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May 24, 2015

Dara Birnbaum


Dara Birnbaum
Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman
1978-1979
RT 5:22

May 22, 2015

Let's give a warm welcome to Video Coffee Break.


This summer Process will betaking a critical look at video art and film. I'll begin by giving a shout out to the usual suspects that were influential to me, while also opening up the discussion to include the role of women in contemporary film and television. Perfect timing: Mad Max Fury Road is on fire right now for busting through all sorts of barriers— in post (a woman editor) and on the screen.

I'm also starting a sister site on Tumblr, called appropriately, Video Coffee Break, where I'll be posting clips, links and essays daily. My intent is to have VCB function as a resource and a starting point for  those who want to discover more about the medium. A primer, of sorts. I'll also be taking submissions. More on that later.

As I get the site up and running, there might be an overlap between Process and VCB, but please check it out and follow us. And share. Sharing is always nice.

******
There's been quite a gap since video was my main practice, so part of my process will be using this blog as a forum for thinking out loud. Have no fear, posts about painting, drawing and the mundane will still make appearances here—all in good time.

Process will be ten years old this coming fall. Ten. That's like an eternity in the blogosphere. And the fact that we're still ad-free and haven't migrated to a hipper platform after all these years is just plain lazy crazy. I've almost deleted the blog twice. Instead, I deleted the first two years of posts. It was somewhat of a compromise and there was no rhyme or reason why I left the remaining years in tact.

Nonetheless, if you've only been following along since 2005* or you're simply confused, you might be thinking, Video? WTF? I thought you were a painter. If you are checking in for the first time since 2001, you might be thinking Painter? What? So here's the deal—

In my ongoing quest for my art and life to work like a well-oiled machine,  I'm once again questioning the act of making physical art objects. I am in no way suggesting that painting is dead to me. (The middle way, remember?) I'm just reminding myself of the facts:

I publish a blog called Process. I have written statements whereas I stress the importance of the process of painting, and refer to objects as being the by-product of this act. Much of my video work is either about the process of not painting, the process of work, or the process of domestic life and relationships. I hope this is not a deal-breaker, but it's never actually been about the object, as nice as these objects can sometimes be. It's about being in the moment and finding meaning.

Of course, this insistence that process is all that matters is in direct conflict with the statement you'll read in the next paragraph where I suggest that destroying artwork is a rather ornery act negating years of thoughtful labor and the quest for meaning, and so it is.

# 1.
Back in LA, there is a storage unit packed like the proverbial sardine can with nothing but physical art objects of various sizes and their fate is weighing heavily on me. It's not like I took an oath, but I do recall one of my mantras as being, "Take care of the art and the art will take care of you." I still believe this to be true and therefore I am obligated to tend to this herculean task. For everyone who suggests destroying art is a liberating and egoless act at mid-life, I suggest you burn your house down, cash out your savings and go on a weekend bender. Hit me up afterward if you feel the same way. Meanwhile, I'm currently talking to interested parties who are helping me place some of the large pieces in collections on the west coast. Plan B is for the remainder of the works and I'm equally excited about that project.

# 2.
For those of you keeping score, I worked extensively making video art. (editor's note: back in The Day). Simultaneously, I renounced my vow of poverty by having a couple of respectable jobs in post-production during those years. When I retuned to painting, I felt guilty for ditching painting and tried to kiss and make up by sweeping my history with video art and post production under the rug. Don't judge. In hindsight, it affected a couple areas of my life somewhat negatively, and I might have chosen the middle road if I had a do-over. On the other hand, everything is just as it should be.


Meanwhile, tune in while I make amends to Video.


Don't ask why, but Ed Wood was a minor influence for this video. I believe this might have been edited on 2 VCR decks located a couple of feet apart from each other. Envision a mad scientist working in a lab. Yes, that's it. 

* Before there was Process, there was Plastic Ass, a dead tree 'zine I produced in the mid 90's.

May 21, 2015

The Art of the —

—Like crazy.

I'm always amazed at how much I can do when the wheels start turning. 

May 20, 2015

Self-Help Still Life



Years ago, my mom was going through some vacation ephemera and unearthed the above postcard. While children growing up in Manhattan had museums, I was refining my tastes on the roadside travel souvenirs found at nearly every Stuckey's located on our family vacation route. 

After re-discovering said postcard, my mother thought it appropriate to place it on the dresser in my childhood bedroom—the room where I stayed on my trips back to visit. It was an inside joke, but not about anything in particular. We laughed. The truth is always funny.

It remained there forever until recently finding it's way to a new location atop a small box where I had carefully placed unfired bullets from a gun I found in the house.

It co-existed with the bullets for no apparent reason until recently, when I decided the postcard should be in front of my monitor.

Still a sucker for souvenirs, the coffee cup was from a visit to MoMA's gift shop.

The book to the left is somehow related to all this.