The Network – video portraits of contemporary American leadership

Posted filed underShows, USA, Video Art, Videos.

The Network - video portraits of contemporary American leadership
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has recently acquired The Network, video portraits by the artist Lincoln Schatz. Called a “generative portrait,” this piece is a single-screen video that constantly recombines 89 interviews with politicians, scientists, innovators and scholars.

“This innovative piece presents visually the interconnectedness that defines contemporary life in Washington,” said Wendy Wick Reaves, interim director of the National Portrait Gallery. “Inspired by Richard Avedon’s work The Family, Schatz found a thoroughly 21st-century way to capture the accomplishments and aspirations of people who are leading this country in many fields.”

The portrait includes people such as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Emmy Award-winning journalist Cokie Roberts, Republican strategist Karl Rove, political heavyweight Vernon Jordan, congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and congressman Eric Cantor. The process included filming each person with multiple cameras during his or her 45- minute conversation with Schatz. He asked the leaders about their legacy, accomplishments and aspirations.

As the The Network plays, multiple images of the person appear simultaneously. The software then combines the interviews by topic to transition to the next person.

Lincoln Schatz is a contemporary American artist best known for creating video portraits of people, places and processes by using video and software to collect, store and display images.

For more information on The Network, please visit,

- Review at the Washington Post: D.C. power players appear in new video portrait — but is it art?

- Lincoln Schatz on Wikipedia