Jesse Ritter Lecture


1969 | 00:06:59 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Single Titles

Tags: Art History, Documentation

In this short video, the Videofreex sit in on, and record part of, a lecture given by Jesse Ritter to undergraduate students at Princeton University in 1969. In the snippet of the lecture recorded, Ritter discusses Richard “Lord” Buckley, a 20th century American stage performer, recording artist, monologist, and hip poet/comic, whose contributions in the 1940s and 50s anticipated the aesthetic sensibilities of the Beat Generation. Ritter analyzes Buckley’s The Hip Gahn, one of Buckley’s monologues of the 1950s, in which he punctuated a retelling of historical or legendary events with scat singing. In this case, The Hip Gahn referred to Gandhi and his quest. 

In addition to capturing a somewhat mundane atmosphere of a college classroom in the late 1960s for posterity, the Freex’s short video may remind its contemporary viewers of both the similarities and differences (students smoke in class!) between educational environments of the past and the present, and how each shapes a particular climate of learning. Alternatively, the fact that this tape exists in the Videofreex’s oeuvre in 1969, attests to the collective’s long-term investment in, and commitment to deploying the medium of portapak video technology as a tool for educational purposes. This notion would later become a large part of the Videofreex’s work via their production of Lanesville TV throughout the 1970s.

—Faye Gleisser


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