Radical Roots

Before software was the big business that it is now, the movement of homebrew architects and DIY programmers that ended up producing today's CEO's was spurred on by counter-cultural politics, an embrace of psychedelia, and an atmosphere of artistic experimentation. It was in this context that Stewart Brand made his now famous assertion (in 1984) that 'information wants to be free.' Glasgow-based curator Will Bradley took this dictum as a starting-off point in organizing the exhibition, 'Radical Software: Art, Technology, and the Bay Area Underground,' at The California College of Art's (CCA) Wattis Institute, in San Francisco. Open now through March 24, 2007, the show's title derives from the video art journal initiated in 1970, and seems to privilege artists of the 1970s and 1980s, with a few exceptions offering 'updates' on the way in which the spirit of this movement has impacted younger artists. The show combines artworks, experimental film and video, documentary material and the artifacts of hackers and activists from these generations. Artists include Ant Farm, Artists' Liberation Front, Berkeley Community Memory, Wallace Berman, William Burroughs, Copenhagen Free University, the Diggers, Nancy Holt/Robert Smithson, Timothy Leary, Josh On, Dan Sandin, Superflex, and others. The underlying premise of the show maps the moment in which 'radical' comes to mean both political and groovy in nature. - Angela Moreno