7/2/20: Virtual Talks with Video Activists: Ira Schneider

Ira Schneider is a video artist living in Berlin, who was part of the Raindance Corporation and the co-editor of Video Art: An Anthology.

Watch the full recording of the virtual event.

The power of video to create social change has never been as visible as in the summer of 2020. In response, Media Burn Archive has premiered a new screening and discussion series featuring pioneers of video art and activism. 

On July 2nd, the series began with video artist Ira Schneider.

Ira Schneider, left.

In 1970, Ira Schneider joined the Raindance Corporation alongside Frank Gillette, Michael Shamberg, and several others. As a “cultural think tank,” Raindance sought to investigate the power of video within a society, especially to disseminate factual information about global warming and political greed. Like any good “think tank,” Raindance produced a deep catalog of visual and written media. Raindance was responsible for publishing the Radical Software periodical, which collected and disseminated factual information that was otherwise ignored or overlooked by mainstream media institutions.

In 1976, Mr. Schneider again partnered with Beryl Korot to edit Video Art: An Anthology using media and ideas from Raindance and dozens of independent artists. Video Art continues to serve as one of the original self-contained explorations of video as an art form. Another of Mr. Schneider’s works, “Night Light TV,” ran from 1983 to 1993. It consisted of 60 one-hour programs showcasing video art curated by Mr. Schneider and Russ Johnson. It was one of the first televised series on video art.

Projects like these illustrate the formative role that Mr. Schneider has had in creating video as we know it today, especially in terms of the power that it has over our societies and cultures. 

Between 2014 and 2018 Mr. Schneider published photography and comedy focused books, including “Enjoying Depression.” He has lived in Berlin since 1993, and continues to explore the power and potential of video as an art form.

He screened a compilation that includes excerpts from:

  • The Fourth of July in Saugerties 1973 
  • I’d Rather Be Half Right Than Vice President (1968) 
  • Tex-Mex (1975)
  • The World Trade Center (1989)
  • Nam June Paik is Eating Sushi in South Beach (Miami, Florida) (1998)
  • A Small Fly Eyeing a Dab of Coconut Cream (2017)
  • Schneider Marries His SONYa (1999)
  • H2O #3.5 (2008)
  • Breaking News: An Information Collage (2017)
  • 200 Years In The Remaking (2014)

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