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Broadcasting: Guerrilla Media

An exhibition exploring activist strategies undertaken by media collectives, organized with EAI and ICA

Values


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Artistic legacies

Organizing Institutions

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), Slought

Organizers

Alex Klein, Rebecca Cleman

Acknowledgments

Support for Broadcasting: Guerrilla Media has been provided by The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation

Opens to public

02/17/2018

Time

6:30-8:30pm

Address

Slought
4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web

www.icaphila.org
www.eai.org

Slought is pleased to announce Broadcasting: Guerrilla Media, an exhibition of collectivist media from the 1970s to the present, on display at Slought from February 17 - April 25, 2018. Organized with the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (ICA) and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) as part of Broadcasting: EAI at ICA simultaneously on view, this exhibition explores the activist strategies of media collectives such as DCTV, DIVA TV, Paper Tiger TV, Radical Software Group, Squat Theatre, TVTV, Video Venice News, and X-PRZ and revisits the notion of Guerrilla Television as a way of activating television and exploiting it for non-commercial purposes. Join us for an opening reception on Saturday, February 17 at 6:30pm, with introductory remarks by curator Alex Klein followed by a special screening of Raindance's Media Primers (1971).

Guerrilla Television, the Raindance Foundation's "meta-manual" for gaining agency in an information-saturated, corporately-determined Media America, was published in 1971, just a few years after the introduction of the first consumer-grade video equipment, and the advent of personal video. Michael Shamberg, who authored the book, posits the term "guerrilla television" more as a new way of relating to television than as a militant action against it. In his introduction, he writes: "This Meta-Manual is here to lay out why the information environment is a good and verifiable reality model; why we must perceive media structures biologically (media-ecology); and why videotape, particularly portable video systems, can enhance survival and generate power in Media-America."

1971 was also the year that gallerist Howard Wise founded EAI, one of the first nonprofit organizations in the world dedicated to providing a non-commercial context for video experimentation, by offering access to the means of media production, distribution, and education. In a 1970 letter announcing the simultaneous closure of his gallery, Wise wrote: "The most important considerations which have impelled me to make this decision are that many artists, among them some of the most adventuresome, are focusing their energies on works of such scope that there can only be hinted at in the Gallery, and cannot be shown or realized here. These artists are going out of the Gallery into the environment, the sky, the ocean, even into outer space. Others are seeking imaginative ways of utilizing modern technology to humanize people instead of for commercial or destructive purposes, which de-humanize us all." While Wise's and Shamberg's ideas about participatory media were initially articulated with Portapak technology and broadcast television in mind, they are equally relevant in our current context of social media interventions and on-demand streaming services. Indeed, the dissemination of media art beyond the confines of a gallery space and reclamation and repurposing of the tools of mass media is at the core of the exhibition on view at both Slought and ICA and the related programming organized with Lightbox Film Center, PhillyCAM, and Scribe Video Center.

Organized by curators Alex Klein, the Dorothy & Stephen R. Weber (CHE'60) Curator at ICA, and Rebecca Cleman, Director of Distribution at EAI.

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The word "broadcast" originated as an agricultural term meaning to disperse seeds widely, but became a figurative description for communications technology in the radio age. In the television era, with which broadcasting is most synonymous, the introduction of personal video equipment fostered a more dynamic interpretation, facilitating a two-way flow of information that resonates with contemporary participatory media.

Broadcasting: EAI at ICA, concurrently on display at ICA, features works by artists including Robert Beck, Dara Birnbaum, Tony Cokes, Ulysses Jenkins, JODI, Shigeko Kubota, Kristin Lucas, Shana Moulton, and Trevor Shimizu. The exhibition focuses on how artists exploit the act of broadcast as a subject, as a means of intervention, and as a form of participation across a variety of displays. The temporal nature of broadcast television is emphasized within the gallery at ICA, which doubles as an event space for public discussions to be transmitted online and via cable access during the run of the exhibition.

At Slought, the exhibition extends beyond the physical walls of the gallery to engage the street through a nightly screening of works by Squat Theatre in our storefront, which will take place from 5-8pm on weekdays, as well as a series of public programs and workshops.

Works included:

TVTV
Gerald Ford's America: Chic to Sheik (1975)
28 min, b&w and color, sound

Gerald Ford's America: WIN (1975)
28 min, color, sound

Video Venice News (Ulysses Jenkins) Remnants of the Watts Festival (1972-3, compiled '80)
60 min, b&w, sound

Radical Software Group (RSG)
RSG-Black-1 (2005)
22:04 min, color, sound

DCTV
VTR: Downtown Community Television
Center
(1975)
29:08 min, b&w and color, sound

Robert Beck and DIVA TV
The Feeling of Power (1990)
9 min, color, sound

X-PRZ
No Sell Out... or i wnt 2 b th ultimate commodity/ machine (Malcolm X Pt. 2) (1995)
5:37 min, color, sound

In Mediatheque:

Squat Theatre
Andy Warhol's Last Love (1978-81)
60 min, b&w and color, sound
Screens daily at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

Martha Rosler and Paper Tiger Television
Born to be Sold: Martha Rosler Reads the Strange Case of Baby $/M (1988)
35:18 min, color, sound
Screens daily at 1pm, 3pm

Playlist

"It's nostalgia to think that... balance can be restored politically when politics are a function of Media-America, not vice versa. Only through a radical redesign of the information structure to incorporate two-way, decentralized inputs can Media-America optimize the feedback it needs to come back to its senses."

— Michael Shamberg, Guerrilla Television (1971)