Cross Reference

  • Bill Beirne, Cross Reference, 1976, two-channel video installation, color, sound; 32:00 minutes, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Gene Davis Memorial Fund, 2015.6.2, © 1976, Bill Beirne

Cross Reference, which directly confronts systems of surveillance and power, was produced as a live performance simultaneously broadcast on two public-access television stations in New York City. Beirne directed two camera operators to film the street from separate vantage points in their respective studios. They chose their subjects at will and communicated with one another by walkie-talkie (Channel C and Channel D). As the camera man described the physical appearances of unknowing passers-by, Beine located them on the street and assumed their personal attributes in an attempt to infiltrate the system. His street performance echoes the subjective nature of surveillance and its limitations in cataloguing either public space or an individual’s presence in it.

Watch This!: Revelations in Media Art, 2015
Cross Reference
Not on view
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Gene Davis Memorial Fund

Mediums Description
two-channel video installation, color, sound; 32:00 minutes
  • Object – furniture – television
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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