Dara Birnbaum – Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978)
This video piece shows the constant transition from the Superhero’s alias Diana Prince into Wonder Woman herself. By isolating and repeating the moment of transformation – spinning figure, arms outstretched.
The visual aesthetic of the piece is simply a beautiful kaleidoscope of colours and forms for the eyes, especially for for those who havent really heard of HD, 3D or Jackson Pollock. Dana Birnbaum was thought to make this video to be seen as if it was a moving canvas whist offering a reconstructed vision of images by involving a panel of repetitions, interruptions, rhythms, sounds and colours.
In the context of the 1970s, the piece aims to denounce the disparity between the genders. Wonder woman, the main subject matter, is a POP culture symbol who throughout the years became an iconic symbol. Other then being pro-america (eagle screech!) She had evolved into an important symbol of the feminist movement, which Dara Birnbaum was a part of. Thus simply put, using Wonder Woman as a subject matter was a representation of the emergence of women in active roles.
However to me, what was most interesting about this piece is that it is one of the pioneers of a video appropriating imagery directly from another source (television) which perhaps was an way to dissect or reinterpret the language (of television).
In this case, Dana created a piece of pop culture out of finished works/videos. Who knew that even up till today, this was not only relevant but still immensely popular and practiced extensively amongst the populace.
In short this piece was the grandmother to all youtube mashups.
Here’s one i like.