Proposal for a Library/Museum Exhibition of LITERARY VIDEOTAPES

Richard Kostelanetz has produced over a dozen videotapes that differ from other video in that their visual or aural content is predominantly, if not entirely, linguistic. These tapes can be divided into three groups: 1.) early works, including Three Prose Pieces (1975, 20'), Openings & Closings (1975, 56:10), Declaration of Independence (1979, 9:20), and Epiphanies (1980, 31:00), all of which are based upon prose texts of his. A retrospective videotape almost entirely about this work in the context of his SoHo studio, including his spoken commentary, is Video Writing (1987, 53:110). 2.) Recent works whose screen content is exclusively linguistic: Partitions (1986, 27:140), Kinetic Writings (1989, 22'), Video Strings (1989, 29:32), Stringsieben (1989, 12:00, in German), Turfs/Grounds/Lawns (1989, 23:00. (Two 60' tapes in progress, awaiting support sufficient to complete editing, are Video Poems and Video Fictions.) 3.) Recent works whose continuous abstract syntheses are a counterpoint to language-based electro-acoustic music: Invocations (19814, 61), The Gospels Abridged (1988, 62'), Two Sacred Texts (1988, 12'), Two Erotic Videotapes (1988, 56:10). It should be noted that one of the Sacred Texts, Praying to the Lord, is available in eight separate realizations, towards an eight-monitor installation, while five alternative versions of Invocations are also available, each beginning with a language family different from the English on the original: (a) Latin; (b) German; (c) Hebrew-Assyriac; (d) Italian-Yugoslav-Greek; (e) Swedish-Danish. Americas' Game (2000, 60') represents a new departure in having a representational image accompany an audiotape composition less of language as such than a fuller range of sounds, in this case those unique to baseball. These tapes are available on 3/4" U-Matic , 1/2" VHS cassettes, DVDs in the NTSC format, ideally for continuous viewing over a period of time. Those marked * have a hifi stereo soundtrack; those marked ** are best viewed over large-screen projection TV. Possible venues could include libraries as well as museums, as no other American author has worked as long or as often in video. Any institutions seriously wishing to mount this exhibition are advised to contact him. Thank you.