Woody Vasulka

The Art of Memory


Werk - The Art of Memory (Ausschnitt / excerpt)
Artist / Artist group
Woody Vasulka
The Art of Memory
video, Analog video
Material / Technique
U-Matic, color, mono
Dimensions / Duration

“I am a war child; I was born just before the European conflict began in 1937.” [1]

(Woody Vasulka, 1998)

The video work »Art of Memory« consists of a series of overlapping metaphorical images which show the viewer many of the defining and, at times, catastrophic moments of the twentieth century: World War II, the atom bomb, the Spanish Civil War and the Russian Revolution. Today, these images make up part of our collective memory, and Vasulka manages to connect each of these fragmented and dispersed memories through the medium of video. Using digital and analog instruments, the artist transforms documentary photographs and clips from newsreels into active, three-dimensional forms appearing against the backdrop of the landscapes of the American Southwest.

Vasulka brings together image technologies from the present with mnemonics techniques of antiquity and the middle ages, in which individual memories are allocated a fixed place in a fictive or physical space so that they can be recalled at any time.

With »Art of Memory« Vasulka creates a moving and dynamic “panorama of memory” [2], a monument to the traumatic events of the twentieth century.

[1] Woody Vasulka, “A Lecture Delivered at NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo, September 13, 1998,” in: Buffalo Heads: Media Study, Media Practice, Media Pioneers 1973–1990, exhib. cat., eds., Woody Vasulka and Peter Weibel, (Cambridge: MIT Press; Karlsruhe: ZKM | Karlsruhe, 2008), pp. 392–99, here p. 392.

[2] Rudolf Frieling, “Siemens-Medienkunstpreis 1995: The Vasulkas,” in: MultiMediale 4: das Medienkunstfestival des ZKM Karlsruhe, exhib. cat., ed., Heinrich Klotz (Karlsruhe: ZKM | Karlsruhe, 1995), p. 94.

Author: Jessica Janeiro Obernyer

About the artist/s