Tag Archives: Light Industry

Infermental: the first international magazine on videocassettes

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Infermental 4
Sunday, February 17, 2013 from 2:30pm to 10pm

Light Industry
155 Freeman Street
Brooklyn, New York

Light Industry presents Issue 4 of the pioneering videocassette magazine Infermental. The issue will be shown in its seven-hour entirety and introduced by James Richards, who recently edited the publication A Detour Around Infermental with George Clark and Dan Kidner.

Infermental, the “first international magazine on videocassettes,” was initiated in 1980 by Gábor and Vera Bódy, and eleven issues were published between 1980 and 1991. The early installments were realized with boundless energy and a visionary zeal—Gábor Bódy’s idea was to build an “Encyclopedia of Recorded Imagery.” He produced the first edition while on a DAAD residency in Berlin, and each subsequent issue was put together in a different city. Beginning in Europe, and with a distinct focus on connecting video and other media artists in the East and the West, Infermental became a project with global reach when later editions were produced in North America and Japan. Each issue featured between 30 and 100 artists contributing complete films, excerpts, trailers, interviews, and performance footage, and was assembled by a different editorial team, normally consisting of two former contributors and one supervisor. Though Bódy, the publication’s figurehead, died in 1985, Infermental continued for another six years.

Over the course of the project’s life, a diverse range of influential figures contributed to the magazine, like Peggy Ahwesh, Tony Conrad, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, Jon Jost, Marcel Odenbach, Amos Poe, Steina Vasulka, and Lawrence Weiner. But it was the less familiar names, the editorial rationale, the innovative distribution strategy, and the exhibition model that made it such a fascinating and enduring enterprise. Enabled by the newly accessible technology of U-matic cassette tape, Infermental brought together a number of formats, including 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm, as well as video. The editions were sold or rented to institutions with specific instructions for their presentation: the tapes were to be played one after the other for the full duration of the issue. Given the relatively peripheral status of video at this time, and the broad lack of support from galleries and film festivals, Infermental attempted to find a new way to present and circulate work among artists and institutions around the world.

Issue 4 was edited by the French artists’ group Frigo in 1985 and marks a shift in the magazine’s editorial policy, drawing on the group’s multi-disciplinary activities, collective organization, DIY ethos, and experience in pirate radio. Authorship is thrown into disarray as amateur footage, artists’ films, ethnographic documents, video performances, and music videos are seamlessly edited together.

“Infermental was of course operating at a time when there was a thriving underground film culture. Now culture is more diffuse and, more generally, there is a massive amount of different types of images in circulation from which to sample. But, for example, the free movement between different forms in the Frigo edition in 1985, the way different types of material overlapped—experimental films, documentary, music videos—does relate to the way I compose film programs…Also it was the first edition we watched that we felt was something of its own. We had all watched a lot of programs of video from the 1970s and 1980s, and the earlier editions seemed quite conventional, as much as there were interesting pieces perhaps or ones that stood out. It felt familiar as a structure. But then with the Frigo edition we saw the editors experimenting with ways of mixing the material and thereby making it quite different from a regular screening of works at a festival, museum or cinema.” – James Richards

James Richards lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions include a residency at CCA Kitakyushu, Japan (2012); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2011); Rodeo Gallery, Istanbul (2011); Art Now (with Clunie Reid), Tate Britain (2010); Tramway, Glasgow (2009) and Swallow Street, London (2009). Recent group exhibitions include Frozen Lakes at Artists Space, New York (2013), Younger than Jesus at the New Museum, New York (2009) and Nought to Sixty at ICA London (2009). Richards has curated film programs and screenings at Serpentine Gallery, London (2010); BFI, London (2010), X-Initiative, New York (2009); and Whitechapel Gallery, London (2007). He is the recipient of the 2012 Jarman Award.

Tickets – $7, all-you-can-watch, available at door. Stop in for an hour, come and go, or stay all day.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 2pm.

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Publication Studio at 177 Livingston

I have so many things to announce. My first announcement is that Publication Studio a print-on-demand publishing laboratory in Portland, Oregon is in Brooklyn for the weekend at 177 Livingston, the new home of Triple Canopy, Light Industry, and The Public School New York. Tonight I stopped by to check out their books and listen to a conversation about publishing, publications, and bookstores. During the day tomorrow (Saturday April 10th) you can stop by for some good conversation and good book browsing, and shopping. Israel Lund (who has a great blog recommended to me by my friend Mabel Cordero who also has a great blog) has a beautiful book for sale called Some, But Not All, of My Clothes. Let’s take a virtual tour – artmag’s first embedded video!

