Birnbaum’s production consists primarily of video art and installations. Her videos of the late 1970s and early 1980s are variations on the same theme, all of them reinterpreting the various formats and the "language" of television using different techniques.
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The central theme of Birnbaum’s work is the opportunity offered by video to reconstruct television imagery using as material such archetypal formats as quizzes, soap operas, and sports programmes. Her basic technique is to arrest the flow of images, and to repeat parts thereof, until they begin to live a life of their own in repetition, and to disrupt our interpretation with texts and music. Although television employs the same technology and basically the same kind of screen as video art, Birnbaum wants to investigate, like other video artists, the differences and similarities between the viewing experience at home and when the monitor is located in a public space, such as a gallery. Quoting Peter Wollen, she says: "I feel fine about working in video, it’s television that I don’t like."…