ETC History  2008 - 2009

The Experimental Television Center was founded in 1971, an outgrowth of a media access program established by Ralph Hocking at Binghamton University in 1969; today, the Center continues to provide support and services to the media arts community. We offer an international Residency Program, Grants to individuals and media organizations, and Sponsorship assistance for independent media and film artists, as well as an online resource the Video History Project.
Residency ProgramThe Residency Program offers self-directed creative time to mediamakers from throughout the country. Since 1971 we have assisted over 1500 artists in the creation of works using new electronic video, sonic and digital technologies. Each year about 40 artists are invited to work in the studio, offering in a retreat-like workshop environment, access to an image processing system, intensive individualized instruction and time for exploration and personal creative growth. The system is a hybrid tool set, encouraging artists to create interactive relationships between older historically important analog instruments and new digital technologies, and to explore boundaries and intersections within narrative, documentary and experimental forms. With assistance from mediaThe foundation for the last several years, we have been able to continue to advance the digital components of the imaging system, incorporating several Apple computers, other sonic and control modules by Doepfer, interactive software including Max/MSP, Jitter and Pluggo as well as DVD authoring and editing software.
From over 80 applicants, over 50 artists representing 11 states, as well as the UK and Canada worked in the Residency Program. About 29% are artists from outside New York State and about 25% live in Upstate NY's more rural communities. Residents this year included Rahne Alexander (MD); Mara Alper (NY); Kristen Anchor (MD); Nurit Bar-Shai (NY); Bebe Beard (MA); Katherine Behar (NY); Ann Bennett (NY); Allison Berkoy (NY); Nick Bontrager (TX); Debora Brown (NY); Toby Buhler (WI); Torsten Burns (MA); Dearraindrop (VA); Paul Donoghue (Ireland); Carola Dreidemie (TX); David Foedel (CO); Brendan Ford (MA); Larry Gartel (FL); Sabina Gruffat (WI); Alex Hahn (NY / Switzerland); Sarah Halpern (NY); Allison Holt (MA); Sara Hornbacher (GA); Chika Iijima (NY); Deborah Johnson with Siebren Versteeg, and Ben Vida (NY); Seth Kirby and Brock Monroe (NY); Caroline Koebel (NY); Zach Layton (NY); Katherine Liberovskya (Canada); Justin Lincoln (VA); Kristin Lucas (CA); Tara Mateik (NY); Benoit Maubray (Germany); Pete McPartland (UK); Evan Meaney (IA); Sang Um Nam (WI); Marisa Olson (NY); Ben Owen (NY); Monica Panzarino (NY); John Phillips (PA); Megan Roberts and Ray Ghirardo (NY); Kathleen Rugh (NY); Luke Schantz (NY); Samantha Silver (NY); Phil Stearns (CA); Fereshteh Toosi (IL); Justin Wiggan (UK); Roger Wyatt (NY); Frances Young (UK).
Tapes produced at the Center were again included in exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe and on the Web. Recent exhibition venues have included SF MoMA, Light Industry, Museo d'arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce (Italy), Hallwalls, Monkeytown, Eyebeam and Issue Project Room. They have been selected for inclusion in exhibitions and festivals including Mix Festival, New York Experimental Video Festival, European Media Art Festival (Osnabruck), Migrating Forms Festival and Dumbo. Tapes are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix, Filmmakers Coop, Drift Distribution, Facets, Microcinema International, Women Make Movies and many others. Artists working at the Center this year have received awards and recognition from State Arts Councils and numerous private foundations and have received awards and citations in festivals around the world.
Focused on our commitment to education, we also participate in online salons hosted by media arts, information and advocacy groups. Through the Media Arts Technical Assistance Program we work with organizations from all regions of New York State to develop the media arts field. The Center also serves on a working committee along with representatives of the Electronic Media and Film Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, American Documentary/POV and Rhizome on the New York State Media Arts Map, a comprehensive portal website for media arts in the State, The site launched at Location One in Manhattan in December 2008. Through Technical Assistance ETC assisted organizations to attend several conferences and festivals including the AMIA Annual Conference, the IMAP preservation symposium From Legacy to Frontier at the Guggenheim Museum, the American Culture Association conference, and the 54th Flaherty Film Seminar among others.
