DECADES: From Portapak to Vimeo


Chip Lord will describe how he moved from architecture to video with the group Ant Farm and then show and discuss his video installation work from three decades: 1980s; 1990s; and twenty-first century. Trained as an architect, Lord co-founded Ant Farm in 1968 as alternative practice. Their interest in media led them to purchase a Sony Portapak in 1971 and they explored video’s relationship to television. Lord will describe the context of working between documentary and pure art world experiments, the distance between video and film in the 1970’s, and the evolution of the artists’ work in the 1980s, and video as sculptural installation in North America. He will be showing excerpts from the following works:

Media Burn Ant Farm
1975 | 23’

Media Burn by Ant Farm began as a didactic media performance against broadcast TV staged before a live audience. It was edited in a university broadcast programme and distributed as both a postcard and video art work.

Easy Living
1984 | 18’
In collaboration with Mickey McGowan

Easy Living depicts life in an American suburb enacted with toy cars and doll houses but videotaped in a hyper realistic style. It won the Work of Excellence award at the 8th Tokyo Video Festival.

Picture Windows
1990 | 19’
video sculpture - three channels of video
In collaboration with Mickey McGowan

Picture Windows is a video sculpture with three channels of video displayed in the windows of a large child’s playhouse. Commissioned by SFMOMA for a 1990 exhibition, the video uses dolls and toys to animate a dark vision of the suburban life in America. An earlier collaboration by Lord and McGowan was Easy Living (1984).

Fashion Zone
1992 | 6’

Interactive video installation, uses footage shot in Tokyo, Japan and recreates the experience of a TV ad for Seibu Department Store by putting the viewer in the position of a Godzilla like model. Shown at The Rena Bransten Gallery, 1992 and The New Museum, 1993. The accompanying single channel work is The Aroma of Enchantment, a video essay.

Movie Map (San Francisco)
2003 | 9’

The Movie Map project contains photo diptychs of San Francisco movie theater and a nine minute video piece. The six diptychs each pair a photograph of a movie theatre with a digitally composited collage that brings the fictional space of the cinema into the public space of the street. (Chip Lord)

Awakening from the 20th Century
1999 | 35’

Presents San Francisco as a city where the virtual and the real co-exist and asks the question: Will the computer replace the automobile?

To & From LAX
2010 | 6’

Is a public video artwork commissioned by Los Angeles World Airports and the L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs. It displays 25 channels of video to make a portrait of the world-wide network of air terminals as a shared public space. Arriving international passengers can find a screen showing the airport city they have travelled from. The single channel work IN TRANSIT (2011) is also playing in BIM 2016.

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