Joan Jonas approaches video as a drawing tool, a mirror, and a framing device. Since 1968, she has used video and performance to explore ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the archetypal authority of objects and gestures. With her influential 1976 work, I Want to Live in the Country (And Other Romances) Jonas nimbly structures an elliptical narrative that unmistakably establishes her voice and visual lexicon.
In Richard Prince's 1977 work Untitled (couple), difference mixes uncannily with sameness. We can't quite tell whether the shiny couple we see is human or android; their clothing seems curiously out of date. Why do they fascinate us? What is it about their typicality that produces an impression of strangeness?
The artistic map of Europe contains different degrees of detail and resolution. Italy, France, and Spain are presented in fine grain, but the Balkan peninsula is little more than a vague outline. England, Germany, and Scandinavia have many features filled in, but to the east of Germany things are blurred. Until recently, cities like Sofia, Odessa, Skopje, and Belgrade had next to no definition. Further to the East, Moscow comes into focus, but this is no compensation for the Baltics, sentenced for the last half-century to blank space.
In his 1971 short film, (nostalgia) , American artist and writer Hollis Frampton oveturned the conventional narrative roles of words and images. In his account of an artists's transformation from photographer to filmmaker, Frampton burns photographs he had taken and selected from his past along with one found photograph. A calm voice tells a story about an image, but the story is about the following image, not the one shown.
The fictitious hero of this 1984 installation is a lonely dreamer who develops an impossible project: to fly alone in cosmic space. But this dream is also an individual appropriation of a collective Soviet project and the official Soviet propaganda connected to it. Having built a makeshift slingshot, the hero apparently flies through the ceiling of his shabby room and vanishes into space. The miserable room and the primitive slingshot suggest the reality behind the Soviet utopia, in which where cosmic vision and the political project of the Communist revolution are seen as indissoluble.