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-