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Vertical Blanking Studio with Michael J. Masucci and ia Kamandalu (Kim McKillip), 1989
There never would have been a CyberSpace Gallery without the creation and success of Vertical Blanking. Their efforts solidified the connection between the computer art community and EZTV.
Vertical Blanking was an experimental music and video art duo, comprised of Michael J. Masucci and ia Kamandalu (aka Kim McKillip). The duo was known for creating complex DIY works with higher production values than their budgets might suggest. They created every aspect of their work - the writing, music, photography, editing, setting/lighting, and costumes - themselves. The duo were among the earliest artists to produce true ‘desktop video’, combining analog video tape decks with desktop computers in hot-rodded rigs which they engineered and system-designed.
Without question, Masucci and Kamandalu were the strongest advocates for an adoption of computer-based production within EZTV’s core group.
The collaboration began in 1986 when the two artists created “Lemuria”, a 20-minute visual music project that became one of EZTV’s most iconic works. It was screened numerous times on a West Hollywood’s local TV channel and sub-sequentially became EZTV’s most successful home VHS offering.
In 1989, they created “Theater of Dreams (I Thought This Is What You Wanted)” based on a poem written by Kamandalu. This, as with Lemuria, instantly became one of EZTV’s most recognized works, premiering at the American Film Institute’s video festival and going on to be included in a number of groups shows such as the seminal exhibition Trancesex, an exhibition at the Mondrian Hotel that included artists Andy Warhol, Paul McCarthy, and others.
Among the most recognized and acclaimed of all the EZTV original projects, this 1989 experimental short video combines surrealistic imagery and evocative music with third-wave feminist perspective. Based on a poem by ia Kamandalu (Kim McKillip), this innovative project was among the very first 'desktop videos', created with a Video Toaster, music synthesizer, and samplers.
The video premiered at the American Film Institute Video Festival and was seen in numerous screenings, art galleries, and academic and professional conferences
In 1991, “Deposition” premiered at the CyberArts International Conferences. The following year, for the third and final CyberArts Conference, Vertical Blanking collaborated with choreographer Zina Bethune to produce and perform a live multimedia production as part of the closing evening to the conference.
Created for less than $400, the Vertical Blanking duo produced this critically acclaimed and pioneering desktop video, which premiered at the 1991 CyberArts International Conference and then later to the general public at LA FreeWaves.
Dramatic and surrealistic, this short was immediately hailed by a diverse group that included the independent film scene, performance and video artists, and the UFO community.
Before the television show "X-Files" aired and before the alleged UFO crash at Roswell became pop culture trivia, this video was among the first artworks to explore the subject of not only Roswell, but alleged alien abductions and the even more controversial theory of hybridization. This was among several projects, both video as well as live multi-media, that Vertical Blanking produced on the subject of UFOs.
In preparation for this work, Vertical Blanking did extensive research into evidence of multi-generational abduction experiences on women.
Vertical Blanking continued to produce video, music, and live performance events together until the death of EZTV founder John Dorr in 1993. As a result, Michael J. Masucci dedicated his entire focus into saving EZTV and thus, soon ended Vertical Blanking as an art making group. ia Kamandalu continued her music and went on to record CDs and work with a number of music and performance art groups.
Without their combined efforts, it is likely that EZTV never would have survived even a few months beyond the death of John Dorr.
As staff editors and videographers, the duo became the primary resource of EZTV’s day-to-day revenue. The two together accounted for about 70% of all income that EZTV acquired by the late 1980′s.