Ironically, you need to watch old-fashioned traditional television to experience the continuous, quasi-infinite flow of the broadcast transmission. Turn on your tv, and it comes pouring out, non-stop, uninterrupted, a constant flow of information & disinformation, along with the jolted hypnotic repetitions of ads, graphics, pundits, sitcoms, reality tv, and station identifications all merged and fused into a continuously telecasted media-on-tap.
In the unfolding histories of electronic media since the 1960s, we have seen video evolve from the exclusive domain of television broadcasting, to the ubiquitous phones we carry around with us every day. So too, the fusion of broadcasting and telecommunications has progressed from satellite technology, far from our reach, to the omniscient global connectivity that unites us through our mobile devices.
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.
… 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.
“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.
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.