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Vertical Blanking Interval, 1996

Vivian Selbo


Vivian Selbo's project for äda 'web, Vertical Blanking Interval, was launched in December, 1996. Its title is a technical term describing the largely untapped portion of the video spectrum that is part of any television signal. This portion of the signal is where high speed Internet access will soon be transmitted.

The insertion of the Internet into this "blind spot" of the television signal is taken up by Selbo both literally and metaphorically. Her project comments on the nature of viewing experiences, and refers, by extension, to all sorts of other gaps -- to the nature of in-between spaces, to subtexts, and to innuendoes that draw us closer while commanding us to respond. One of these gaps is the distinction between "push" and "pull" media -- whereas television is seen to push its content at the viewer, at a rate and sequence over which the viewer has no control, the Internet currently exemplifies "pull" media, where the viewer selects when and in what way content is accessed.

The project also links outside äda 'web, to statistics about tv and Internet access and technology, pointing to further distinctions between these communication technologies.

In adapting advertising imagery to her own ends, Selbo has borrowed freely from an area that is widely viewed as the encroachment of push technology into the Internet, and used it for a specific application of her own. Selbo explains, "tv advertising is built on issues of promise and prohibition and there's always a subtext. This project works with that subtext."

Selbo has worked in several mediums, including photographic sculpture, projects for the printed page, and web design. Throughout her work, she has adapted text and images from commercial sources, setting up situations that are loaded, provocative, and funny, often putting issues of seduction and desire into play. She alludes to obsessive consumption of media imagery, and speaks with the subtle innuendoes of advertising. As a producer of artists' projects for äda 'web, Selbo plays a crucial role in the conception and design of this website. Her art has been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Sandra Gering Gallery, New York; the Maryland Institute College of Art; and it has appeared online at www.slate.com. She is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York city.

G9 launch: November, 1998
credit line: Linked project from äda 'web.
  status: host