A wonderful little editioned hand-painted book by Chris Johanson and Joanna Jackson is also for sale, among other gems.

Tomorrow night Publication Studio is also hosting a party with live music by Dragging an Ox Through Water; paintings by Dana Dart-McLean; prints by Israel Lund; projected photos by Ari Marcopoulos; new video by M Blash; very short readings by my friend Christine Hou, as well as Pravin JainMatthew Stadler, and What We Are Learning. New video selections curated by Cleopatra’s. 8–11 pm, $5 at the door.

More info about Publication Studio from their website:

Publication Studio is an experiment in sustainable publication. We print and bind books on demand, creating original work with artists and writers we admire, books that both respond to the conversation of the moment and can endure. We attend to the social life of the book, cultivating a public that cares and is engaged. Publication Studio is a laboratory for publication in its fullest sense — not just the production of books, but the production of a public. This public, which is more than a market, is created through deliberate acts: the circulation of texts; discussions and gatherings in physical space; and the maintenance of a digital commons. Together these construct a space of conversation, a public space, which beckons a public into being.

I also wanted to mention that Matthew Stadler who runs Publication Studio out of his home in Portland, Oregon used to be the literary editor for Nest Magazine!

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Catching Up…

There was so much to choose from these past two weeks! It seemed like everything landed on the same night, but I think I chose well and was not disappointed.

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The opening at Capricious was well attended. I have to admit that I barely looked at the work on the walls during the closing reception. I mostly hung out with friends in the back office space and drank a Shandy. Although it was a bit too nippy outside for a Shandy, it did make me feel at home to have one. My British father is a big fan of the drink during summer months and it always reminds me of him. We leafed through the pages of old issues of Capricious, which is one of my favorite contemporary photography magazines (along with Foam). I do have to say that I prefer the standard magazine format of previous issues of Capricious to the latest newsprint issue. I don’t like a magazine I can’t hold in my lap or take in a tote bag to read on the train. (i.e. the brick that has become ArtForum)

On Valentine’s Day I was absolutely delighted to attend the Housing Works Valentines Day Personal Media Mixer and Confessional Cultural Variety Show with my friend Amanda. The presentations by Davey Rothbart of Found Magazine and others were hilarious. D. Rothbart read some of Found Magazine’s best love related founds, the funniest of which started off with “I decided to write you a letter because I didn’t think email would be safe…” Little did this person know his letter would reach the ears of a crowd of New Yorkers. Other sad/funny teenage love letters and poems were read, and Cassette from My Ex did a nice slideshow presentation of j-cards from cassette tapes. It brought me back to all of the days and nights I spent in high school making mix tapes. Oh Maxell XL II ‘s* how I miss you and the love that went into listening to each song on the mix the whole way through. Unfortunately the event was really packed and Housing Works did not provide enough seating. So after standing for two hours in high heels, Amanda and I left.

I just wanted to add a note about Davey Rothbart. I first found out about him on This American Life and I thought his stories were funny. Then I saw Found Magazine, and to be honest, I don’t really like it. It makes finding things less special. The whole point is that you find something strange and it becomes meaningful to you. I don’t really enjoy looking at things other people have found. But, maybe I’m just jealous that I didn’t come up with the idea first. Then I bought his book: The Lone Surfer of Montana Kansas, which I found disappointing and poorly written. He comes off much better on the radio and in person at a reading. But, before it sounds like I’m bashing Davey Rothbart I want to tell you that you must go to Apex Art this month, where he has curated a great show of videos called Kick My Heart’s Ass: Short Films About Love. I went to the gallery while wandering around SoHo earlier on V-Day and found it by accident. No pun intended!

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I was also able to attend the last hour of Cabinet Magazine‘s launch party last Wednesday for issue 32: Fire. You should definately get a copy, because my friend Dan Woerner has a collage about Plaice in the issue. Go Dan! The opening was full of drunk people by the time I arrived. It spilled out onto the cobblestone driveway and then we all got kicked out.

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Unfortunately I missed the event for A Public Space at The Kitchen and The Mardi Gras Desk Set Fundraiser at Daddy’s Bar last night. I was at Light Industry for an amazingly magical evening of films by Jennet Thomas and Jim Trainor. Jim Trainor has been a longtime love of mine, but Jennet Thomas’s work was completely new. Now I am obsessed and I can’t wait to see everything she has ever made. I hope The Desk Set Party was fun. If you went, let me know how it was.

*(oh and this!)

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