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Steina and Woody Vasulka fonds

Series: The Kitchen

Ben Tatti, Electronic Imagery, The Kitchen, New York, 1972

The Kitchen. - 1971-2000 (particularly 1971-1973). - 0.26 meters of textual documents. - 9 b&w. photographic prints, 18 x 26 cm, 14 b&w. photographic prints, 20 x 26 cm.

Scope and content:

This series provides information about the activities of The Kitchen from 1971 to 1973. In 1970, Steina and Woody Vasulka presented their first experiments with video and organized informal talks at the studio space that they occupied on 14th Street in New York. Since this site couldn't accommodate the growing number of people drawn there, the couple began looking for a space to meet the needs of an emerging community of video artists. With Andreas Manick, they founded The Kitchen in 1971 in the former kitchen of the Mercer Art Center (New York, N.Y. United States). That same year, under the name Perception, a group formed with Eric Siegel, they received funding from Howard Wise, the founding director of Electronic Arts Intermix (New York, N.Y. United States), to help buy video equipment (monitors, cameras), which was difficult for artists working during this period to obtain.

In its early years, The Kitchen served as a bridge between two trends in video: direct documentary with a social focus and an exploration of the formal characteristics of the medium. The artists-run organisation's mandate gradually expanded as its program increasingly opened up to performance. As a result, The Kitchen had a major role in the growth of practices blending electronic images with the performing arts. Musicians and videomakers like LaMonte Young, Yud Jalkut, Maryanne Armacher, Emmanuel Ghent, Frederick Rzewski, John Gibson, Henry Flynt, Tony Conrad, Phil Niblock, Gordon Mumma, Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman presented their work here. Between 1971 and 1973, activities at The Kitchen were overseen mainly by Steina and Woody Vasulka, who did, however, enlist many collaborators. Dimitri Devyatkin acted as the coordinator of video programming. In 1972, he organized the Computer Arts Festival and a seminar on cybernetics. Rhys Chatham looked after weekly events (performances and concerts). Shridhar Bapat took over in 1972. He co-directed the Kitchen Video Festival and the Women's Video Festival with Susan Milano and served as The Kitchen's director in 1973. That same year, Steina and Woody Vasulka headed off to Buffalo where they would teach at the Media Study Buffalo (Buffalo, N.Y. United States), and The Kitchen moved from its Mercer Art Center space to 59 Broome Street in New York's Soho district.

This series includes press releases put out for on The Kitchen's opening in 1971, weekly event calendars, communiqués, programs, a press review, a set of photographic prints documenting events presented at the Mercer Art Center space between 1971 and 1973, administrative correspondence, and grant applications. The programs and communiqués are often accompanied by descriptions of the works presented (musical pieces, choreography, performances), instructions for the performers (dancers, actors) or musical scores. The press review contains articles mostly from the weekly newspaper The Village Voice. Even after leaving for Buffalo, Steina and Woody Vasulka presented their work on occasion at The Kitchen, which by then had moved to the Soho neighborhood in New York. They also dropped by as spectators and collected programs and press clippings on the events held there between 1973 and 1980. This series also features transcriptions of interviews taped between 1973 and 1992. In these interviews, Steina and Woody Vasulka speak with their collaborators from The Kitchen's early days (Bob Stearn, Shridhar Bapat and Jud Yalkut).

Title based on the content of the series. - Documents in English. - Originals and reproductions. - The person who processed the documents established the chronological classification of the correspondence, communiqués, programs and press clippings. - The Kitchen's fonds which include many master videotapes of events from 1971 to 1973, are held by Electronic Art Intermix (New York, N.Y. United States).

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Vincent Bonin © 2003 FDL