Steina and Woody Vasulka

Bohuslav Vasulka (Woody) was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, on January 20, 1937. In 1960, he settled in Prague and five years later immigrated to New York.

Steinunn Briem Bjarnadottir (Steina) was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, on January 30, 1940. In 1959, she settled in Prague. She had begun studying violin and musical theory in 1953 and continued her studies at the state conservatory in Prague from 1959 to 1963 and then with Theodore Pashkus, first in New York and then in Paris in 1967.

1960: Steina and Woody Vasulka met in Prague in 1960 and married in 1964.

1965: Woody begins making independent documentaries and also edits industrial films at Harvey Lloyd Productions (New York).

1966: at the request of architects Woods and Ramirez, Woody Vasulka collaborates on developing films designed for a multi-screen environment to be shown in the American Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal.

1968: Woody Vasulka conducts his first experiments with electronic images and puts aside cinematographic form in favour of video. From 1969 to 1971, with support from a Portapak mobile production unit, Steina and Woody Vasulka amassed video segments documenting the concerts and performances they attended at venues connected with New York's counterculture movement (Automation House, WBAI Free Music Store, Filmore East).

1971: To meet a need expressed by artists for a centre to produce and show electronic art, the couple, together with Andrea Manick, opened The Electronic Kitchen (later shortened to The Kitchen) in 1971 in what had once been the kitchen of the Mercer Art Center (New York, N.Y., United States). This artists run organization helped video makers and later musicians, dancers and performers operating outside the mainstream to create their work and present it at a venue that favoured discussion and experimentation. Steina and Woody Vasulka ran The Kitchen till 1973.

After moving to Buffalo in 1973, they were invited to develop the production lab of the Center for Media Study at the State University of New York (Buffalo, N.Y., United States), a research centre devoted to media theory and founded by Gerald O'Grady. Woody Vasulka became an associate professor there in 1974 and Steina in 1976. Both taught at the centre till 1979.

In 1977, Steina and Woody Vasulka produced a series of television programs for WNED-Channel 17 (Buffalo, N.Y., United States), that showcased the results of their experiments since the early seventies with electronic images.

From 1976 to 1980, Woody worked with Jeffrey Schier on building the Vasulka Imaging System or Digital Image Articulator, one of the first devices able to generate algorithm-based images and to convert them into analog signals.


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