Dara Birnbaum’s ‘Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978-79…

Explosive bursts of fireplace open Expertise/Transformation, an incendiary deconstruction of the ideology embedded in tv kind and pop cultural iconography. Appropriating imagery from the 1970s TV sequence Marvel Lady, Birnbaum isolates and repeats the second of the “actual” lady’s symbolic transformation into super-hero. Entrapped in her magical metamorphosis by Birnbaum’s stuttering edits, Marvel Lady spins dizzily like a music-box doll. By means of radical manipulation of this feminine Pop icon, she subverts its which means inside the tv textual content. Arresting the stream of photos by means of fragmentation and repetition, Birnbaum condenses the comic-book narrative — Marvel Lady deflects bullets off her bracelets, “cuts” her throat in a corridor of mirrors — distilling its essence to permit the subtext to emerge. In an additional textual deconstruction, she spells out the phrases to the track Marvel Lady in Discoland on the display screen. The lyrics’ double entendres (“Get us out from underneath… Marvel Lady”) reveal the sexual supply of the superwoman’s supposed empowerment: “Shake thy Marvel Maker.” Writing concerning the “stutter-step development of ‘prolonged moments’ of transformation from Marvel Lady,” Birnbaum states, “The abbreviated narrative — operating, spinning, saving a person — permits the underlying theme to floor: psychological transformation versus tv product. Actual turns into Marvel with a view to “do good” (be ethical) in an (a) or (im)ethical society.”


Technical Help: Ed Slopek/Nova Scotia School of Artwork and Design; Ted Estabrook/Jim Peithman; Exploring Submit #1; Devlin Productions Inc. Authentic Tv Footage: CBS Inc. “Marvel Lady.” Sound: The Wonderland Disco Band. RS Worldwide, Hippopotamus Productions.

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