The Vasulkas, Collective in distribution, United States
Woody (born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, 1937) and Steina Vasulka (born in Reykjavik, Iceland, 1940) married in Prague in 1964 and work as an artist duo in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they have been living since 1980. The Vasulkas have received numerous grants and prizes, among which the Siemens Media Art Prize (Siemens-Medienkunstpreis) awarded by the ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie) in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1995. In 1965, they moved to New York City and in 1971 founded The Kitchen, an electronic media arts centre that was key to the development of an intellectual and institutional framework for video practice in New York. The Vasulkas began working with video in 1969, using the Sony Portapak camera to document New York's underground activities. Subsequently, they started to concentrate on the audiovisual medium itself, exploring its possibilities with the help of specialized technicians. The result of these experiments are works which are now considered landmarks in technological innovation. The pieces are categorized as 'image-processed video', because they treat the video signal as a plastic medium, using various devices to manipulate it and create unique visual effects. The generated images are highly abstract, minimal and formal, but also intensely visually lush and stimulating. They rework the space of the video image in ways that alter the viewer's optical perception of the image, confounding their ability to distinguish between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space.