Video as Radical Software

Radical Software would not present itself self-consciously as an art magazine, but rather as a form of social activism and environmental sculpture. It would be a forum, a video craft how-to-magazine for the fearless, a rudimentary marketing and distribution system for the burgeoning community, and a journal of philosophical speculation and political opinion for all who shared their vision. – David Ross, Radical Software Redux

In the latter 1960s, the socially-transformative, radical surge of the counter-culture movement met head-on with the birth of a new technological medium: portable video. More precisely, it was the Sony DV-2400 Video Rover (known as the Portapak), which was introduced to the market in 1967, making its way into the hands of artists, alternative documentarians, media collectives, and activists: essentially undermining and rupturing the centralized nature of traditional broadcast television.







An Electronically Infused Moment of Rupture and Social Transformation in the 1960s

… it was an overlapping, meeting ground, a liminal zone … an “electronic circus,” … a coming together, a unification of bodies and spirits that mutated out in all kinds of new directions. – Michael J. Kramer, Inside Outside: On the Significance of the Trips Festival

There was a seismic moment in the 1960s when the confluences of new media art, psychedelia, Happenings, utopian aspiration, rock and roll, LSD, sonic experimentation, cybernetic communalism, and performance art fused and coalesced into a collective, socially transformative, cultural explosion.







Transmission to the People

“I want you to get into your VW bus, and each night around Manhattan: Broadcast!” – Abbie Hoffman (as told by Mary Curtis Ratcliff of the Videofreex)

In the early 1970s, Radical Yippie Activist Abbie Hoffman instigated the beginning of alternative live television when he demanded that the Videofreex broadcast their tapes. He wanted the video collective to become bandits of the airwaves and literally hack their way into the Manhattan tv spectrum.







The Continuously Transformative Moment of Live Television

Television’s most salient quality since its inception has been the socially-simultaneous experience of the live broadcast. When television is live it is synchronous, it is a #hashtag of social aggregation, a place of congregation in the shared moment.







The Art of TRUMP L’oeil

TRUMP l’oeil is the technique of reimagining reality as illusion and fakery. It is a forced perspective intended to deprive public perception of the means to differentiate between that which is real and that which is not. With the art of TRUMP l’oeil, the optical illusion of a post-real, fantastical world of deception and deceit is manifested in three-dimensions.

A new movement is born: TRUMP L’oeilism. Actually, it is an old idea derived from the great masters, who developed techniques of visual perspective that altered our perception of reality through illusionary depictions of three-dimensional space.







The Exquisite Disorder of Live Simultaneity from the Stage to the Network

“Moments are not merely consequents of what precedes them, rather the concentration on the Now, on every Now.” – Karlheinz Stockhausen

For those who dare take the plunge into the live arts, it is both a curse and a blessing. There is nothing quite like the collective state of emergency and sheer terror that comes from being part of an ensemble of artists who take the risk of total failure. Yet, it is in this realm of the live that we might discover something ecstatic, which can only reveal itself in the present tense of the Now.