Lynda Benglis (b. 1941)
Mumble (1972)
In Mumble, Benglis investigates an aesthetic of distraction that could only have emerged from the nascent field of video art. The piece portrays a monitor, and on it the image of another monitor, containing yet a third: recordings nested within recordings. Fixed cameras are trained on static poses by Benglis' family and friends (including artist Robert Morris, sipping wine and smoking a cigar); the action comes from the mechanism of the taping itself: abrupt, in-camera editing that shuffles characters disjunctively. The soundtrack is a chorus of voices: ruminations from those on-screen (from "production is the object of labor" to Morris' musings on psychoanalysis) as well as Benglis' own commentary, which mixes observations on her surroundings ("the phone is ringing") with deadpan repetition of what we hear from the other characters. With its portrayal of video en abyme, Mumble suggests video recursion as a metaphor for consciousness. -- EAI

This title is available for exhibitions, screenings, and institutional use through Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NY. Please visit the EAI Online Catalogue for further information about this artist and work. The EAI site offers extensive resources for curators, students, artists and educators, including: an in-depth guide to exhibiting, collecting, and preserving media art; A Kinetic History: The EAI Archives Online, a collection of essays, primary documents, and media charting EAI's 40-year history and the early years of the emergent video art scene; and expanded contextual and educational materials.