A consciously derivative work, The Resurrection of Piss Christ is a direct response to the destruction of the original. Duplicating the same fate as its star subject, Immersion (Piss Christ) is subjected to the artificial immortality we now wield through the Internet. Our interconnectedness now transforms an act of destruction - through communication and distribution - into an act of preservation.
As a statement against fundamentalism, The Resurrection will fuel it.
As a statement against the commercial value of an intentionally contentious work, The Resurrection will feed and inflate it.
I denounce any act that attempts to silence an individuals thought or speech or expression. Simultaneously, I question the integrity of a work that provokes so ineloquently.
The Resurrection flaunts its infinite reproducibility. Coupled with my anonymity, it ignores the archaic mechanism upon which the art market balances itself.
The Resurrection exists beyond the marketplace. Do what you want with it.
This video was created with Paik-Abe raster manipulation unit, Brewster analog modular synthesizer, Hitachi vectorscope, Panasonic CCTV camera, Processing 1.2.1, Final Cut Pro. Produced at the Experimental Television Center.
What happened before YouTube?
It's a question we've addressed here many times before. Many different histories lead to our current moment of video sharing and DIY media-making -- some subcultural (the history of fandom and a range of other communities of practice which are generating new content), some economic, some technological. Lucas Hilderbrand, author of Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright, holds some critical pieces of the puzzle, writing with historiographical sophistication about the emergence of video as a technology and as set of cultural practices, about the debates it sparked especially around shifts in control over production and distribution, about the communities which formed around the sharing of tapes, and about how all of this looks forward to contemporary digital practices. It is a book which raises vital questions and provides a rich historical context for our current debates.
As someone who lived through the era when the VCR was launched, the book brought back many memories of things I had almost forgotten about the dramatic adjustments which the culture made to this transformative and transgressive technology. Working through the book for an interview, I was struck by the fact that I, like many other instructors, have had very little to say about videotape in my current course on new media and culture, something I will work on the next time I teach it.
Given my enthusiasm for this book, I was delighted to be able to interview Hilderbrand and share with you his own reflections on the ways the history of video can help us to understand some contemporary media developments.
The USB-harddrive hanging on the wall contains a collection of illegally downloaded files, all of which contain the words "Steal This..." within their titles. The accompanying text-file catalogues all of that media and illustrates the files' locations on my computer's harddrive.
-- STATEMENT FROM THE ARTIST
Originally founded in 1979 by Richard Fielding, Andrew Wright and Tom Ellard, Severed Heads was an electronic group based in Sydney. They used synthesizers, tape loops, and an array of electronics to yield a distinctive sound, one which could most easily be described as industrial music, which later developed into abstract pop. While the lineup changed over the years, Tom Ellard has been the main continuing force in the group, up until his announcement of its end in 2008. In 1983, Severed Heads began integrating live video in their performances, which became a mainstay in their work. This post collects videos of the group, the majority of which date from the early 1980s, and many of which document their use of video synthesizers. For more information about everything Severed Heads, check Ellard's official site.