Eric Kluitenberg on 8 Feb 2001 16:41:52 -0000

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[Nettime-nl] FWD: Video Activism - 13 Februari [obsolete] Overtoom301

From: "Sami Kallinen" <>
Subject: Video Activism
Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2001 16:05:17

13 February
[obsolete] at Overtoom301:

Early Media Critique on Video
Talk and Clips by Bart Rutten of NIM
21:00, 3,50 fl.

Bart Rutten, an art historian from Nederlands Institut voor Mediakunst
(Montevideo), gives a talk and shows video clips from the seventies dealing
with the media. Seventies was the time of political optimism and the
emergence of the guerilla television movement alongside with the birth of
video activism. Some technological developments, like the release of the
first video systems that were affordable for the public at large (most
notably, the open reel video recorder and the Sony Portapack camera). The
idea that the public could for the first time in history produce their own
television, outside of the usual mainstream propaganda apparatus, was
welcomed enthusiastically and resulted in various movements and collectives
in US such as Global Village, TVTV, Ant Farm, The Bay Area Video Coalition.
Most of these movements disintegrated in the eighties for many and complex
reasons involving everything from technology becoming more expensive to
problems within the movements themselves. Some of the key figures actually
ended up in the main networks as reporters and producers (and became some of
the most respected TV-journalists of mainstream media producing some of the
most socially critical stuff that could be done within that framework).

This time in media history connects to the current re-emergence of video
activism mainly as a result of digital desktop production possibilities.

Bart Rutten will give an informal talk and hope to give comments and answer
questions from the public. Media Burn by Ant Farm will be shown in itsí
entirety and excerpts by General Idea, Ant Farm (Eternal Frame), Global
Village will also be shown.

Please feel free to spread the word forward this mail to as many as

Media Burn:

Media Burn integrates performance, spectacle and media critique, as Ant Farm
stages an explosive collusion of two of America's most potent cultural
symbols: the automobile and television. On July 4, 1975, at San Francisco's
Cow Palace, Ant Farm presented the "ultimate media event." In this
alternative Bicentennial celebration, a "Phantom Dream Car" -- a
reconstructed 1959 El Dorado Cadillac convertible -- was driven through a
wall of burning TV sets.

Footage of the actual event, much of which was shot from a closed-circuit
video camera mounted inside a customized "tail-fin," is framed and
juxtaposed with news coverage by the local television stations. Doug Hall,
introduced as John F. Kennedy, assumes the ironic role of the
Artist-President to deliver a speech about the impact of mass media
monopolies on American life: "Who can deny that we are a nation addicted to
television and the constant flow of media? Haven't you ever wanted to put
your foot through your television?"

The spectacle of the Cadillac crashing through the burning TV sets became a
visual manifesto of the early alternative video movement, an emblem of an
oppositional and irreverent stance against the political and cultural
imperatives promoted by television, and the passivity of TV viewing.

Examining the impact of mass media in American culture, American culture,
Media Burn exemplifies Ant Farm's fascination with the automobile and
television as cultural artifacts, and their approach to social critique
through spectacle and humor.
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