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We’re All Videofreex

Apr 5, 2013; 12:00 am
A man with a video camera records a policeman holding a baton as he walks towards him.
David Cort shooting 'Mayday Realtime,' photo courtesy the Videofreex

David A. Ross, chair, MFA Art Practice Department, and Ron Simon, curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media, reunite members of the pioneering video collective, the Videofreex, for the symposium We're All Videofreex: Changing Media and Social Change from Portapak to Smartphone. Between 1969 and 1978, the group shot hundreds of hours of real-time video with newly invented portable cameras and founded Lanesville TV, the first pirate TV station. Simon leads a discussion about Subject to Change, the Videofreex production commissioned—and subsequently dropped—by CBS, in the context of the challenges to traditional journalism brought on by the introduction of video and the emerging counterculture. Following a screening of the group’s work and a Q&A, Ross moderates a panel on the Videofreex’s contribution to video-art history and renewed significance at a moment in which the proliferation of personal recording devices and decentralized broadcasting platforms fuel uprisings worldwide.

Presented by the MFA Art Practice Department with support from the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media, BFA Fine Arts and BFA Visual & Critical Studies departments.


4pm: Subject to Change: Challenging Media
Moderated by Ron SimonWith Don West, radical editor Ray Mungo and Videofreex members Nancy Cain and Parry Teasdale

When CBS executive Don West recruited the Videofreex to produce Subject to Change (1969), media and journalism were at a critical turning point. Panelists discuss the rejected pilot and Videofreex’s subsequent founding of Lanesville TV, both evidence and impetus of the challenges posed to traditional media and journalism by a growing counterculture and the invention of portable video.

5:20pm: Rewriting History
With Videofreex members Skip Blumberg, Nancy Cain, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Bart Friedman, Davidson Gigliotti, Parry Teasdale, Carol Vontobel and Ann Woodward

The Videofreex discuss their history and legacy and take questions from the audience.

6:15pm: Real Time: Video After the Videofreex
Moderated by David A. Ross
With media historian Dierdre Boyle, documentarian Elizabeth Coffman, artist and Rhizome founder Mark Tribe and Videofreex members Skip Blumberg and Davidson Gigliotti

How has portable video shaped the way we see and are seen? Panelists discuss Videofreex’s legacy and renewed resonance in the context of contemporary social media and social change.

7:30pm:  Videofreex Pirate TV Show (2012)

A screening of a compilation of clips from the collective’s videos, edited by member Skip Blumberg.

Free and open to the public