Cover

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Title Page, Series Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-9

Years before pundits claimed that the Internet had brought about a revolution in digital democracy, works of early video art offered a populist vision of the mass media as its makers grappled with the impact of television on the public sphere and the changes in subjectivity wrought by electronic communication. Starting in the mid-1960s, visual artists began working with technologies and techniques adopted from the television industry...

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Prelude | Open Circuits

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pp. 10-24

No event better encapsulates the budding relationship between visual art and television than the Open Circuits conference held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1974, which was the first time so many people interested in television had gathered in such an illustrious museum. Subtitled “An International Conference on the Future of Television,” the three-day event brought together artists, critics, and curators from around the world...

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Chapter One | Participation Television

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pp. 25-77

At his first exhibition in 1963, Nam June Paik presented an artwork titled Participation TV that allowed viewers to generate on-screen images by speaking into a microphone wired to a TV set. Paik reused the name several times, and it applies more broadly to the aspirations of a group of like-minded artists, including the members of USCO, Andy Warhol, Ken Dewey, and Stan VanDerBeek...

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Chapter Two | Talkback

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pp. 78-125

In Video Commune, Nam June Paik asked his viewers to talk back to their television set by twiddling its knobs. Circa 1970, a younger generation of artists also began to consider how to build a more inclusively communal mass media by asking why the people couldn’t talk back to their television sets even more directly. They took up the challenge presented in the national government’s report on violence to allow “new and different voices...

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Chapter Three | Video Ecologies

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pp. 126-178

Although ecology is the study of organisms and their environments and not just the study of earth science, in the context of the art world it has often been associated with earthworks. In accounts of postminimalism and the art of the 1960s and 1970s, its other associations have frequently been overlooked in favor of phenomenology, semiotics, and institutional critique.1 During this time, a number of artists...

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Coda | The Apotheosis of Video Art

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pp. 179-188

Although he was referring to media reform in West Germany, Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s closing words at Open Circuits can also be read as a summary of the final moments of the history of early video art. “Altogether, it is impossible to arrive at sweeping conclusions,” Enzensberger said. “The politics of liberation have succeeded; the politics of liberation have failed. Both of these propositions could be defended, and both would ultimately appear meaningless”1...

Notes

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pp. 189-212

Bibliography

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pp. 213-222

Index

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pp. 223-236