Schedule: Guerrilla Television: The Revolutions of Early Independent Video


A symposium presented by Media Burn, the University of Chicago’s Cinema and Media Studies Department, and the School of the Art Institute’s Video Data Bank. 

April 19-21 at the University of Chicago’s Cobb Hall 307 (5811 S. Ellis Ave)

When video cameras first became widely available in the late 1960s, a global network of artists, activists, and documentarians quickly had the same realization: video is not merely a new format; video will change EVERYTHING about moving image media. Over the next decade-plus, idealistic videomakers fought to overturn the top-down hierarchies of the film and TV industries to create a true “people’s television” that encouraged participation, feedback, and contributions from its audience. The proponents of Guerrilla Television threw out the rules of media, filming ordinary people in their own communities, and the revolution quickly spread. The result was a remarkably democratic movement, one in which communities that rarely appeared on network television – women, poor people, people of color, political radicals, queer people – told their own stories. This symposium – and a series of related screenings and discussions – brings together artists, scholars, and archivists to discuss the legacies of this crucial but underappreciated era of independent media, starting with a screening on Friday, April 19 of key works of Guerrilla Television, introduced by the videomakers.

Register for free at:

Read speaker bios HERE.

Guerrilla Television symposium homepage HERE.



Friday, April 19

7pm: Opening welcome from the Film Studies Center: Doug McLaren, assistant director. Welcome and introduction to screening, Tom Weinberg, founder, Media Burn Archive

7:15-9:15pm: Guerrilla Television Screening Night is an opportunity to showcase recently digitized gems as well as some of the funniest, most daring, and most controversial material from this era. The program will represent the wide spectrum of genres and topics that came out of this fertile period, and will be a chance for creators to introduce clips and share stories.


Saturday, April 20

9:00-9:15am: Welcome and introduction from Adam Hart, curator, Media Burn Archive.

9:15-10:45am: Panel 1: Video Activism. The Portapak allowed for a new approach to political image-making, in which videotape became central to activist efforts. The camera recorded protests and speeches; it was used by feminist collectives to share information about women’s health and abortion; it recorded landlord neglect and other abuses of power. The video camera inspired organization and action, and connected activists all over the country. This panel explores the range of video activism in the 1970s, and its legacy 50 years later.

Moderator: Tara Merenda Nelson, curator and director of public programs, Visual Studies Workshop


DeeDee Halleck, media activist and co-founder of Paper Tiger Television and Deep Dish TV Network, author of Hand-Held Visions: The Uses of Community Media

Judy Hoffman, filmmaker and Professor Emeritus of practice in the Department of Cinema of Media Studies at the University of Chicago.

Mona Jimenez, former Professor and Associate Director of the Moving Image Archiving Program at New York University and co-editor of The Emergence of Video Processing Tools: Television Becoming Unglued.

Gordon Quinn, filmmaker and co-founder of Kartemquin Films.

Mirko Popadic, media activist and member of Communications for Change.


11:00am-12:30pm: Panel 2: Video meets Art. The histories of video tend to separate the gallery artists using video – Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci – from a larger, documentary-based independent television movement. But the worlds of “video art” and “Guerrilla Television” were never entirely distinct. This panel explores the exchanges and crossings between independent, community-based videomaking and the gallery. 

Moderator: Tom Colley, director, Video Data Bank


Pat Lehman, videomaker and educator.

Joan Logue, artist and video portraitist.

Dan Sandin, artist and designer, Professor Emeritus in the School of Art & Design at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Steve Seid, retired curator of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive and author of Radical Light: Alternative Film & Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-2000, Ant Farm 1968-1978, and Media Burn: Ant Farm and the Making of An Image.

Barbara Sykes, video artist and former professor at Columbia College Chicago.


1:30-2:00pm: Multi iPhone Recording & Playback activity

Skip Blumberg and Eddie Becker will lead this participatory multi-screen event. The subject is US, and our shared here and now. The object is to observe and record the moment, the place, the people, the gestures, symbols, details, colors, shapes and anything else you want to point your camera at in a two (2) minute single clip (without stopping).



2:00-3:30pm: Panel 3: Women’s Video Cultures. Compared to film, video was cheap and easy to learn. And unlike the film and TV industries, there was no entrenched hierarchy that kept out women, queer people, and BIPOC. Video quickly became central to a growing network of feminist videomakers and collectives dedicated to encouraging, sharing, and celebrating the work of women. This panel focuses on women video producers and the culture of festivals, videoletters, and video exchanges that arose during the 1970s. 

Moderator: Helena Shaskevich, lecturer in Art History at the City University of New York.


Eleanor Boyer, videomaker and director, Loop YWCA’s Women’s Video Project, Chicago.

Tracy Fitz and Barbara Jabaily, videomakers, founding members of L.O.V.E. (Lesbians Organized for Video Experience), now known as LoveTapesCollective

Julie Gustafson, videomaker and co-director of Global Village.

Susan Milano, videomaker and co-founder of the Women’s Video Festival.


3:45-5:15pm: Panel 4: Community Video. The dawn of the Portapak era saw a flurry of activity in New York City, but almost immediately video spread to San Francisco and Chicago, but also to western Ohio, to upstate New York, to rural Kentucky, to New Orleans… all over the country, in cities and towns, at colleges and at local TV stations. This panel looks at the unexpected centers of production that arose in the 1970s, and the importance of these community-based organizations to the wider Guerrilla Television movement. 

Moderator: Angela J. Aguayo, Associate Professor Media & Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and author of Documentary Resistance: Social Change and Participatory Media.


Deirdre Boyle, professor emerita of media studies at The New School and author of Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited.

Ariel Dougherty, mediamaker, teacher, producer, advocate, co-founder of Women Make Movies.

Gene Fredericks, archivist, New Orleans Video Access Center.

Tom Weinberg, creator/producer of Image Union, Center for New Television, founder of Media Burn Archive.

Denise Zaccardi, founder and executive director, Community TV Network.


5:15-5:30pm Closing remarks from Prof. Dan Morgan, Chair, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago.

Sunday, April 21

9:30-10:15am: Closing Gathering and Sharing: The People of Guerrilla Television. This time will feature a slideshow of images from the history of Guerrilla Television. We have set this time aside as a forum for the attendees to reminisce on this golden era of activity, reflect on their (and others’) accomplishments, and remember those members of the guerrilla TV movement who are no longer with us. This will be open to anyone who wishes to speak.


10:30-11:30am: Showcase: Contemporary Grassroots Documentary and Activism. What was Guerrilla Television and how, and where, has it persisted through today? This discussion will include the perspectives of media artists who are working today in the independent, activist tradition. 

Moderator: Judith McCray, videomaker and journalist, Juneteenth Productions.


Caullen Hudson, founder and executive producer of Soap Box Productions.

Raphael Nash, owner and creative director of Endangered Peace Productions.

Tom Poole, member, Black Planet Productions and creator, Not Channel Zero.

Steven Walsh, film director and founder, Omni Media.


11:30am-11:45am Closing remarks. Sara Chapman, Executive Director, Media Burn.






You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Copyright © 2024 Media Burn Archive.
Media Burn Archive | 935 W Chestnut St Suite 405 Chicago IL 60642
(312) 964-5020 | [email protected]