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City Archives

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"City Archives" was written and directed by Richard Foreman, founder and director of the Ontological Hysteric Theater. He serves as the narrator for this work, discussing the power of "the foreign" and images, talking directly into a microphone in a purposely stilted manner and addressing questions to the viewer. A sort of classroom overpopulated by adults sets the stage for the work. Phrases are written and erased on a blackboard, and women gaze out a window, physically supporting planks of wood. The cast gathers around the makeshift bedside of a woman and wanders through what appears to be a library. The performers appear in a small garden and at a movie theater, speaking only to occasionally echo Foreman's remarks and with elaborately choreographed movements and stillnesses. Foreman's text questions strategies for documenting experience, the notion of place and a city, and the process of writing. Produced by the Minnesota Public Programming Corporation. Directed by Richard Foreman.

Originally created with the support of the Walker Arts Center, "City Archives" was broadcast as an episode of the WNET Television Laboratory's series "Video/Film Review," ca. 1979. At WGBH, it was broadcast as part of "Artist's Showcase."

"Artist's Showcase" was a series designed to showcase video art and experimental work from WGBH. The program ran on Sunday evenings at 11 P.M., from the fall of 1976 through 1982. In the early 1970's, "Artist's Showcase" was the only consistent broadcast outlet for many of the Workshop productions. Most materials of broadcast quality created at WGBH in the mid-1970's were shown as part of this series. Additionally, earlier video art experiments and segments of related shows, such as "Mixed Bag" or "What's Happening Mr. Silver" were broadcast under these auspices. This series was also a broadcast outlet for a handful of works by video artists that were not created at WGBH but only acquired for this purpose. Some compilation reels showing highlights of Workshop activity were also broadcast.
Drama, Experimental theater, Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, Foreman, Richard, 1937-
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