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Rockefeller Artists in Television; Violence Sonata; Stan Vanderbeek's Violence Sonata

Part of New Television Workshop.

12/31/1969

Stan Vanderbeek's "Violence Sonata" mixes live studio action and a prerecorded video work to question violence, race relations, and man's ability to communicate at the beginning of the 1970's. This short excerpt features a man systematically destroying a piano with a pickaxe.


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Series
Rockefeller Artists in Television
Program
Violence Sonata
Title

Stan Vanderbeek's Violence Sonata

Series Description

The "Rockefeller Artists-in-Television" residency program was created to support artists working in television. It was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation from 1967 through 1970. It was replaced by "The WGBH Project for New Television." While some of the Rockefeller artists, such as Nam June Paik, were already very committed to the medium of video, others were coming to the medium for the first time or from a film background. Paik developed the Paik-Abe videosynthesizer, with Shuya Abe, while working as a Rockefeller artist (though additional funding for the synthesizer's construction was provided by WGBH). The device was used to generate special effects and color enhancements. Artists supported by this program included: Mary Feldhaus-Weber, Marie Cosindas, Lee Lockwood, Stan Vanderbeek, David Wheeler, Nam June Paik, Zone, Newton Wayland, Shoshana Dubiner, Theo Wolfe, Dick Bartlett, Tim Mayer, The Propositions, Tim Hunter, David Silver, and Jean Shepherd. Many of these artists worked collaboratively to create one or more works. Series release date: 1967

Program Description

Stan Vanderbeek’s “Violence Sonata” mixes live studio action and a prerecorded video work to question violence, race relations, and man’s ability to communicate at the beginning of the 1970’s. On channel 2, the original work created by Vanderbeek was shown. This includes archival film footage of the Ku Klux Klan, street scenes, images of outer space missions, riots, and so on. This imagery is manipulated and enhanced through overlays and color saturation. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is featured. A white man and black man repeat the phrases, “I want to like you” and “Adapt or die.” Raised fists are recurring images. On channel 44, sections of this work were played before a live studio audience who responded to the question “Can man communicate?” At home, viewers were also encouraged to call in their responses to this question and, despite the somewhat dire issues raised by the work, voted overwhelmingly in favor of man’s ability to communicate. In one image from the work, a black woman and a white man appeared in bed together. No credit information appears on the viewing copies.

See January 1970 Program Guide for cover story.

Asset Type

Clip

Media Type

Video

Subjects
Communication
Video art
Audience participation television programs
Vanderbeek, Stan
Violence
Race relations
Topics
Film and Television
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Citation
Chicago: “Rockefeller Artists in Television; Violence Sonata; Stan Vanderbeek's Violence Sonata,” 12/31/1969, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 11, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5F5B1B2C765D487BB5B8A1976FCE7C83.
MLA: “Rockefeller Artists in Television; Violence Sonata; Stan Vanderbeek's Violence Sonata.” 12/31/1969. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 11, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5F5B1B2C765D487BB5B8A1976FCE7C83>.
APA: Rockefeller Artists in Television; Violence Sonata; Stan Vanderbeek's Violence Sonata. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5F5B1B2C765D487BB5B8A1976FCE7C83
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