Friday, June 15, 2012

Former Member Mary Curtis Ratcliff Donates Prints to Preserve Videofreex Archive

In 1969, CBS started a secret pilot project to help bring stories from the cultural and political revolution into the newsroom, stories that were typically ignored by the three networks. They hired ten hippies to document the counterculture.

CBS had bankrolled the young men and women with what was then cutting edge technology: portable video. With it, the group traveled the country getting footage the network could not access, including interviews with Abbie Hoffman and Black Panther Fred Hampton. The documentary this group of young filmmakers produced was decades ahead of its time — but CBS decided not to use it and fired them. Since CBS considered the equipment to be worthless as well, they let the group keep it. Thus Videofreex, a pioneering video collective, was born.

At first, the Videofreex lived in a Soho loft. But in 1971, they moved to a rambling farmhouse in the Catskills where they started the first pirate television station in the country, Channel 3 Lanesville TV. It was on the air five years and became a model for Public Access Stations across the country.

Unfortunately, video has a much shorter life than film and the Videofreex work is quickly deteriorating. Two filmmakers, Jenny Raskin and Jon Nealon, are committed to restoring it and creating a documentary, "which tells the story of the most radical video collective of the 1960s and 1970s."  

As one of the ten Videofreex members, visual artist Mary Curtis Ratcliff has donated several works of art to the Kickstarter fundraising efforts.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Karl Nussbaum Performs "Hilbert Space" at VCCA

In the world of pure mathematics, the theoretical space of unlimited dimensions is known as Hilbert space. Inspired by his mathematician father who specialized in Hilbert space, Karl Nussbaum created this mesmerizing film installation for his MFA thesis project, and staged it in the barn at VCCA on May 25, 2011.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Musik und Kunst (Music and Art)

A perfect mix! The paintings in this jazz music video are from Christine Rieck-Sonntag's cycle, Ein Schluck Wasser (A Sip of Water). Sonntag der 6 is performed by Stefan Amannsberger on guitar, and composer Richard Köll on clarinet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Agadir Forum of the Novel in Morocco Directed by VCCA Fellow

The second annual Agadir Forum in the city of Agadir, Morocco, was held May 25-28. The Forum celebrated the fantasy novel and honored Moroccan and Arab novelists. Organized by the Southern Writers Association, the director was Abdel Aziz Errachidi, who was Fellow at VCCA last summer as one of the Hay Festival's Beirut39 writers.

The event attracted diverse and esteemed writers from Morocco and all over the Arab world. They discussed fantasy writing in their culture, its manifestations in the literary text and its impact on the Arab world.

The photo above is from the inaugural Agadir Forum.

Monday, June 4, 2012

VCCA and Sweet Briar College Enter Long-Range Planning Process

After decades of informal discussions, VCCA and Sweet Briar College have decided to study the various possibilities of a permanent home for VCCA.
VCCA has been leasing Mt. San Angelo from Sweet Briar since 1977. Both institutions have agreed to actively pursue a long-term solution to the current annual lease renewals. The timing is mutually beneficial in that VCCA is embarking on a new Strategic Plan, while Sweet Briar is implementing its Plan for Sustainable Excellence.
The opportunities to explore include, but are not limited to, the following options:
  • VCCA purchases the Mt. San Angelo property and remains there
  • VCCA and SBC enter into a lease-to-purchase agreement for the Mt. San Angelo property and VCCA remains there
  • VCCA moves to the Sweet Briar College campus
  • VCCA moves to another non-SBC location
This is a long-range planning process, one that will take place over the course of several years. VCCA Fellows, friends and supporters will be invited to share their point of view to help inform the process.
After gathering detailed information on each option, the VCCA Strategic Planning Committee will recommend to the Board of Directors an option to pursue. Subsequent actions will be based on the option selected.
VCCA expects the current lease to remain in effect until a final decision is made and achieved.
For 35 years, the histories of Sweet Briar College and VCCA have been richly intertwined. This process will be a continuation of the teamwork we have always enjoyed.

We plan to establish a blog to keep you informed about this process entitled, Securing a Permanent Space for VCCA. Until then, please feel free to leave comments on this blog entry.

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Photo of VCCA entrance (above) by Bernard Handzel, photographer Fellow, NY

Friday, June 1, 2012

VCCA Needs Your Support!

"This year, VCCA is struggling in a challenging economy that is notoriously hard on the arts. As of today, we have less than a month to obtain approximately $100,000 needed for our annual fund drive—those essential funds that keep the wheels turning: utilities, maintenance, groceries, staff—and we are less than 50% of the way there. Your gift does make a difference. Please help support VCCA. Thank you!"  
                         —VCCA Executive Director Greg Smith


Above photo of the studio barns by VCCA Fellow Bernard Handzel, photographer, New York