TV IN and TV OUT, 1972 (2 minute excerpt)



Color, sound, 10 min.

(2 minute excerpt)


TV In and TV Out is a situational videotape shot with two cameras and taped in front of a monitor. One performer (Suzanne Harris) couldn’t see her own image, while the second performer (Tina Girouard) was in the control room with Sonnier, although these positions change during the tape. The performer who is isolated from her own image and from the TV set is dependent upon the other, who has microphone contact with both the control room and the isolated performer, for information. The necessity for communication is intensified by the frequent switching of television stations, when one performer can respond to only audible cues.


The soundtrack includes the dialogue between the performers and Sonnier as they discuss the situation and respond to what they can see or hear of the TV programs. As in Sonnier’s other tapes, props such as light bulbs and a record disc are used. The objects within the video space are often manipulated as puns on the special effects generator. For example, a bulb is displayed through a piece of cardboard with a rectangular hole, mimicking the quadrants possible through special effects. The camera’s focus on the TV screen and then on a performer within quadrant parallels the commercials heard on the soundtrack. As in many of Sonnier’s other tapes, TV In and TV Out is unedited. However, there is much off-screen information that extends, by implication, the video space into the control room. Consequently, the tape is about modes of signaling and transmitting information, sometimes involving a psychological interchange between the performers as they continuously switch roles.