Artists' sponsorshipThe Center serves as a sponsoring organization for artists' projects in the electronic and film arts, providing support services, assistance with development and fiscal and administrative management services. We sponsor about 20 projects each year. In 2008-09 we helped artists to raise almost $ 100,000 in support of independent media projects. Completed projects have seen worldwide exhibition and distribution, and have been supported by the NYS Council on the Arts, the McCarthy Foundation and private contributors.
Sponsored artists have included Irit Batsry, winner of the prestigious Bucksbaum Award for Neither There Nor Here, with a world premiere at the International Film Festival, Rotterdam and inclusion in the Whitney Biennial; Alan Berliner for The Sweetest Sound, featured on POV and for Wide Awake, screened at the Sundance Film Festival; Abigail Child for By Desire; Slawomir Grunberg for the Emmy-award winning documentary School Prayer: A Community Divided; Barbara Hammer for Resisting Paradise; Ken Jacobs for NY Ghetto Fishmarket, 1903; and Kristin Lucas for Supervision. These projects have been supported by the New York State Council on the Arts, Funding Exchange, NVR and the Distribution Fund, Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the Jerome Foundation, and National Geographic.
For 2008-09 the following artists have received awards from the New York State Council on the Arts. Skip Blumberg for a digital sequel to Nam June Paik; Courtney Grim for Eerie Tales, an installation about our fading industrial landscapes; Alex Hahn for Propitious Stars and the Master of the Staring Eyes, exploring the border between the outer space of perception and the inner space of thought, memory and dream; Shawn Lawson for Our Sardanapalus based on the Delacroix work and a critique of the contemporary condition; LoVid for Orbital Drop focused on renewable energy; Monteith McCollum for Path, which follows three individuals who work to effect big changes through small actions when dealing with modern mobility dilemmas; Laura Parnes for County Down, a portrait of a gated community; Gretchen Skogerson for Parking Signs a meditation on the isolation found in the infrastructure of contemporary American lives. We also supported America is Hard to Find, a documentary by Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir, a controversial and insightful look at two giants of the US anti-war movement, Philip and Daniel Berrigan, Catholic priests whose absolute faith and outrageous actions earned them a place on FBI's most wanted list. This work has received support from the McCarthy Foundation. We also supported their new work, Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement, a portrait of a devoted lesbian couple in a long-term relationship.
Grants ProgramSince 1989 the Film and Electronic Arts Grants Program, has awarded over one million dollars to individual artists and arts organizations in the State.
Finishing Funds 2009 supported 18 new media, film and sonic art, web projects, performances, site-specific installations and interactive projects. This year's requests totaled over $400,000 from artists in 20 counties across New York State. There was a 15% increase in the number of applicants. Finishing Funds is supported in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and by mediaThe foundation. For 20 years, the program has provided funds directly to New York State artists to assist with the completion of diverse and innovative projects which challenge the traditional boundaries of the media.
This year's awards recognize work which is very diverse, encompassing web projects, animation, generative systems, public art and performances, and include experimental, documentary and narrative cinema and the sonic arts.
The works approach a wide variety of topics including issues health and environmental issues, the roles of memory and imagination in the creation of popular history, world financial and monetary systems, and the transformation of urban neighborhoods by rampant development. The works in progress have received recognition and support from other organizations including the New York State Council on the Art, New York State Council on the Arts, e-MobilArt Lab, Cycling 74, EMPAC, the Wexner Center, Eyebeam and Harvestworks.
With an award in 2008 from mediaThe foundation, Finishing Funds is supporting Interference, an interactive installation by Thessia Machado.
The other recipients are Nurit Bar-Shai (The Grafting Parlor); Stefani Bardin (The Omnivore's Pleasure); Zoe Beloff (Dreamland: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society); Elan and Jonathan Bogarin (Invisible Murals); Todd Chandler (Flood); Reid Farrington (Gin and It); Benj Gerdes and Jennifer Hayashida (Room of the Sun); Stephanie Gray (You know they want to disappear Hell's Kitchen as Clinton); Kathy High (TransTamagotchi); Sawako Kato (Pocket Mirage); Edward Kihn (Minutes From A Counterrevolution); Barbara Lattanzi (Optical De-dramatization Engine); Shana Moulton and Nick Hallett (Whispering Pines 10); Diane Nerwen (Open House); Ruth Sergel (Magic Box); Karolina Sobecka (Sniff); Woody Sullender (Whispering Spectres).
