General Idea: Films and Videos, 1969–85
Introduced by AA Bronson
Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
Includes the following films:
God Is My Gigolo
1969/70. Canada. Directed by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal. General Idea’s first collaborative project is this 16mm film, here beautifully restored, but missing its sound track. General Idea’s extended family make appearances in this epic poem of a young woman’s voyage to sexual fulfillment. Key influences were the Kuchar Brothers and the French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague). 30 min.
Double Mirror Video
1971. Canada. Directed by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal. A conceptual self-portrait using two mirrors and a Sony portapak. 5 min.
1977. Canada. Directed by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal. Produced for television broadcast by OECA TV, Toronto. From 1971 on, all of General Idea’s videos were conceptualized as television broadcasts. Pilot is the first actually made for television though, and became a late night cult hit on Canadian educational television in the late seventies. It is conceived as a “pilot” for a non-existent series, and acts as an introduction to General Idea. Much of it was shot with super-8 film, only the head-and-shoulder segments being recorded in the television studio. 29 min.
1979. Canada. Directed by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal. Produced for television broadcast by de Appel, Amsterdam. In 1979, we were invited to Amsterdam by de Appel to produce the first of a series of artists’ made-for-television videos. The Stedelijk Museum gave us a small studio, as well as our first museum exhibition. We lived there for three months, meeting the local artists, many of whom (Marina Abramović, for example) made cameo appearances in the finished video. Test Tube used the language of television, including the visual formats of talk show, soap opera and so on, but also the chromatic language of television, to construct a portrait of the artist. Portending the future, Test Tube presented the artist in a context of the marketplace: dealers, sales, museum shows, and Documenta. Dutch television refused to air the completed work, because it “looks too much like television,” but it went on to be broadcast in Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S. 28 min.
1982. Canada. Directed by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal. Produced for CBC Television by Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon. A more ethereal view of the artist as “lunatic poodles”, receiving their inspiration from the night. Black and white views are excerpted from our first film God Is My Gigolo. 10 min.
Shut the Fuck Up
1985. Canada. Directed by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal. Produced for television broadcast by Talking Back to the Media, Amsterdam. Conceived as a sequel to Test Tube, and once again produced fro Dutch television, Shut the Fuck Up again presents the three artists of General Idea on the artist’s relation to the media. We appropriated edited versions of popular media as samples from which to draw our subject matter: a B movie, a television show, and a made-for-television music spectacular. In the end, our message to the media is “Shut the Fuck Up”—or is it? 14 min.
Jorge, Felix, and I lived and worked together under the name of “General Idea” from 1969 through 1994, when Felix and Jorge both died, bringing our experiment in collaboration to an end. Looking back over our life together, I realize that much of our work was a kind of self-portraiture, a picturing of ourselves in a semi-fictitious narrative as whom we felt we really were. Especially in our film and video work, this queer vision is central.
In the Film exhibition Queer Cinema from the Collection: Today and Yesterday
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