Media Burn Archive collects, restores and distributes documentary video created by artists, activists and community groups. Media Burn is a project of the Fund for Innovative TV, which has been producing challenging documentary video and television since 1990.
    Our mission is to preserve audiovisual records of history and culture and to engage audiences with their creative reuse.
    The national significance of the collection of more than 7,000 videos has been recognized with grants from the National Archives, the “Save America’s Treasures” program of the NEH, the NEA, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Your support is a critical part of our success. Please donate today.
    The boxes of tapes in your basement or closet may be deteriorating much faster than you think. You will have no better chance of transferring them successfully and for a reasonable cost than today. Media Burn is a boutique footage transfer service that provides highly personalized attention to your project.

New Videos

  • Dave Meggyesy, tape 1

    Dave Meggyesy, tape 1

    A talk by Dave Meggyesy, an American football player turned union organizer and author of Out Of Their League, an autobiographical look at football that was critical of the sport’s dehumanizing aspects and pro-capitalist values. This tape features the beginning of Meggyesy’s talk, which focuses on his discussion of the dehumanizing value systems that are implicit and explicit within football. Continue reading

  • For Fathers Day: Bill Veeck on his Daddy

    For Fathers Day: Bill Veeck on his Daddy

    “He was the nicest man I’ve ever met. I guess that’s going out of style talking about your parents that way but, he was.” -Bill Veeck  When legendary ball club owner, Bill Veeck Jr., was being posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, his wife Mary Frances spoke of some of Veeck’s professional commandments. Among them, “in your hiring be color-blind, gender-blind, age-and-experience blind.” For Veeck, everyone held the potential to teach him something. Famous for his wild and … Continue reading

  • Vito Acconci on Changing the Landscape

    Vito Acconci on Changing the Landscape

    “Architecture is not about space but about time.” -Vito Acconci Vito Acconci’s artistic legacy is boundless, his influence pervading all mediums of art, beyond just those he mastered. This year Acconci turned 76, and while his fertile mind has continued to produce sculptures and structures all over the world, much of his early work in video and performance has gone long unseen. This month the MoMA PS1 in Queens will open the first U.S. retrospective of Acconci’s work in three … Continue reading

  • Buckminster Fuller on money in politics

    Buckminster Fuller on money in politics

    “The representation is not representing you, they’re representing the money that got them in.” Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), most famous for popularizing the geodesic dome, devoted his life to seeking solutions to social ills, and using technology to make the world work for 100 percent of humanity. As a teacher and philosopher, he urged people to reappraise the systems and standards of society. While he believed that we had the power to reach global solutions, he argued they would not be reached through politics. In this newly … Continue reading

  • [Buckminster Fuller interview, 1980]

    [Buckminster Fuller interview, 1980]

    Buckminster Fuller interviewed by Phil Ranstrom on May 2, 1980. This footage was produced for Southern Illinois University’s Student Programming Council, in conjunction with a lecture Fuller was to give there. Continue reading

  • Cosmo’s Cosmos

    Cosmo’s Cosmos

    A portrait of sculptor Cosmo Campoli in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Continue reading

  • Every day, Media Burn is saving videos that are much more endangered than you may realize.

    Every day, Media Burn is saving videos that are much more endangered than you may realize.

    The Media Burn collection was made possible by a technological breakthrough in the 1960s that put the means of creating video and television directly into the hands of everyday people. University of Chicago Professor Tom Gunning has referred to this early era as a “utopian moment” due to the unique convergence of an affordable, low-tech technology for mass communication with 1960s activist culture. Gunning has called the Media Burn collection a “national treasure, vital to our understanding of the evolution … Continue reading

  • “They aimed to kill the young ones because they were the rebels.” —Boris Ross

    “They aimed to kill the young ones because they were the rebels.” —Boris Ross

    On May 30, 1937, Memorial Day, Chicago police opened fire on unarmed workers demonstrating against Republic Steel in one of the bloodiest events in our nation’s labor union history. Earlier in the year the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) had worked out a union deal with U.S. Steel, which workers had hoped would push the smaller steel companies to recognize their own unions. Instead, many of the smaller steel companies fought bitterly against union organization. That Memorial Day, the workers … Continue reading