This year's peer review panel was composed of Renate Ferro of Ithaca and Tara Mateik of Brooklyn. Tara Mateik is an artist and educator living in New York City. In his videos and performances he typecasts himself as theoretical and cultural transvestites from pop music, competitive sport, and weird science. Mateik's work has been exhibited at venues that include The Guggenheim Museum, LACE, British Film Institute and the Oberhausen Film Festival. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Digital Cinema Studios in the Media Culture Department at CUNY Staten Island. Renate Ferro's artistic practice involves critical interactivity incorporating emerging technologies with the social and theoretical structures of the psychological and sociological condition. Her work is represented in collections across the United States as well as in Canada, France, Germany and Australia. Her work has been published in such journals as Diacritics, Theatre Journal, and Epoch. She is currently a co-moderator for the online new media listserve -EMPYRE-soft-skinned space and the art editor of the journal DIACRITICS published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Renate Ferro is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at Cornell University.
Presentation Funds provides support to New York State organizations for in-person appearances by film and media artists. The program brings innovative cinema programming, including independent film and media art, as well as audio installation works to new audiences and to underserved communities in all regions of the State. In addition, the program assists organizations which serve special constituencies and encourages the development of new presentation venues throughout the State.
In 2008-09 we provided assistance to 52 sponsoring organizations in 20 counties across New York State, where over 225 artists presented work to over 26,000 people, with additional cable and web audiences conservatively estimated at an additional 100,000. These organizations contributed almost $ 800,000 toward these media exhibition projects.
This year's recipients included Anthology Film Archives, Auburn Public Theater, Beth Morrison Projects, Brooklyn Arts Council, Broome County Arts Council, Chelsea Art Museum, Cornell Cinema, Croton Council on the Arts, Cue Art Foundation, Dance Films Association, Dansology Inc., Deep Listening Institute, Denniston Hill, Dia Center, Dumbo Arts Center, Electronic Arts Intermix, Experimental Intermedia Foundation, Filmmakers Cooperative, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Forward Motion Theater, Foundation for the Advance of Dance, George Eastman House, Hamilton College, Harvestworks, Here Arts Center, Ignivomous, Image Out, International Film Seminars, Issue Project Room, Kinetic Awareness Center, Light Industry, Loisaida Arts, Millennium Film Workshop, New Dance Alliance, NY Digital Salon, Not an Alternative, Not Still Art, Proctors, Rivertown Film, Rockland Center for the Arts, Roulette, Rural Projects, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, SITU, Squeaky Wheel, Summer School for the Arts, The Drawing Center, The Sanctuary for Independent Media, The Tank, UnionDocs, University Art Museum and ZEYBRAH.
Now in its 10th year, the Media Arts Technical Assistance Fund is designed to strengthen media arts organizations in all regions of New York State. The Fund assists media arts organizations, their staff and board members in working with outside consultants on issues of organizational and professional development, as well as on research and planning for new program initiatives. The Fund is designed to advance leadership and management skills critical to a sustainable and vital media arts community. Organizational Development offers support to stabilize, strengthen or restructure capacity and services. Professional Development supports training and continuing education, through workshops as well as staff participation in media arts conferences, convening and festivals. The Fund is supported by the Electronic Media and Film Program at the New York State Council on the Arts, a public agency.
Another important component of the Technical Assistance Program encourages the media arts community to convene and discuss issues which have bearing on the field's vitality and longevity. Media Arts Breakfast Meetings and other gatherings Upstate are held on a regular basis to share visions and concerns.
In addition to direct support, Technical Assistance helps organizations to attend professional conferences, seminars and festivals. This year organizational representatives attended the 55th Annual Flaherty Film Seminar hosted by Colgate University, the Association of Moving Image Archivists Annual Conference, IMAP Media History and Preservation Symposium at the Guggenheim Museum and other festival opportunities.
This year's total request to Technical Assistance was over $ 200,000. The program provided over $ 100,000 in support of requests from 48 organizations in 13 counties across the State. Organizations included Allied Productions, African Film Festival, American Museum of the Moving Image, Anthology Film Archives, Asian Cinevision, Big Orbit, BRIC, Brooklyn Arts Council, CEPA, Chica Luna Productions, Children's Media Project, Electronic Arts Intermix, Exit Art, Experimental Intermedia Foundation, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Filmmakers Coop, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Franklin Furnace, free103point9, George Eastman House, Hallwalls, Harvestworks, Havana Film Festival, Independent Media Arts Preservation, International Black Film Festival, International Film Seminars, Light in Winter, Light Industry, Location One, Maysles Institute, Media Rights, Millennium Film Workshop, MIX, MoMA, NY Media Alliance, NYU Libraries, Ocularis, Rhizome at The New Museum, Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, Squeaky Wheel, Standby Program, Syracuse International Film Festival, Syracuse University, Tribeca Film Institute, UnionDocs, WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Witness, Women Make Movies, and World According to Shorts.
