Breder regularly returned to previous works and themes by reworking and reprocessing footage used in other pieces. This piece translates My Television Dictionary: The Drill through digital filtering.
TRT 01:09:30 | 1969-2014
The Video Data Bank is pleased to announce the acquisition and distribution of the moving image works of internationally exhibited artist Hans Breder (1935-2017). In a career spanning six decades, Breder’s sensibility was expressed in and between painting, sculpture, photography, music, installation, video and film--each expression an invitation to subversive liminality and momentary transcendence. Breder’s work dissolves boundaries and manipulates perception, sometimes enticing, sometimes shocking the observer to an experience of liminality from which a realm of pure possibility may emerge.
One of the first video artists whose work was included in three Whitney Biennials, Breder founded the Intermedia Program in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa in 1968 and directed it until his retirement as F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor in 2000. The internationally regarded program was built on Breder’s interdisciplinary inclination for intellectual and aesthetic collision.
The VDB has been working with Breder’s representative, Adam Burke (media artist and documentarian who worked as an assistant to Breder from 2014 to 2017), to preserve his titles and prepare them for distribution. To celebrate the launch of the Hans Breder archive at VDB, Burke and the VDB team have selected this program for VDBTV of six titles as a representative introduction.
This interview with a Mexican squatter in Oaxaca, Mexico is an example of the genre that Breder conceptualized as “aesthetic ethnography.” This term refers to processes and form which attempt to illuminate people and cultures in specific historical moments and places through an aesthetic rather than a scientific methodology.
My TV Dictionary: The Drill is one of several video works Breder created by re-editing recorded footage from cable television movies. This video conveys the violent and sexist subtext of the 24/7 stream of cable television “and thus becomes a potent metaphor for our times” - Jon Hanhardt, 1987
In this video diary of Breder’s trip, the viewer is given an after-hours tour of the Soviet capital. The different segments include a daylight panorama of Red Square, a scene in which Breder is handed the phone by his Russian artist hosts, a walking tour precursor of My Body Sees You, an underground performance with gas flames in a glass column, the midnight changing of the guard at Red Square, and a hypnosis session with a psychic that ends with a close up of another Russian magician on television.