The Italian Tape



"The Italian Tape" is a short video clip created by John Baldessari that was  presented at The Kitchen in 1975. The video challenges the idea that meaning is inherent in language by disassociating the two. Baldessari displays phrases from an Italian guidebook throughout the clip, juxtaposing them with their English translations, while a two-dimensional mannequin gestures the dialogue with a stereotypical Italian ballad playing in the background. Baldessari makes commonplace phrases such as "It makes me furious" seem surreal and disconnected from their translations and original meaning. Furthermore, the video reflects Baldessari's experience as a second-generation immigrant inhabiting a multicultural American city in the twentieth century. "The Italian Tape's" viewing was Baldessari's first time showing at The Kitchen and was one of his earliest video works.

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