Abstract- Lenka Dolanova

What Were They Cooking in There? Cooks, Their Kitchen and the Taste of Fresh Video

In 1971 the Vasulkas founded the electronic media theatre 'The Kitchen'. It was one of the first places devoted to video, and its basic idea was a total openness towards everything new and inspiring, an intermedia space of which the aim was to stress the alliance of video with the other arts, especially electronic music. Video creation was at that time at the periphery of art activities. The Kitchen space was a certain challenge to existing institutions and structures of thought from an alternative, institutional as well as 'spiritual' (op)position: operating within the limits of the art world provided makers a free space for creation which did not necessarily have to be defined as art. The Kitchen circle largely consisted of tool-makers in the tradition of bricoleurs using whatever technology is at hand, adapting it, and transforming for different creative purposes. These custom-made tools were specially constructed or adjusted, made-to-measure directly for artists’ experimenting expanding the possibilities of industrially produced equipment. The idea of sharing ideas and equipment resulted in emergence of new kinds of communities, which in their international character and interconnectedness preceded today internet-based communities. The Kitchen had a form of creative participation of allied groups of creators, and its concept was close to the anarchist ideas about alternative societies. The concepts of alternative societal organisations are gaining a new value today, presented in activities such as Open Source or media democracy movements. The desire of early Kitchen practitioners to expand the sphere of knowledge via the dialogue with technology has a strong political potential which has to be continuously revived by way of making the new equipment accessible for artistic use.