Contact Piece: A Nude Model (Donna)
1976, 30:00 minutes, B&W, English
For the duration of the tape, I moved a video camera over a nude woman's body, keeping the lens mounting in constant contact with her skin while she moved in various ways to expose different parts of her body to it. The camera used was a Sony Portapak, which came attached by a cable to an open reel-to-reel deck that can be seen from time to time in the tape. The camera was fitted with small wide-angle lens that was stopped down to bring the skin into as sharp a focus as possible. The intensity of lighting needed to overcome the stopping down was achieved by having studio lights full on and by having a technician (who can also be glimpsed from time to time) hold a strong light close to the lens of the moving camera.
The camera twists and turns, tilting the gravitational field or completely inverting it. The resulting images sometimes seem to resemble landscape forms more than the human body, though at other times facial features, fingers, toes or nipples are distinctly identifiable. The light is reduced as the camera runs through Donna's hair. When the camera is inadvertently exposed directly to one of the lights, burn marks in the vidicon tube leave tracks on the screen that never completely fade. The camera had a microphone built in near the lens and it was intended the soundtrack would emerge from the sound of the lens mounting scraping over Donna's skin; however, what can be heard seems to relate more to the creaking of the cable and the booming of the automatic gain control, which could not be switched off. The piece ended when the half-hour tape ran out.
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