Steina Vasulka

Steina Vasulka (US) is an artist-musician who transformed the camera into an autonomous imaging instrument.

Steina Vasulka

Steina Vasulka [1992 © Jan Sprij]

Steina Vasulka was born Steinunn Briem Bjarnadottir in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1940. She studied violin and music theory, and in 1959 she received a scholarship from the Czechoslovak Ministry of Culture to attend the music conservatory in Prague. In 1964 she joined the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.

She met Woody Vasulka in Prague in the early 1960s, married, and moved to New York City in 1965. There, Steina worked as a freelance musician. In 1971, with Andreas Mannik, they founded The Kitchen, a media arts theater. The same year, Steina and Woody established the first annual video festival at The Kitchen, and they collaborated with David Bienstock on organizing A Special Videotape Show at the Whitney Museum.

In 1974, the Vasulkas moved to Buffalo, where they joined the faculty of the Center for Media Study at the State University of New York. At this point, their interest diverged: Steina experimented with the camera as an autonomous imaging instrument in what would become the Machine Vision series.

Since 1980, the Vasulkas have lived and worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA), where Steina has continued her work in video, media performance, and video installation. Steina has taught at the Academy for Applied Arts, Vienna, the Institute for New Media at the Staedelschule, Frankfurt, Germany, and the College of Arts and Crafts, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Steina Vasulka is the creator of the video installation Tokyo Four, the video installation Vocalization. She was a participant of the concert Hyena Days (1992), the exhibition Manifestation 4 - Interactive Artworks (1992). She participated in the book Book for the Electronic Arts.

The Steina and Woody Vasulka archives are at

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