Window Project, 1991

By Billy Rubin
Published in Vox Vernacular
Feb. 25, 2014

Invited to produce a project at the ICA Boston in 1993, Oursler wanted to create a situation that would extend art outside the Institute and into the street. The front window of the ICA was ideally situated just above eye level on Boylston Street and was visible from a good distance. The act of converting a window into a screen aimed to counter the passivity of video viewing, breaching the wall between the street activities and those of the white box. A speaker was placed on the outside of the building allowing passersby to hear the soundtracks. 

This is the first of Oursler's many public art projects. He invited numerous artists to participate and produce tapes for this setting. His contribution comprised three videos featuring three colleagues and longtime collaborators: Model Release performed by Constance Delong; the PS Position or Be Very Careful performed by Kim Gordon; and Test performed by Karen Finley. At the time Oursler processed his video by means of an "electronic ground-down feedback process." This was achieved in the studio with a kind of rescanning: the entire video was played back and reshot numerous times off the television, allowing the image to electronically degrade and become luminously distilled. A nocturnal piece, the program ran from sunset to four in the morning. The work predates video billboards, but being advertisement scale it is interchangeable with this type of signage.