EAST COAST, WEST COAST, 1969, (20 minutes with sound), black and white videotape.

This video is the first experimentation with the medium by Holt and Smithson. This video explored Smithson's as well as Holt's notions as to the limiting nature of systems and definitions. East Coast, West Coast, was made with their friends Joan Jonas and Peter Campus. They rented video equipment and decided on the "spur of the moment" to improvise a dialogue based on stereotypical art positions.

Smithson takes on the role of the "emotive" California artist, who is visiting the East Coast to see Holt, a New York conceptual artist/intellectual". (1) They sparred verbally for twenty minutes. Both artists, with irony, masterfully capture the issues and positions taken by the opposing art camps, that of the East Coast & the West Coast, of the late sixties. Traditionally New Yorkers had presumed non-New Yorkers were provincial, and Westerners were "paranoid and defensive about these positions". (2) The inadequacies of both models are slyly revealed.

(1) Robert Hobbs, Robert Smithson: Sculpture, pp. 166-67
(2) ibid, p. 167, quote from synopsis of video by Lizzie Borden from
Castelli-Sonnabend Videotapes and Films 1, no. 1 (November 1974) p. 7