1 videocassette of 1 (U-matic) (45 min.) : sound, color ; 3/4 in.
The Commission is a narrative in operatic form that blends video effects with electronically manipulated sound. Based on the real-life drama of 19th century composer, Niccolo Pagnini, and his contemporary, Hector Berlioz, the work addresses the exploitation of genius, the artist as tragic hero, and the historical exploration of Romanticism.
Woody Vasulka was born Bohuslav Peter Vasulka in Brno, Czechoslovakia in 1937. He studied film at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In 1965 he and his wife, Steina, moved to New York where worked as a freelance editor for various large format screen projects. In 1969 he began working with the half-inch video "portapak" and soon left film to pursue working with electronic media. He and his wife collaboratively produced a pioneering body of work in the 1970's, earning them prestigious awards and international recognition. In 1971 they co-founded The Kitchen, a major alternative exhibition and media arts center in New York.
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Ernest Gusella (Nicolo Paganini), Robert Ashley (Hector Berlioz).