Village, Videofreex, and People's Video Theater, and then there was Howard. Of course, it was a great relief to talk to Howard, because he seemed so benevolent and unselfish in comparison 41
Perception initially received funds for equipment, to conduct programs at a space called the Electronic Kitchen at Mercer Arts Center (later, the Kitchen) established by the Vasulkas and Andres Mannik, and to fund individual work, primarily that of Gillette and Siegel. As the Vasulkas became more involved in their own work and the Kitchen,42 other artists in Perception-which soon consisted of Gillette, Siegel (peripherally), Juan Downey, Andy Mann, Ira Schneider, and Beryl Korot-pushed to get editing equipment in 1972. As Wise tells the story:
We got a grant from NYSCA for a deck and a little editing set up in our office. It didn't work out very well because they were in and out at all hours of the night, and artists are not particularly known for their care of an environment, particularly an office where you have to keep a little order. Andy Mann, who knew a lot about the technology, was willing to keep the equipment in his apartment, but then he was interrupted at all hours of the night. That's when they came to me and said, "How about getting us an editing facility? We were notified that we had to move [in 1973), and we came to 84 Fifth Ave. and designed the facility so that it can be used at night, because you can have access to the editing facility without going through the office.43
The Avant-Garde Festival was the other major project funded by EAI in the early 1970s. The festivals, begun in 1963 by Charlotte Moorman and several other avant-garde composers, were unconventional gatherings of artists involved in performance, intermedia, dance, music, and sculpture. Each year the event grew in size and notoriety. Moorman supported the festivals with artists" donations of time and materials and contributions from businesses. She recalls meeting Wise for the first time in the late '60s when he and Barbara traveled to Rhode Island to see her and Paik perform. She describes Wise as a father figure immensely supportive of her work. Wise was impressed by Moorman's ability to surmount all obstacles in producing her events, and he began helping her with the festivals in 1970: getting grants, helping with management, providing legal advice as well as the services of his lawyer, going to meetings with her, and lending his influence. He also helped to bring video into the festival. The 1971 festival was held at the 69th Regiment Infantry Armory, and included premieres of the Paik/Abe and Siegel synthesizers, Video Ferris Wheel, by Shirley Clark, Video Kinetic Environment, by the Vasulkas, and videotapes by Douglas Davis, Ken Dominick, Ralph Hocking, Tambellini, and the Videofreex. In 1972, the festival was held aboard the Alexander Hamilton Hudson Riverboat at South Street Seaport, and included an even longer list of video artists, including Downey, Gillette, Mann, and Shigeko Kubota.
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