Vertical Roll
Vertical Roll, Joan Jonas, 1972, 19:37, U.S., b&w, sound In this video,

Jonas performs the belly dancer Organic Honey, one of her female archetypal "alter egos." During her perfor- mance, the video frame continues to roll, a condition produced by adjusting the timing of the vertical hold on the monitor. The final video recording is made by pointing a second camera at the rolling monitor image, thereby enveloping the performances of both human and machine. The constant, regular visual rhythm of the vertical roll, accented by the percussive beating of a spoon, becomes a moving framework for gestures and visual rhythms set up by Jonas' writhing, fractured figure. The rolling black band interrupts the frame, breaking the false three-dimensionality of the monitor space; the monitor becomes a "screen" which distorts and obscures, rather than a window that opens up a privileged view. The movements and rhythms produced in the tape can be experienced as mesmerizing and moderately disorienting or aggressively disturbing, assaulting the viewer and frustrating the desire to gaze at the female body on the screen. The vertical roll functions both as a structural feature, which Jonas integrates into her choreography, and as a kind of venetian blind, alternately seducing and frustrating the viewer/voyeur.
"At first I saw the monitor/projector as an ongoing mirror. Watching myself I tried to alter the image using objects, costumes, and masks, moving through various identities (the sorcerer, the floozy, the howling dog). Narcissism was a habit. Every move was for the monitor."
—Joan Jonas (Schneider and Korot, 1976)

"The vertical roll of the monitor was used in my work as a structural device with which activities were performed in and out of sync with its rhythm. I play with the peculiar qualities of the TV, imagistically and structurally. The vertical roll seems to be a series of frames in a film, ongoing by slowly obscuring and distorting the movement. Portions of the movement are lost as the mind passes or jumps the monitor. The vertical roll affects one's perception of the TV image and of the space around the monitor. Floors seem to rise when you look away from the continuous vertical roll."
—Joan Jonas (Davis and Simmons, 1977)