Thirty-Four Years Later, the World's First VJs Recreate their Historic
Danceteria Video Lounge in NYU’s Bobst Library
Thirty-Four Years Later, the World's Earliest VJs Recreate their Historic Danceteria Video Lounge in NYU’s Bobst Library
New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections presents the GoNightclubbing Video Lounge, a multi-media installation curated by Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong paying tribute to the infamous Danceteria Video Lounge, which they created in 1980. The re-imagined Video Lounge installation celebrates Ivers and Armstrong’s work at the iconic Danceteria nightclub, where they pioneered the video DJ concept during the height of the punk rock era. The GoNightclubbing Video Lounge opens March 20, 2014 at 6pm, third floor, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, (at LaGuardia Place). [Subways A, C, E, B, D, F, M to West 4th Street; 6 line to Astor Place; R train to 8th Street].
The Video Lounge installation derives from Ivers’ and Armstrong’s GoNightclubbing Archive, part of the Fales Downtown Collection. Acquired by Fales in 2013, the Archive consists of video of 82 bands at 115 musical performances, 20+ interviews, photographs, video art, early music videos, posters, flyers, and video DJ sampler reels, all restored digitally and integrated with Ivers and Armstrong’s database of dates, locations, band lineups, set lists and other ephemera. The GoNightclubbing Video Lounge runs through May 30th.
“Pat and Emily documented New York’s punk rock scene better than anyone,” said Marvin J. Taylor, Head of Fales Library and Special Collections. “Their videos are of the best quality and the best bands. Danceteria was more than just a club, it was a gathering place for artists of all stripes in the exploding downtown scene. Recreating the Video Lounge at the Fales Library makes a statement about embodied archival practice, something we’re committed to with the Downtown Collection.”
In 1980, Danceteria was one of the hottest clubs in Manhattan – multiple floors of music, celebrities, and entertainment. The first Danceteria Video Lounge was designed by Ivers and Armstrong, video artists who programmed an eclectic mix of found footage, video art, early music videos, and musical performances.
Ivers and Armstrong were hired to take over an entire floor of the multi-level club, where they became the among the earliest to make video an ongoing feature in a nightclub, creating a series of kitschy suburban living rooms in which they narrowcast their own original archive of music performance, simulcast live band performances, and showcased the work of downtown artists like Keith Haring and John Sex.
"Our original Video Lounge placed viewers in the familiar coziness of a living room setting, then challenged them with unfamiliar, non-commercial content,” said Ivers. “As VJs, our programming was a mix of new music performances we had shot, a real departure from the popular sounds of disco which dominated the club scene at the time.”
‘We mixed in the work of downtown artists who had just begun exploring video as a form, as well as a potpourri of found footage that deconstructed accepted media iconography in an ironic way,” continued Armstrong. “The Video Lounge was much like today’s YouTube, with its mix of seemingly random video clips that somehow make sense to the modern media sensibility. Revisiting the Gonightclubbing Video Lounge in 2014 puts today’s viewers back on the sofas to watch content, sometimes with strangers, but in a public setting, disconnected from the singularity of their computers.”
The programming included early music videos and Ivers and Armstrong’s footage of live performances by such bands as the Dead Boys, Iggy Pop and Richard Hell, as well as found footage, movie trailers and vintage commercials. In addition to Keith Haring and John Sex, other artists, including David Wojnarowicz, Frank Hennenlotter, Paul Dougherty, Kenny Scharf, and Robin Schanzenbach, would bring their work to share with the VJs.
About Fales Library and Special Collections:
The Fales Library, comprising nearly 355,000 volumes, and over 10,000 linear feet of archive and manuscript materials, houses The Fales Collection of British and American Literature, the Downtown Collection, and the Marion Nestle Food Studies Collection. The Fales Collection was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton Fales. It is especially strong in English literature from the middle of the 18th century to the present, documenting developments in the novel. The Downtown Collection documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scenes from 1975 to the present and is extremely rich in archival holdings, including extensive film and video objects. The Marion Nestle Food Studies Collection is a vast and rapidly expanding collection of books and manuscripts documenting food and foodways with particular emphasis on New York City. Other strengths of the Fales Library include the Alfred C. Berol Collection of Lewis Carroll, the Robert Frost Library, the Kaplan and Rosenthal Collections of Judaica and Hebraica and the manuscript collections of Elizabeth Robins and Erich Maria Remarque. The Fales Library preserves manuscripts and original editions of books that are rare or important not only because of their texts, but also because of their value as artifacts.