Collected works

Video-Taping is a good example for the mix of high and low cultural and technical references characteristic of Gusella’s work at this time. The twofold meaning of the title sets up an understated contrast between the sophisticated technology of the VideoLab synthesizer and the medium of tape—not only the videotape that will record the performance but also common household adhesive tape, which becomes a low-tech yet expressive tool in this project. The viewer initially encounters a silent screen, where the left half of the screen appears white and the right half black. Gusella starts peeling off what is quickly recognized as a piece of adhesive tape from the left screen, revealing a high-contrast positive image of himself “behind” what appears to be a taped surface (a piece of glass) placed between Gusella and one of the cameras, a spatial feint. The piece of tape is then placed directly adjacent onto what appears to be the “black” screen on the right. What had appeared as a piece of opaque “white” tape on the left now appears as a “clear” narrow window on the right, revealing the same Gusella camera image, now in negative. The complexity of Gusella’s composite images begins to be revealed when the viewer recognizes that the illusion of the figure being seen “through” the taped surface on the left is, in fact, another luminance key (a process where a specific brightness level can be identified and turned into an electronic stencil through which another image can be channeled). When Gusella’s video-taping exercise is complete, with all of the tape transposed from the left to the right side of the screen, an unobstructed positive image of Gusella is seen on the left, paired with his negative image on the right. This elegant puzzle uses multiple inversions, spatial illusions, and word play, a basic vocabulary explored throughout this body of work during this period.