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Frames of Reference; Ros Barron

Part of New Television Workshop.


Part of the NTW Archive project dubbing.

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Frames of Reference
Ros Barron
Series Description

“Frames of Reference” was a series that began circa 1978. Half-hour shows were produced to showcase commissioned and already created works. It was around this time that the focus of the Workshop shifted, to concentrate more heavily on creating works for broadcast. During its time, “Frames of Reference” was the focus of the Workshop’s national arts programming effort. In an attempt to raise funds and foster collaboration, Workshop personnel approached and visited several public television stations nationwide. The major collaborative relationship was with WGBH’s “sister station,” WGBY (Springfield, Mass.). Among the featured artists were Meredith Monk, Remy Charlip, Trisha Brown, and Peter Campus. In 1981, “Frames of Reference” was packaged and offered to PBS, during what is known as “flex time” and was broadcast by WGBH, WNET (New York), and WGBY (Springfield, Mass.). “Frames of Reference” ended as a series ca. 1983, because of a lack of funding. Series release date: 1978

Program Description

The video is a compilation of works by painter and theater and video artist Ros Barron, whose involvement with New Television Workshop dates back to its inception. This compilation work was created for the series “Frames of Reference.” The works featured are an excerpt from the very early “Headgame,” the 1976 “Magritte sur la Plage,” and “Flowers.” Barron's own narration introduces the work, much of which employs collage techniques and gives insight into her process and goals in the medium of video. As she explains, her work investigates the concept of transformation. Both “Magritte sur la Plage” and “Flowers” take place at the ocean and have segments where plastic letters are arranged to spell words. In an excerpt from “Headgame,” a man is seated in front of a television set with psychedelic collage effects. This work is included in its entirety in “Zone in Three Parts.” “Magritte sur la Plage" has been cataloged separately. In “Flowers,” a black-and-white work set at the beach, a mysterious man in a dark overcoat stalks about and places a guitar case near the water's edge. A woman who has been running back and forth happens across the case, opens it, and uses the plastic letters it contains to spell "flowers," which she sounds out bit by bit verbally. The woman lies in the water with flowers on her chest, and the man in the overcoat continues his course at the beach.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Documentaries and factual works
Barron, Ros
Video art
Compilation films
Film and Television
Ros Barron (Producer)
Curran, Robert ()
Dewey, Kevin ()
Barron, Harris ()
Jackmouth, Christina ()
Chicago: “Frames of Reference; Ros Barron,” 04/30/1979, GBH Archives, accessed April 20, 2024,
MLA: “Frames of Reference; Ros Barron.” 04/30/1979. GBH Archives. Web. April 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Frames of Reference; Ros Barron. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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