Monodramas / Teleplays

18 /08 / - 07 / 11 / 1999
Exhibition / Screening

Monodramas - Stan Douglas / Teleplays - Samuel Beckett

Monodramas, (1991) laserdisc
Stan Douglas (C)

SWR TV Teleplays, (year) Video
Samuel Beckett

Screening: FILM, (1965 ) 16mm,
Dir. Alan Schneider Script: Samuel Beckett

Die Schatten, Dir.Samuel Beckett, SWR-TV production.


The "Monodramas" (1991), an early production of artist Stan Douglas (b.1960, Canada), were developed specifically for the parameters of TV, not video art. "Monodramas" extremely short vignettes were designed for the irregularities in TV programming time which leaves the chance space of small gaps occuring between program units. The unique character of these short television works can be seen complemented and informed by Douglas's curatorial work of the same time period: "Beckett Teleplays" (1988). This focused on the bard's work that specifically addressed the issue of how to produce for television and involved various TV channels including SWR Stuttgart.

The "Monodramas" and "Beckett Teleplays" can be considered to connect aspects of a Canadian post-studio tradition regarding the open definition of the 'artist as producer' with specific ongoing discourses on representation and identity politics linked to narrative in media.

The presentation of this selection from Douglas's early work occurs in context of the parallel haus.0 project on Jack Goldstein's productions. Goldstein's work is here considered in terms of a transition from the cultural ethos of the 70s to the 80s. In the mid-70s he stated a search for "a gap between Minimalism and Pop" and concentrated on registering via the figure of the artist, a subject set within a common, shared public space of society, traced through a philosophical syntax of absence/presence. That syntax is soon reformulated and a new position emerges, which takes Hollywood as a production model, with work that situated the subject on the borderline of desires linked to the '80s ideology of the spectacle and new technologies.

Douglas clearly formulates in his productions a position linked to the role of the artist as producer, and defines as well a syntax constituting and articulating culture and society in terms of difference and representation, where the notion of identity is constantly refracted through an engaged multi-cultural media perspective of the 90s.

If Goldstein endeavored to map out a new 'common' space drawn from the economy of the Hollywood spectacle, Douglas's early work sets a definition oriented on an everyday, national / public institution and its model of production: television. Both artists register their respective eras in terms of finding specific media production models and interfaces through which they are able to develop a viable contemporary syntax and expand the definition of artistic practice.