Steina, Artist in distribution, Iceland, 1940
Steina Vasulka was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1940 and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She studied violin at the State Music Conservatory in Prague and played briefly in the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra before moving to New York in 1965, where she worked as a freelance musician. She started working with video in 1969, and since then her solo works and collaborative pieces with husband Woody Vasulka have been shown in the US, Europe, and Asia. Many of Steina Vasulka's video installations employ a number of monitors or screens showing repeating images that create rhythmic visual and aural compositions. The installations are often organized in such way that they can only be experienced as a whole if the viewers physically move around, emphasizing the degree to which all optical experience is grounded in the body and disrupting the idea that there can be a single, standardized vantage point from which to perceive an image. Her work often reflects on the idea of an awe-inspiring nature and explores the possibilities to manipulate its experience. During the 1970s, another focus of her work became interactive public performance, in which she plays a digitally adapted violin that manipulates projected video images.