and its perception.”
The film features extensive footage from the Vasulka archive, including 1960s/70s New York with Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling, and Jimi Hendrix. Even more compelling is the chance to watch the Vasulkas playfully test the boundaries of the electronic signal as they generated work that has come to define video art for the past 50 years.