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Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday, March 6, 2011
5:15 p.m. The Video Collectives: Lord of the Universe, Media Burn, and Game of the Week

Lynn Adler, Doug Hall, Chip Lord, Jim Mayer, John Rogers, Allen Rucker, and Megan Williams in Person

The utopian belief that (our) media could defeat (their) media motivated many Bay Area artists in the seventies. To aid this conquest, the means of production were reorganized around cooperative efforts. The media collectives, such as Top Value Television (TVTV), Ant Farm, and Optic Nerve, were scalable, growing in number to match a particular project. T.R. Uthco artist Doug Hall drew on members of Ant Farm and Optic Nerve to create Game of the Week, a striking document of his residency with the San Francisco Giants. Interspersing footage of himself and team members like Willie McCovey with an actual televised game, Hall was able to fabricate his own field of dreams. The seminal Media Burn combined the creative resources of Ant Farm, along with Optic Nerve, The Residents, T.R. Uthco, and others. During this momentous performance, Ant Farm drove a customized Cadillac through a wall of burning TV sets to create a remarkable image of media cataclysm. A complex undertaking, TVTV’s iconoclastic Lord of the Universe required some two-dozen guerrilla video artists, many from Ant Farm and elsewhere. This hour-long, small-format doc chronicles a spiritual gathering at the Houston Astrodome featuring sixteen-year-old guru Marahaj Ji and thousands of fawning followers. Laced with a sarcasm striking both high and low, this nationally broadcasted videowork still inspires a collective guffaw.—Steve Seid

Game of the Week (Doug Hall, 1977, 17 mins, Color, PFA Collection). Media Burn (Ant Farm, 1975, 23 mins, Color, BetaSP, PFA Collection). Lord of the Universe (TVTV, 1974, 58:30 mins, B&W, BetaSP, From Video Data Bank)

• (Total running time: c. 99 mins)