Explore Collections

The Media Burn collection of videos were created by a geographically, socially, and economically diverse community of videomakers throughout the world. The collection forms an unmatched portrait of American life from 1949-2020, created by individuals with a deeply rooted commitment to increasing our understanding of other human beings and communities.


Chicago Collection

Media Burn’s Chicago Collection is the cornerstone of our archive, spanning more than a half century of history and culture. The Chicago Collection contains unique cultural and historical records of this city’s people, places, and events from a distinctly non-commercial point of view, not represented or collected elsewhere. Hundreds of subjects, including ordinary people, musicians, mayors, baseball legends, radio personalities, community leaders, and neighborhood festivals are captured for posterity.The archive contains a particularly comprehensive documentation of local politics, featuring the lives and times of Alderman Vito Marzullo; Congressman Rahm Emanuel; Congressman Dan Rostenkowski; Senator Carol Moseley-Braun; Governors Jim Edgar and George Ryan; mayors Jane Byrne, Harold Washington, and Richard J. and Richard M. Daley; and many more. The footage in this collection, produced by passionate independent observers, provides a rare and valuable counterpoint to the official histories of many of Chicago’s most noteworthy 20th century characters.


Politics Collection

A diverse set of materials, documenting the major presidential campaigns and elections, Illinois House and Senate, and Chicago politics. Featuring every Chicago mayor since Richard J. Daley, as well as extensive footage of city council members, it’s an eye opening picture of how politics really works in Chicago. The Media Burn collection covers the lasting cultural impact of the 1968 Democratic National Convention and Chicago Conspiracy trial, and the Chicagoans who have shaped public policy locally and nationally, such as David Axelrod, the Daley family, and Rahm Emanuel.


Sports Collection

Atypical documentation of the world of sports, featuring the wackiest and most interesting characters in sports of the ‘80s and ‘90s The unique collection includes personal portraits and camera original videos of dozens of characters. They include Doug Atkins, Dick “the Bruiser” Afflis, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, Larry Doby, Mark The Bird” Fidrych, Charles O. Finley, Minnesota Fats, Orestes “Minnie” Minoso, Floyd Patterson, and many more.


On the Media

This collection of video looks at the way that news is constructed with documentary works capturing the history of news and television. These videos range from capturing the experiences of radio personalities to the inner workings of the 1976 Democratic National Convention.


Arts & Culture Collection

This collection explores the many facets of arts and culture, with videos of live theatre and television media, as well as looks “behind the scenes” at the people who make art of their lives. Includes tapes from Image Union, which ranges from documentary to video art to animation to music videos, as well as Making it in Hollywood, which offers insight into the lives of Hollywood actors and directors in the 1970s. In addition to documentaries about the performers, there are also several full length plays, cabarets, comedy shows and performance art pieces.


Global Collection

This collection includes footage from THE 90’s and Global Perspectives on War and Peace collections. These programs both strove to give an on-the-ground and unadulterated view of the world and show perspectives that otherwise went unseen.



The videos in the Media Burn collection were created by a diverse community of artists, journalists, and community organizers around the world who use video to break boundaries.

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