The Commission
Woody Vasulka, 1983, 39'16''

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We witness an extraordinary event during the video opera "The Commission". "The Commission" concerns Paganini, the 19th century virtuoso violinist (who is played by video artist Ernest Gusella), and his contemporary, the composer Berlioz (who is played by the composer Robert Ashley). The 'story' deals with one of the characters paying the other 20.000 francs for a piece of music. But it's also about the death of Paganini who drifts through "The Commission" as a digital ghost. Over the years Woody and Steina Vasulka have developed a wide range of analogue and digital techniques that are responsible not only for "The Commission"'s exceptional design but also for its unconventional and layered narrative structure. Both the audio and the video signals have a contrlling function so that sound and vision assume an equal status. Vasulka has created a work about opera and the narrative form which also serves as a metaphor for the passion of making art. And "The Commission" is the result of that passion. Read more...

  • Date: 1983
  • Length: 39'16''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: narrative, music (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: storytelling, sound (subject), perception, music (subject), death, art