Digital Canon: Violin Power

Shining the spotlight on Steina's crowning work.

On 1 July, 2021, LI-MA held an expert roundtable to discuss Steina Vasulka’s video and performance work Violin Power (1970–1978 and 1991–present). This was held as part of the lead-up to the REBOOT exhibition, where it was presented along with the rest of the Digital Canon, commissioned by LI-MA. 

How to Re-Present Performance?

The roundtable addressed many of the questions raised during the prior research project which centred around how to preserve and present Steina’s Violin Power. Present were thirteen participants from various backgrounds and of varying expertise including representatives from the University of Amsterdam, University of Paris, Tate, Vasulka Kitchen Brno and LI-MA. The experts in attendance gave feedback and suggestions to LI-MA’s main research questions, providing key insight into the scope of preservation options available. Some suggestions revolved around what software versions should be preserved in terms of the Violin Power performance and others discussed who should be allowed to perform the work: Should it be only the artist or others with the relevant skill set? 

Insight from the roundtable inspired how Violin Power was presented at REBOOT and guided the conclusion of the research project, resulting in detailed documentation regarding five key performances of Violin Power as well as a technical and performance timeline. The latter creates a representative overview of how a work can change over its life and that of its creator.