This website brings together the work and documents of Shirley Clarke’s Tee Pee Video Space Troupe workshops, which took place in her home and studio at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City between 1969-75. Equal parts archive, oral history, exhibition platform and research project, this website collects photographs and documents, including newspaper articles and reviews, unpublished interviews, letters and handouts, videotaped and/or written interviews with living participants, and digital transfers of a collection of 1/2 inch reel-to-reel videotapes currently held in the Center for Film and Theater Research at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. These tapes are not currently viewable and I am working with the University of Madison to physically preserve this history while simultaneously making it accessible to a public audience. Due to the ephemeral nature of these workshops, much of this project will involve collecting original oral histories. This archive encourages users to remix and re-distribute all materials published on this site. A series of web games and apps will enable users to reflect on this history by interacting with new media re-interpretations of Clarke’s video games. This archive also records my own process as a archivist, and I will be creating my own “best practices” by conducting interviews with video archivists and others working in digital preservation. These are offered as useful resources for other “amateur” archivists, like myself, interested in making collections accessible in a playful manner. In bringing these materials together I aim to to situate the work of the Tee Pee Video Space Troupe within the wider known history of early video art in order to advocate that our understanding of this history must always remain in flux.
Founded in 2009, this project is a ongoing collaboration between Beth Capper, Nick Briz and Andrew Gurian. In addition, many other people have been integral in creating and developing this project and their names can be found on the acknowledgments page of this website.—Beth Capper
Shirley Clarke on The Pleasure Palace Theater of the Future:
“So what I’m suggesting, in the six hour day that the average person puts in, there’s a great deal more time to explore many things in relationship to any input, any process, any kind of back and forth thing. So, I’ll give you my great fantasy, what I call the Pleasure Palace Theater of the Future. And it’s something like Mercer Street, but instead of being a bunch of separate people who have come in and rented space, this is one big overall space, a kind of labyrinth maze, and that as you go from room to room, you can go through many experiences, from dance, to music, you can eat, you can take a sauna bath, you can play chess to Mozart, you can see live theater. Jud [Yalkut] and [Nam June] Paik know this well because several years back (Laughter) we described the same event. I haven’t yet found that 200,000 dollars to even get the first thing, but it’s an architectural space, something that would certainly get anybody out of the house.”– Clarke in conversation with Nam June Paik, Bill Etra, and Walter Wright on a radio panel moderated by Jud Yalkut for WBAI-FM in New York, 1973.
The archival video materials and video oral history interviews on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Photographs by Peter Angelo Simon are copyrighted and permissions for re-use should be sought from him via his website.
Additionally any writing by Beth Capper on this website is also licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.