Michel Auder
Excerpt from the Lower East Side Biography Project

Steve Zehentner: Producer, Director of PhotographY

Michel Auder is a French photographer and filmmaker who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He began making films in the early 1960s. By 1968, filmmaking became his primary conduit through his association with a constellation of radical independent filmmakers in Paris known as the Zanzibar Group.

He was influenced of the French New Wave and experimental cinema, most notably Jean-Luc Godard and Andy Warhol. In 1969, Auder met and eventually married Viva, one of Warhol’s principal talents. A year later, they moved to New York City where Auder has since resided. That same year, he purchased a Sony Portapak, one of the first commercially available video cameras.

Video allowed Auder to translate Warhol’s talent for making the banal glamorous and the glamorous banal into a diary practice which Auder himself did not consider fine art. His earliest works are travel logs and endearing portraits of friends including Hannah Wilke, Alice Neel, Annie Sprinkle, Eric Bogosian, Louis Waldon, and Larry Rivers. The label “video artist” was applied retroactively when Auder began exhibiting his work in 1980.

Most recently, Mr. Auder's work has been the subject of retrospectives at the 11th Biennial of Moving Images, Geneva, Switzerland, and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, as well as exhibitions at the Williams College Museum of Art, Participant Inc., New York, and the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmo, Sweden. He was appointed senior critic in sculpture at Yale in 2006.

The Michel Auder Biography is a part of The Lower East Side Biography Project and was directed and edited by Anna Wierzbicka in collaboration with Penny Arcade, Steve Zehentner and Dean Lance.Producer.
Interviewer: Penny Arcade
Producer, Director of Photography: Steve Zehentner
Associate Producers: Dean Lance, Rick Jungers
Second Camera: Dean Lance, Eric Wallach
Lights and Sound: Anna Wierzbicka, Lisa Melodia

The Lower East Side Biography Project was created in 1999 by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner as an ongoing biography series and oral history archive. The LES Bio Project’s biographies and archive work to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention and rebellion that built the Lower East Side’s international reputation as an incubator for authenticity and iconoclasm in art, culture and politics.

The project seeks to stem the tide of cultural amnesia by bridging the cultural gap between long time residents and newcomers to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. To this end, the LES Bio Project has a community-media training component where young filmmakers are trained in production and post-production technologies and then become shepherds of an individual oral history that they edit into a 28-minute biography. Since its inception, the LES Bio Project has trained over forty individuals, completed over sixty 28-minute programs, and videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.

The completed biographies cablecast and stream live every Monday at 11 p.m EST, in Manhattan on Time Warner 34, RCN 82, FIOS 33, and live stream on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Community Channel One.

View the current cablecast and livestream schedule on the project's Facebook page.