David Blair
Artist Biography


David Blair is a recognized pioneer in the field of video art and digital media, professionally active since 1979. His 1991 cult hit, the digital feature, Wax or The Discovery of Television Among The Bees, a co-production with ZDF, German Television, opened theatrically to rave reviews at the Public Theater in New York, played cinemas in 26 US cities, was included in a number of 10 Best Film lists that year, and had additional theatrical play in Japan and Australia. Blair performs in the film, which additionally features William Burroughs. As an anti-war statement, Wax provided an early critique of the Gulf Wars, and current-day drone warfare. A combination of innovative digital animation, found footage, and live action, Wax’s visual form is a unique representation of the technologies and politics that it critiques, which still reverbate today. Wax was the first film streamed across the Internet in 1993 with New York Times declaring it an “historic event.” That same year, the hypermedia version of the film, Waxweb was one of the first sites on the World Wide Web, and thus has been repeatedly cited as a milestone of Internet Art. Waxweb has been presented in museums world-wide. Wax or The Discovery of Television Among The Bees and Waxweb have been supported by substantial grants, co-production, and international sales. Grants for this project include three awards from the New York State Council for the Arts, awards from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, American Film Institute, Jerome Foundation, and Checkerboard Foundation.

Blair is primarily a video artist, working in intermedia frameworks, which include long-form experimental fiction, large scale installation (painting, drawing, sculpture), as well as performance, all integrated by his moving image work. Using these varied forms, the direct sequel to Wax is The Telepathic Motion Picture of THE LOST TRIBES. This second major project is supported by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, US/Japan Friendship Commission with Blair as a visiting artist in Tokyo in 1995, Japanese Ministry of Culture, Tokyo University with Blair as a special visiting artist in 1996-7, and New York State Council for the Arts. It has also been supported by commissions from NTT Intercommunications Center in Tokyo, Culture Capital Europe in Copenhagen, and Animate Projects in London. Most recently, Blair was an artist-in-residence at the French Space Agency in 2015-6.

The Telepathic Motion Picture of THE LOST TRIBES is presented as both long-form moving image narrative, and large museum installation. The work is an experimental mythopoetic fiction, based on 25 years of research, production, and writing. In 2013, the project had a three-month show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, presented in 5 rooms as 22 video channels and mixed media. This project has also had recent solo shows in New York, Paris, and Rotterdam. Blair is currently in simultaneous production and release for the most ambitious part of the project, which takes the form of a 26 year, 26 episode per year television show, each episode 26 minutes long, in which everything happens all at once. The first four episodes were released as video-on-demand in May 2015, and will be followed by the rest, at regular intervals. Originally based in New York for two decades, Blair has lived in Paris over 20 years.