Ego Me Absolvo: Catholicism as Prototype in Paul Ryan’s Experimental Video

Peter Sachs Collopy, Archée, 2016

In May 1969, a video installation entitled Everyman’s Moebius Strip appeared at the Howard Wise Gallery show TV as a Creative Medium in New York. When an individual entered a curtained booth, they found a video camera, a blank monitor, and an audio recording prompting participation. “React to the following people,” spoke the recording. “Nixon, your mother, Eldridge Cleaver, Teddy Kennedy, you.… For the next ten seconds do what you want.… Now, let your face be sad.… Turn away from the camera.… Now turn back.… Press the stop button.… Thank you.” After two minutes of this guidance, an attendant played a videotape of the viewer’s face back for them. Like its topological namesake, explained the artist, Everyman’s Moebius Strip “is used to take in our outside,” providing the viewer “one continuous (sur)face with nothing to hide.” Since each recording taped over the previous one, each participant received a unique, private experience of communing with the self.

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Subjects: art, Christianity, consciousness, counterculture, cybernetics, media, religion, technology, video, visual culture
Category: writing