Talking Heads


Flaxton, Terry


  • Penny Dedman, VIDA, Tony Cooper

  • This work is part of the rewind archive.

    Duration: 20m 4s

    Year: 1979

    Media types:


    By 1978, Flaxton had become highly critical of the media and sought to create a didactic no-nonsense critique of the way the media generates bias against what it has been set up to work against. This work comes to the conclusion that the media itself is society’s basic governing value system reflecting and propagandising for the values of society – in a way similar to the way society does so in George Orwell’s 1984 (an issue returned to by Flaxton as part of Triple Vision in the 1983/84 work Prisoners). Talking Heads won 4th Prize in the 1979 Tokyo Video Festival. – LUX

    A work that meant lot to me was a piece called Talking Heads. I believe in the collaborative process, so that’s why I will use the word “we.” In that case
    there was a group of 3 of us called VIDA, and we were called VIDA because it’s a declining of, ‘video’. I had gone to college because I saw an advert saying “Do you want to learn video?” and I didn’t really know what it was. We were called VIDA because it’s an imperative form. It means ‘look at this’ or ‘look’. Anyway, we made a piece called Talking Heads. Basically, I got very angry in a constructive way. I got very angry about the way that we were relating to the media, or the way the media was relating to us. It was the time in the 70’s after McLuhan, Edmund Carpenter and Stafford Beer, to start taking apart and
    to start articulating, what it was that the media was doing. I suppose it reached back into Cinema Verite, when you first got a camera off some sticks and waved it around in a real environment. It suddenly had a relevance to the relationship of the media to the subject. Tony Cooper and Penny Dedman, they were the other two members in VIDA. Tony’s proposition was the documentary. The only thing that documentary documents, is the attitude of the maker to the subjects at the time of making. So, the notion of Talking Heads was to take apart the gaze that’s looking. Given that we were the gaze as well as the gazed at, Talking Heads did that work. That’s what it was. We put it into the 4th Tokyo Video Festival and got our first award for that. That was why it was a critical thing.
    Basically, VIDA was doing all the groundwork for a later grouping of people, one of whom was Penny Dedman and the third was Kez Cary, and then Renny Bartlett. They became Triple Vision.  REWIND Interview


    updated April 2022 SP

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