Since 1978, Dara Birnbaum’s videotapes have focused on the relationship between post-war American society and technological developments in mass media. Her best-known and most iconic work from this period is Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman. The work shows typical excerpts from the American TV series of the same name. The video begins with a scene of a woman spinning around and, after a loud explosion, turning into the TV character Wonder Woman. This is followed by a series of new explosions as the woman turns into a superhero in different ways. Birnbaum herself said that in this well-known television series she identified the psychological desire of individuals to transform themselves according to a certain moral ideal. The artist also perceived the need to convert these psychological desires into a physical outward appearance. By isolating and repeating images from this commercial action series, Birnbaum created a critical commentary on the quick, flashing, edited television pictures.
© Dara Birnbaum/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Makers

Collection

Time-based media

Production date

1978/1979

Library

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Dimensions

5min.

Material

video installation, colour, sound

Object number

CA 171_159