In this lecture and screening, artist Peggy Ahwesh will discuss the technology and aesthetics of PixelVision, a black-and-white video camera that recorded and played images and sound on audiocassette tape. This inexpensive format arrived in the guise of a children’s toy when Fisher-Price introduced the PXL 2000 camera in 1987. It was a commercial failure, but by the early 1990s, a number of artists began to experiment with PixelVision, exploiting its lo-fi images and intimate scale. Ahwesh’s talk will survey some of these projects, including Strange Weather, her own feature-length film in PixelVision made in 1993.
Strange Weather (Peggy Ahwesh, Margie Strosser, 1993) follows a group of crack addicts at home in Florida, while a storm brews outside. Through Ahwesh’s camera work, PixelVision’s gritty close-ups give an intimate and unnerving view of addiction and intoxication that troubles the conventional separation between documentary and fiction.