History and PreservationThe Center is committed to the early history and preservation of media art. Housed at the Center is a collection of over 1000 videotapes which chronicle work produced here over the last 30 years. We are a founding member of Independent Media Arts Preservation, and past participants of the Regional Cataloging Initiative and the National Moving Image Database project of the American Film Institute.
Begun in 1994, the Video History Project is an online research initiative which reflects the complex evolution of the media arts field, the multiple and interrelated histories of the media arts field, and encourages a collective voice in the crafting of our histories.
The goals of the Video History Project are: To provide a dynamic vehicle for the creation and dissemination of an inclusive media history, crafted by those who are shaping it; To further the critical discourse among scholars and historians engaged with the study of the origins of media art; To contribute to the continued enrichment of knowledge within the media arts community globally; To capture the cultural environment, technological visions of individuals, and the modes of institutional support present during the early developmental years of media; To document and interrelate information about individuals, organizations, instruments, creative artworks, and events; To raise cultural awareness of the origins of media art; To increase public awareness of and appreciation for media history throughout the State and internationally. Goals are realized in an interrelated set of activities combining research and scholarship, through the enrichment of History Web content, and as collaborative projects supporting issues in electronic moving image preservation through the hosting of conferences and seminars.
The first conference, Video History: Making Connections, (1998) brought together over 250 pioneering practitioners and contemporary artists working in new media and interactive technologies. In June 2002, the Center invited over 60 media arts professionals, conservators, technical experts, and artists to gather at the historic firehouse home of Downtown Community TV Center in New York for Looking Back/Looking Forward, a two-day working symposium on moving image preservation. The symposium was organized by the Experimental Television Center, in association with Independent Media Arts Preservation (IMAP) and Bay Area Video Coalition. Focused on the physical preservation of independent electronic media works and related issues concerning tools and ephemera, Looking Back/Looking Forward facilitated an honest and sometimes disturbing evaluation of our progress as a field and informed discussion about necessary and realistic initiatives and partnerships. The edited proceedings and reports are posted on the Experimental Television Center's Video History site.
Research and scholarship is an important aspect of our program. We contributed to Playback: Preserving Analog Video, a DVD produced by BAVC (2003) with major support from the National Endowment for the Arts. We provided research into the early commercial video recorders relying on original manuscripts, technical data, and product literature, as well as photo and video documentation of the early equipment.
The Preservation area of the Video History website contains two commissioned texts. Video Preservation: The Basics (2000, 2002) by Sherry Miller Hocking and Mona Jimenez, and Reel to Real: A Case Study of BAVC's Remastering Facility (2002) written by Luke Hones, and edited by Sherry Miller Hocking and Mona Jimenez. The Preservation resource area also contains a selection of historically important texts concerning early efforts at media preservation.
In 2003 we completed a CD Early Media Instruments featuring a database of significant imaging devices which played a critical role in the historical development of independent media art. The database contains photographs of the devices, examples of product literature, as well as texts and manuscripts describing the tools. The devices include video, audio and computer-based tools, both commercially available and designed by artists and engineers. The CD was featured in a three month long exhibition "Origins" at ArtsInteractive Gallery, curated by Mary Ann Kearns for the Cyberfest in Boston, along with representative tools from the era of the early 1970s.
The focus since 2000 has been on the continued enrichment of content on the Video History Web and the development and implementation of collaborative strategies for advancement of electronic moving image preservation resources and tools. The Video History Web functions as a both a dynamic and interactive on-going research collection and dissemination vehicle for media professionals, educators, and media programmers as well as the general public. Resources include critical essays, manuscripts, interviews, biographies, an extensive bibliography with nearly 3000 entries and information on collections, distribution, tools, preservation, organizations, and individuals. Visitors can generate a timeline of events in media arts history, or view the events within a defined range. Visitors are encouraged to contributed information and texts concerning the evolution of media art and community television.
