Resurrecting the 1970s Guerrilla Television Movement

Portable video pioneers Wendy Appel and Rita Ogden on location ca. 1972.

We have some exciting news about a new project!

We’re proud to be able to announce that, after several years of planning and development, we’ve been awarded a nearly half million dollar grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to lead a collaboration that will digitize and make available more than 1,000 videotapes from media art centers across the country. The University of Chicago Library and Department of Cinema and Media Studies are our main project partners.

This three-year project is a major expansion of Media Burn’s role as a national leader in preserving and distributing documentary video. The project is one of the largest grants in the group of 16 totaling $4.02 million that were awarded by CLIR’s Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives program, which is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The project was already featured on WLS-TV. Watch the video below!

There is a much more detailed (and scholarly) writeup on UChicago News:

Join us for a free virtual screening/discussion next week to learn more about the Guerrilla Television movement and our exciting work!

Thursday, August 26th, 2021
12:00p PT / 2:00p CT / 3:00p ET
Free, 90-minute screening and discussion
Watch the recording now

The Portable Revolution: The 1970s Guerrilla Television Movement

During the 1970s, a little-known media revolution was taking place around the United States. It was called “Guerrilla Television,” and its practitioners–artists, community organizers, and filmmakers–utilized low-cost, portable 1⁄2” video technology to experiment with new forms of art and documentary. Creators from all walks of life, including Black and Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), women, rural communities, working people, and youth, were empowered to tell their own stories through media. This work, created on fragile 50-year-old videotape, has rarely been seen outside of the communities where it originated.

The program will feature videos from: Appalshop (Whitesburg, KY), Community TV Network (Chicago, IL), Kartemquin Films (Chicago, IL), Media Burn Archive (Chicago, IL), New Orleans Video Access Center (New Orleans, LA), and the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY).



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