Pop-Pop Video: General Hospital / Olympic Women Speed Skating, by Dara Birnbaum, 1980

Dara Birnbaum, Artist
Pop-Pop Video: General Hospital / Olympic Women Speed Skating , 1980

Single-channel video, color, sound
6:00 min.
Credit Line
Courtesy of the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. Video still courtesy of EAI

For her Pop-Pop Video series, first exhibited at the Kitchen in New York City in 1980, Dara Birnbaum edited together disparate broadcast footage into fast-paced single-channel videos that comment on the homogeneity of the televisual vocabulary. General Hospital / Olympic Women Speed Skating formally connects this Olympic sport's crossover technique with the reverse-angle shots employed during an emotional conversation between a male doctor and a female doctor on the daytime soap opera General Hospital. The unlikely and humorous combination of women's physical prowess and staged emotional distress points to the heightened drama often found on television. In these videos, Birnbaum selected paradigmatic television segments and used formal devices of television such as repetition, framing, intercutting, and slow motion in order to reveal a common arena of power, competition, drama, and violence.