Woody and Steina Vasulka, Don Foresta, Christiane Carlut

A conversation, Paris, Saturday 5, December 1992

Christiane Carlut: How did you get into video?

Woody Vasulka: When I arrived in New York in the mid-sixties, I edited films for living. I hung around people who made exhibits, World's Fair types, and ended up cutting multi-screens. Through my colleagues at Harvey Lloyd Productions I stumbled over a small format video recorder. Harvey had bought the whole rig for his new project and Sony at that time gave everybody who bought it a paper saying, "You are a new breed of inventors". Sony was aiming at the industrial world; they had no notion of the independent, the individual, the artist. This was 1969 in New York City. "Television as a Creative Medium" had just opened at Howard Wise Gallery. My co-workers, and I went to see it. It changed my life.

S.V. You got me to see it too...

Don Foresta: It was uptown, 56th or 57th street?

S.V. 57th.

D.F. Had he exhibited painters before?

S.V. Possibly, but at the time we met him, it was all advanced technology: magnetic forces, lights and computers. It puzzles me still today, why Howard?

W.V. Anyway, we just went with this fantasy. Harvey Lloyd invited Frank Gillette. Frank talked and talked for hours. The next day Harvey Lloyd had it all transcribed and prepared for the American Can Company presentation. He just ripped Frank's rap right off. Harvey was so excited and well prepared that he got the job. That was a break-through. He immediately bought a lot of 1/2-inch equipment and we started to play.
Frank got, of course, quite outraged by the Harvey's scoop. The following day a brand new company was formed. "Information Structures" (a typical Gillette acronym) and a lawsuit was filed against the American Can Company. A sum of One Million Dollars was mentioned. This new alliance was remarkable: John Reilly of Global Village, Ira Schneider of the Raindance, Paul Ryan and Frank. At least for a while it seemed they could suspend all their differences. But here I have no data; I was a complete outsider then. I have no idea how it all ended.
Shortly thereafter the video community went through its first public fall out. It was over New York State Council on the Arts funding. All the groups were bitterly divided and suspicious of each other. This was my first encounter with

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