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PRINT March 2009

Steina

IN THE 1960S, Jonas Mekas wrote that video artists should make silent video, just as “serious” film should ideally be silent. But I thought this was strange, because video was not simply a little stepchild of film. It was an entirely different field, with divergent views of the relationship between sound and image: We might even treat the visuals as a byproduct of the audio, since we could process both components as electronic signals.

There has to be equity between the two elements of audio and video. This credo informed my earliest efforts in developing and adapting video-production tools—as when my husband, Woody Vasulka, and I first used the Putney sound synthesizer for electronic image and sound compositions in the late ’60s. However, we specifically did not want to throw arbitrary songs or classical music over videos. This was frequently done in Europe at the time; artists would make

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