Anthony Ramos' astute deconstruction of television news focuses on his part in the media coverage of President Jimmy Carter's 1977 declaration of amnesty for Vietnam draft evaders. Ramos, who had served an 18-month prison sentence for draft evasion, was interviewed by news reporter Gabe Pressman, whose film crew meets Ramos' video crew in a confrontation between technologies and sensibilities. At the time, some broadcast television news crews still used 16mm film, although the expensive transition to ENG (electronic news gathering) systems had begun in 1974.
"This video reflects my interest in examining cultural institutions. In The Amarillo News Tapes, we were interested in observing and dissecting what makes news in a small, Midwestern television market. The video shows the three of us in our respective roles as anchor, weatherman, and sportscaster, interacting with the real Pro News Team on the set.
Produced for Britain’s Channel 4, Bright Eyes is an impressive and complex essay detailing the various factors that have colluded to misrepresent the true nature of the threat posed by AIDS. Exposing the relationship between the mass media, scientific systems of classification, and definitions of pathology, Marshall pinpoints the construction of sexual politics based on a reactionary morality. The video places the AIDS crisis in the context of the historical persecution of homosexuals and focuses on the efforts of gay activist groups to combat social and medical prejudice.
Showcasing local documentaries made on 1/2" equipment, Changing Channels was a weekly alternative video magazine produced by University Community Video (UCV) and aired on public television station KCTA, Minneapolis. In The Business of Television News, which aired as part of the Changing Channels series, several area television news operations were asked to examine their objectives and their markets.
In 1975, the Feminist Studio Workshop (I was a member) at the Woman’s Building in LA, the Women’s Interart Center in New York City, and another feminist organization in Washington DC, attempted to set up a video exchange among feminist art organizations. This was the first videoletter on our end. I don’t know if another one was ever made.
The videoletter is a tour of the Woman’s Building. Pam McDonald, with microphone in hand, another workshop member, and myself, served as guides through the building. It was shot with a black and white video portopack.
Gaijin = A non-Japanese person. In 1984 I celebrated my eighth birthday on my mother's island. My Uncle Pat set a VHS camcorder up on a tripod and left it running to record the festivities. A year or two later, I accidentally recorded a snippet of the sitcom Mr. Belvedere over some of the footage.
“To master the one-minute time span requires considerable discipline, and few pieces, if any, had been shaped as genuine miniatures—most having the appearance of being extracts from larger works. The notable exception was John Smith’s Gargantuan, which was not only the right length for the idea, but actually incorporated a triple pun on the word ‘minute.’”
—Nicky Hamlyn, “One Minute TV 1992”, Vertigo (Spring 1993)
"A wonderfully witty example of how to conduct pillow talk with a small amphibian."
In Greetings from Lanesville, the Videofreex tour the countryside of Lanesville, New York interviewing the local people for a weekly broadcast program all from behind the wheel of the Lanesville TV Media Bus. As the first localized pirate television station, Lanesville TV brought its guerilla broadcasting to Upstate New York with interviews of ordinary townspeople in an effort to present an image of community created by the community itself.
This tape, Harriet, created by Videofreex member Nancy Cain, unfolds much like a short play or literary character study. With very little directed dialogue, we gain intimate entry into a day in the life of Harriet—a long-time resident of Lanesville and mother of five—over the course of one day. No stranger to the Videofreex, Harriet was a frequent guest on the collective’s television production of Lanesville Television, as both an on-screen visitor and routine hotline caller.
Among the handful of video recordings of Lanesville TV that exist today, this tape is particularly special for its documentation of one of its very first programs to run on the air. The tape captures the energy and excitement of the Videofreex as they prepare to go live, and Parry Teasdale taking calls during the show to drum up interest and also monitor sound quality.
This tape includes footage of one of the first broadcasts of Lanesville TV, as it appears on the television set of Lanesville local, Todd Benjamin, and a television set installed in a public bar. Interwoven with shots recording the program’s reception, are segments recorded for Lanesville TV itself: Bart (playing the part of “Russell”) approaches Parry, dressed as a hillbilly car mechanic “fixing” the VW Van; nearby, Nancy opens the door to a cabin, wearing a bonnet, while Carol and Chuck, crowding behind her, play the part of other Lanesville TV protagonists.
On April 6th, 1974, this episode of the Videofreex’s production of Lanesville TV aired, including four segments: a choreographed piece by the Elaine Summers Dancers, a Vietnam tape titled “Where do you get your money?,” several phone conversations with local audience members, and a comical interview with a fictional fish, Sam Trouta.
Videotaped on August 13th 1972, this tape features a number of scenes shot for Lanesville TV, including the Videofreex at the Catskill Game Farm shooting footage of the animals. There are some oddball images… a woman on an exercise machine, and someone in a gorilla suit brushing their teeth. A man named Steve Toomie from Tannersville, NY talks about Mountaintop Youth Group’s performances. There is the horse riding competition in Hunter. A little girl asks, “Are you the Lanesville Television guy?” and then shows her horse ribbon to the camera.
In this video, the Videofreex host a party during which the main source of entertainment is a video-television feedback loop. In one room, a video camera linked up to a television set allows party guests to see themselves, as if in a mirror, while guests in the other room can also watch the recording, and may speak to them through a microphone. Although the voices of the off-screen guests can be heard on the tape, they are always imageless.