The fully searchable site structure serves information contained in 12 databases holding over 6000 records. Results are reported topically, organized by resource area. The search function allows visitors to search all of the records, encouraging the visitor to discover broad interconnections among people, places and events.
The site last year had hundreds of thousands of visitors. It is a resource used by researchers, historians, artists, archives and video enthusiasts. We routinely respond to queries from researchers, scholars, educators and home enthusiast. The site has been an important tool for a range of activities - including original research for writing of books, catalogs and monographs; a method for locating primary source materials; a way for people to locate others they have lost contact with over the years; a source for preservation information.
In 2004-06 the Daniel Langlois Foundation for the Arts assisted with the continued development of the Video History Website. The Foundation supported eight organizations that encourage the meeting of art and science in the field of technologies. The Foundation received 168 submissions in response to its call for proposals within this program, of which eight were selected: four from Canada, two from the United States, one from India and one from Peru. With the assistance of the Langlois Foundation, as well as of the New York State Council on the Arts, we are focused presently on early video/media instruments - those tools designed individually or by artists and technologists working collaboratively, as well as innovative commercial devices. This research links associated texts, documentation, technical data, maker biographies and interviews, and tapes produced on these systems. Content derives from our tool and paper archives. We are also photographing the devices, and scanning associated texts, documentation, and ephemera related to events which include posters, exhibition program notes, exhibition catalogs; and audio and video interviews. The data is being published on the History Project Website.
We are collaborating with Kathy High of Rensselaer Polytech and Mona Jimenez of New York University on a book to be published in association with Felix: A Journal of Media Art and Communication. This project has received support from the NEA. The intent is to draw into the discussion new makers who have a relationship with analog devices either as part of their art practice or as an essential element of their conceptual base, and new media artists whose conceptual approaches are similar to those of early media practitioners.
The National Television and Video Preservation Foundation provided in-kind support in 2004-05 to preserve and remaster 10 hours of very early videotapes from the Center's collection; the works were produced in the 1970s and showcase early analog and digital video imaging tools. The project focused on those instruments - tools individually designed by artists and the collaboration of artists and engineers/technologists, modifications to existing technology, and innovative applications of commercial technology - and the collaborative relationships between artists and engineers, and the interdisciplinary nature of early media arts practice. The tapes feature important early video devices designed in the early to mid 1970s, including those created by Nam June Paik (wobbulator or scan processor, and the construction of the Paik/Abe Video Synthesizer and its use with the TV Bed, exhibited at the Everson Museum in 1972), David Jones, Bill Hearn, Steve Rutt and Bill Etra, Dr. Don McArthur, the Vasulkas and Dan Sandin. We have informational materials, technical information, ephemera including early posters and programs, and photographs related to the tools.
We are digitizing and transcribing about 30 hours of audiotaped interviews with significant artist/technologists including Woody Vasulka, Steve Rutt, Dan Sandin, Ralph Hocking, David Jones, Walter Wright and others who were actively engaged in the first generation of tool creation.
We received an Artist in Residence Award from the Institute for Electronic Arts (2005-07) for the creation of series of 8 DVDs - Early Media Instruments - which document the operation of artists' designed instruments, including the Paik/Abe Video Synthesizer, Paik Raster Manipulation Unit, Rutt/Etra, Sandin Image Processor, Jones Colorizer, Frame Buffer, Keyer and Sequencer.
We provided an original text for A Closer Look: Hidden Histories, edited by Kathy High and Helen De Michiel, and published by NAMAC (2005), focusing on the history of ETC and tool creation.
We are completing work on a multi-set DVD anthology - ETC Works - from the ETC residency Program since 1970, a project supported by the Digitization Project of the New York State Council on the Arts and mediaThe foundation in 2007.
The Center's programs are supported by the Electronic Media and Film Program at the New York State Council on the Arts, Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, Media Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, mediaThe foundation, NYS Challenge Grant Program, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Media Action Grant Program of Media Alliance, Institute for Electronic Arts at Alfred University, Everson Museum of Art, IMAP, BAVC, VidiPax, and by corporate support from Dave Jones Design, Black Hammer Productions, the contributions of many individual artists
Daniel Langlois Foundation
for Art, Science and Technology
New York State Council
on the Arts
mediaThe foundation National Endowment
for the Arts
Dave Jones Design