Variations V is a multi-media work commissioned by The French American Festival and filmed at Studio Hamburg in West Germany. The piece involved dancers, musicians, and technicians, as well as electronic equipment, some especially designed by Bell Laboratories. Twelve sound sensitive electronic poles were placed around the stage. Each pole had a four foot sound radius. The sound was triggered by the dancer's movements and was then altered or delayed by the musicians, John Cage, David Tudor and Gordon Mumma.
Another experimental element in this piece involved the use of film. Stan VanDerBeek filmed rehearsals of the dancers, shooting around, but not disturbing them. VanDerBeek used this footage as well as other images, such as still shots from movies and a montage of contemporary scenes. Korean artist Nam June Paik developed ways of changing some of the images and projected them on television screens during the performance.