[-empyre-] Video Behind: On the history

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Fri Sep 11 14:01:17 AEST 2015

The screening list of the Hunter Show should be publicized within a week
or so, Maureen.  We're still working out some kinks with some of the
pieces and don't want to promise anything that the archived artworks won't
permit us to deliver.  But remarkably so much of this material is in
tremendously good shape.  I was thinking today about how relieved we were
with the arrival of digital platforms, thinking naively that they would
save us from ephemerality of videotape.   As I was reordering my
collection of interactive CD-Roms tonight, which I accrued while curating
that medium in the 90s, I couldn't help but be struck that the ETC tapes,
so much older and supposedly more fragile, all still run on standard tape
players.  The same cannot be said, helas, for interactive CD-Roms.


Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Taylor Family Director, Society for the Humanities
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
A D White House
Cornell University,
Ithaca, New York 14853

On 9/10/15 12:39 PM, "Turim,Maureen Cheryn" <mturim at ufl.edu> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>Is the list available, Tim?
>From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
><empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Timothy Conway
>Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu>
>Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 12:13 PM
>To: soft_skinned_space
>Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Video Behind:  On the history
>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>Hi, Sherry,
>Sarah Watson and I have just completed preparing the videos for exhibition
>in the ETC show that will open on September 24 at Hunter College.  As I
>was reviewing the screening list, I remembered my early days of viewing
>experimental tapes during screenings at ETC.  What was particularly
>compelling to me as a young theorist was the conceptual verve of even the
>most formal experiments with the video tools that were developed in the
>ETC lab by Nam June Paik, Shuya Abe, David Jones, and others.  The
>flexible analogue tools available to artists at ETC catalyzed the
>theorization of video as an art form, as well as contributed to
>philosophies of time, movement, light, and the electronic extensions of
>As we move through the month discussing video art writ-large, I hope we
>can celebrate the cerebral demands on the artists who suspended their
>artistic conventions in order to give themselves over to the emergent
>concepts of time and space happening via their building and interaction
>with this emergent gear.
>Welcome to the month of Video, behind and beyond!
> 9/10/15 10:15 AM, "Renate Terese Ferro" <rferro at cornell.edu> wrote:
>>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>Dear Sherry,
>>Many thanks for making this initial post about ETC.  For our
>>subscribers who have never made the trek to Upstate New York I thought it
>>might be a good idea to talk about where the Experimental Television
>>Center was located and how it all began in 1972.  I was very lucky to
>>a residency at the center in 2006. The aura of years past and especially
>>from the international artists who where there before me seemed to be
>>seeped in the archive of equipment as I worked.  To have your insightful
>>perspective Sherry and our other guests on that early history I think
>>might fascinate our subscribers.
>>Also subscribers for those of you who have a history in video both analog
>>and digital we hope you will join our conversation.
>>Really looking forward to the month.
>>Renate Ferro
>>Visiting Associate Professor of Art
>>Cornell University
>>Department of Art
>>Tjaden Hall, Office 306
>>Ithaca, NY  14853
>>Email: rferro at cornell.edu
>>URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
>>          http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net
>>Lab:   http://www.tinkerfactory.net
>>Managing Moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
>>On 9/8/15, 8:48 PM, "ETC" <etc at experimentaltvcenter.org> wrote:
>>First, thanks to empyre ­ and especially to Tim and Renate ­ for the
>>invitation to participate this month. I have been a long time, mostly
>>silent observer, and have learned so much over the years from all of you.
>>I have spent over 40 years working with the ETC, a (very) small ­ and
>>intentionally so ­ media arts ³organization² in Upstate New York. When we
>>decided to end the Residency, Research, Grants and Sponsorship programs
>>ETC in 2011, I was often asked, ³So, are you closing? Will you retire?²
>>I was unprepared for the query and had no answers. I didn¹t feel retired.
>>looked at the 1Ž2² open reel videotapes which still fill our beer cooler
>>climate-controlled storage facility, and wondered about our respective
>>At the time we closed many of the ETC programs, I was very involved with
>>Kathy High and Mona Jimenez, along with many brilliant scholars and
>>artists, on completing the two volume book ³The Emergence of Video
>>Processing Tools: Television Becoming Unglued². Once the book was finally
>>published in 2014, I took a step back and reconsidered some of the topics
>>we had tried to address: from ideas as general as how do art, science and
>>technology intersect, and are the collaborations that evolve specific to
>>cultural and social environments; to topics as specific as those
>>talk of codecs, wrappers and containers.
>>We became involved in the topics of media history and preservation in the
>>   -  were among the founding organizations of the groups that became
>>Alliance and Independent Media Arts Preservation
>>   -  organized the conference Video History: Making Connections
>>   -  participated in the National Moving Image Database (NAMID) project
>>the American Film Institute as they created a template for cataloging
>>moving image media works, that addressed specific properties of
>>media as opposed to film
>>   -  organized several symposia on preservation at Buffalo State College
>>and in NYC in 2002
>>   -  began (1996) and continue the History website.
>>Some of you were also at some of those meetings, I'm sure.
>>One result of the book was a mass of research materials, historical
>>artists¹ statements, technical descriptions which have not been put on
>>History site and even more questions:
>>   -  how do we preserve instruments; what about functionality
>>   -  where will the ephemera live: how do we preserve cultural context
>>   -  can you preserve the ethos, the spirit, the hungers of a particular
>>   -  what is lost if ephemera is disassociated from instrument
>>   -  how does history matter; looking back and looking forward with
>>contemporary makers
>>   -  how can we create environments that nurture collaborations of art,
>>technology and science; can we devise models for the sustenance of these
>>   -  what are reasonable criteria for determining which works are
>>preserved; by whom and how are these determined
>>ET is very grateful that the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at
>>Cornell has accepted the ETC¹s collection of ephemera, to accompany our
>>videotape collection; it is a very compatible home for us. Over the
>>I had the privilege of working with two creative and intelligent Cornel
>>grad stuents, Alana Staiti and Lauren van Haaften-Schick, on constructing
>>an inventory for these materials. It proved to be an overwhelming,
>>exciting, hilarious, tedious, exhilarating and at time cringe-worthy
>>experience. It can be difficult to understand the history of something
>>have been so much involved with.
>>The ephemera will form one of the major sections for the upcoming
>>exhibition organized by Hunter College Art Galleries and the Rose Goldsen
>>Archive of New Media Art at Cornell, "The Experimental Television Center:
>>History, Etc . . . " opening at the Galleries on September 24th, and
>>running through November 21st. The exibition was organized by Tim Murray
>>Cornell and Sarah Watson, Curator at Hunter. Also on view are videotapes
>>over 40 artists, hand-crafted now obsolete analog processing equipment,
>>performances by contemporary artists working with custom-designed
>>instruments, and tools built by artist/technologists for day¹s
>>We are always looking for conversations about video and its histories,
>>I¹m sure I¹ve come to the right place.
>>empyre forum
>>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>empyre forum
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