The funny thing about videotapes is that no matter what the labels say, you still can never be completely sure of what you might find when you pop it into the deck (see Gearoid Dolan's Franklin Furnace "proposal" tape i.e. 80s porno "The Doorman Always Comes Twice"). As a student of Moving Image Archiving and Preservation at New York University, currently interning at Franklin Furnace and mining their moving image database, I've seen my fair share formats and descriptive information. Franklin Furnace Archives currently preserves and catalogues some 700+ videos which vary from event documentation, artist proposals, and random news clips and documentaries pertaining to the downtown performance scene and particularly the Art Wars of the early 1990s. While I considered myself to be relatively well-versed on performance art, particularly of the 1970s, I have come across a number of gems which have taken me completely by surprise, particularly works that were either peripheral to works in the Franklin Furnace Fund Program or were originally works-in-progress. To take a step back, a majority of my workday involves poring over the various events and moving image database records and reviewing videotapes from the collection to do basic quality control and to capture rich metadata. Of course, this means that I also get to bear witness to strange, subversive, playful, and just plain batsh*t material and some, frankly, have blown my mind. Unfortunately my knowledge at present is restricted to the VHS tapes in the D-F alphabetical ordering system, but here are some of the shining stars thus far (in my humble opinion).
© Andrea Darriau 1986
© Sue de Beer 1997
© 1992 Media Mystics
No documentation exists for these Franklin Furnace performances ("Booby Trapped for Revelations" or "M'elevasti!") the latter for which this video of performance excerpts served as a proposal. This definitely elicits a strong feeling of lack from within me, and ultimately I'm hungry to see more of this duo's work. If this proposal tape is any indication, the Franklin Furnace performance was truly jaw-dropping. I could derive little about the narrative arc of these particular works...but a rotating stage with torches, intermittent showers of white powder from the ceiling, and a doom score by Circle X are all I need to give this work a major thumbs up.
Finley with Franklin Furnace Director Martha Wilson
and installation view of "A Woman's Life Isn't Worth Much"
© Franklin Furnace 1990
© Western Project
The Logos Duo
|© The Logos Duo|
-Joey Heinen, Spring 2013