Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited

By Deirdre Boyle | Go to book overview

3.
Guerrilla versus Grassroots

The Media must be liberated. Must be removed from private ownership and commercial sponsorship, must be placed in the service of all humanity. We must make the media believable. We must assume conscious control over the videosphere. We must wrench the intermedia network free from the archaic and corrupt intelligence that now dominates it.

-- Gene Youngblood, Radical Software1

The video underground's first encounter with broadcast television-- an adolescent confrontation with a patriarch--proved disastrous. Despite the underground's dictum that "VT is not TV," 2 they had jumped at the opportunity of having their work broadcast. They had tasted the power of television: they had had money to burn, engineers to command, state-of-the-art equipment to experiment with, and the prospect of audiences in the millions. And they had blown it. Furious over their expulsion from the Garden, the video underground vigorously rejected "beast television" and entered a period of disarray and notoriety.

In 1970 the video underground began attracting press coverage and funders' attention, and as new organizations began appearing, the various identities of the different video groups began to coalesce. With the infusion of CBS's money and engineering support, the Videofreex functioned as the movement's preeminent production group, acting as its technological and aesthetic innovator. Ken Marsh's new organization, People's Video Theater, proved to be the most politically and socially radical group then in New York, using live and taped feedback of embattled community groups as a catalyst for social change. With Rudi Stern, John Reilly founded Global Village, the first closed-circuit video theater to show underground work (this was rap-

-26-

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Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Introduction xiii
  • Contents xvii
  • I. Underground Video 3
  • 2. Subject to Change 14
  • 3. Guerrilla Versus Grassroots 26
  • 4. the World's Largest Tv Studio 36
  • 5. Mountain Guerrilla 48
  • 6. Four More Years 55
  • 7. Communitube 65
  • 8. Gaga Over Guru 72
  • 9. Prime Time Tvtv 89
  • 10. Broadside Tv 96
  • Ii. Impeaching Evidence 105
  • 12. Changing Channels 116
  • 13. Furor Over Fugitive 128
  • 14. Living Newsletter? 139
  • 15. the Good Times Are Killing Me 146
  • 16. Super Video 158
  • 17. Intermedia 165
  • 18. Hooray for Hollywood? 172
  • 19. the Big Chill 183
  • 20. Epilogue 190
  • Appendix Information on Apes by Broadside Tv, University Community Video, and Tvtv (top Value Television 209
  • Notes 223
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index 271
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