TV Party

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TV Party, hosted by Glenn O'Brien, ran from 1978 to 1982 on public access cable TV in New York City. A documentary about the show came out a few years ago, which renewed interest in the show and cemented its legacy. Below is an excerpt from the larger essay "THE TV PARTY STORY", where O'Brien reflects on the concept behind TV Party.

TV Party wasn't based on the Johnny Carson type talk show as much as it was based on Hugh Hefner's shows. Hef's Playboy's Penthouse premiered in 1960 and Playboy After Dark appeared in 1969. The format of both shows was a sophisticated cocktail party, not a desk and sofa set up. It was a fantasy of being at a super-hip, super exclusive jet set party. Hef wore a tux and there were always vixens aplenty on set as well as groovy guests like Sara Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Lenny Bruce.

I loved the concept, compared to the stiff format of the Tonight Show. TV Party was Playboy Penthouse twenty years later and with no money. But TV Party was meant to be much more than a regular old talk show. It was meant to be art and it was also meant to be a political party. That's why you see all of those pictures of Lenin and Engels and Marx and Stalin and Mao hanging on the walls. We were doing "socialist realist TV."

"TV Party is the show that's a cocktail party but which could also be a political party." That was the slogan. My idea was that socialism meant going out every night, and that social action started with socializing. I think we were trying to inject a sort of tribal element into things. That's what happens ...

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Essential Repertoire Festival Kicks Off Tonight at Issue Project Room

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Connie Beckley, Sound Split, 1975

Don't have access to a time machine, but want a taste of the Kitchen's programming during the late 1970s? Look no further than the Essential Repertoire Festival, which begins tonight and runs through the weekend at Issue Project Room. Organized by the experimental music series Darmstadt, the festival will restage works originally performed at the Kitchen's New Music New York concerts from 1979, curated by Rhys Chatham. Composers slated to present their 1970s-era work at Essential Repertoire include “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Connie Beckley, David Van Tieghem, Jill Kroesen, Jon Gibson, Ned Sublette, Peter Gordon, Peter Zummo, Petr Kotik, Phill Niblock, and a special performance of Meredith Monk's Dolmen Music by the M6. Check the full schedule here.

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Required Reading

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Mark Wilson, csq3422, 2008 (archival ink jet on rag paper, 61 x 61 cm, 24 x 24 in)

Julie Karabenick: Early in your career you made paintings and drawings. Now for almost 30 years you've used computers in making your art.

Mark Wilson: When I started using computers in 1980, very few artists were using them. To me, these machines were totally cool and exciting. Back then, there was little software of interest to an artist like myself. To make art with computers, you had to invent new working procedures. I bought a personal computer and learned to write my own software. I was trying to find a unique way of using the computer and software to create geometric images.

After developing some programming skills, the methodology of writing software to create images became utterly natural.

-- EXCERPT FROM "AN INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST MARK WILSON" BY JULIE KARABENICK ON GEOFORM

(Via Plog)

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Brian Eno, Peter Schmidt, and Cybernetics

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Cybernetics is one of the most widely misunderstood concepts. The word itself seems sinister and futuristic, but the term has ancient roots - the Greek word kybernetes, meaning steersman. Cybernetics was famously defined in more recent times by Norbert Wiener in 1948, as the science of “control and communication, in the animal and the machine.” Words like "control” may seem to have creepy overtones, but at its heart, cybernetics is simply the study of systems. "Cybernetics is the discipline of whole systems thinking...a whole system is a living system is a learning system," as Stewart Brand put it in 1980. Cybernetic systems have been used to model all kinds of phenomena, with varying degrees of success - factories, societies, machines, ecosystems, brains -- and many noted artists and musicians derived inspiration from this powerful conceptual toolkit. Cybernetics may be one of the most interdisciplinary frameworks ever devised; its theories link engineering, math, physics, biology, psychology, and an array of other fields, and ideas from cybernetics inevitably infiltrated the arts. The musician and producer Brian Eno, for example, was a big fan of connecting ideas from cybernetics to the studio environment, and to music composition, in his work in the 1970s.

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Wandawega Waters (1978) - Dan Sandin

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This is a example of early video art using the color capability of the Sandin Analogue Image Processor - the "Color IP".

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Not of this Earth (1978) - Barbara Latham, John Manning, and Ed Rankus

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This is a example of early video art using the color capability of the Sandin Analogue Image Processor - the "Color IP".

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Making of the Computer Graphics for Star Wars (Episode IV) (1977)

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The computer graphics for the first Star Wars film was created by Larry Cuba in the 1970s at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) (at the time known as the Circle Graphics Habitat) at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Electronic Masks (1976) - Barbara Sykes

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This is a example of early video art by internationally renowned technologist and EVL/UIC MFA alumni Barbara Sykes using the color capability of the Sandin Analogue Image Processor - the "Color IP".

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Colorful Colorado (1974) - Phil Morton

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This is a example of early video art using the color capability of the Sandin Analogue Image Processor - the "Color IP".

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5 Minute Romp thru the IP (1971)

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This is an early video piece staring Dan Sandin in which he explains, in general terms, the functionality of the Sandin Analogue Image Processor (IP). This was the instructional video that accompanied the modules for constructing you own Sandin IP.

Sandin was an advocate of education and espoused a non-commercial philosophy, emphasizing a public access to processing methods and the machines that assist in generating the images. Accordingly, he placed the circuit board layouts for the IP with a commercial circuit board company and freely published schematics and other documentation.

The IP is a general-purpose patch programmable analogue computer, which is different from a regular digital computer, and is optimized to process video/television signals and sound. The video is processed through the IP "live" so that the viewer is able to see the effect on video signals. Initially the video is B&W;, at the end Sandin debuts the 'Color IP'.

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