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.
The 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 70 applicants, 49 artists representing 11 states, as well as the Ireland, Canada, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK worked in the Residency Program. Residents this year included Matthew Belanger and Marianne Petit (NY); Kjell Bjorgeengen (Stabekk, Norway); Peer Bode (NY); Yvonne Buchanan (NY); Julia Christiansen (OH); Carl Diehl (OR); Paul Donoghue (Ireland); Monica Duncan (CA); Unn Fahlstrom (Germany); David Galbraith (NY); Madeleine Gallagher with Adam Savje and Edward Davis (CA); Alex Hahn (NY and Switzerland); Allison Holt (MA); Sara Hornbacher (GA); Colleen Keough (MS); Seth Kirby and Brock Monroe (NY); Jason Livingston (NY); LoVid (NY); Kristin Lucas (NY); Timm Mason (WA); Blair Neal (NY); Seth Nemec (TX); Andrew Neumann (MA); Marisa Olson (NY); Ed Osborn (RI); Emily Pelstring (Canada); Sondra Perry (NJ); Leslie Raymond and Jason Stevens (TX); James Richards and Steve Reinke (UK); Megan Roberts and Raymond Ghirardo (NY); Ron Rocco (NY); David Rosfeld, Maria Watts and Audrey Molinare (NY); Michael Sanders and William Boyle (OH): Jim Supanick and Josh Solondz (NY); Carolyn Tennant and JT Rinker (NY); Tor van Eijk (Norway); Eli Welbourne (TX).
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 Dumbo, Participant Gallery, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, Flux Factory, and at the Dalton Gallery in Georgia, and the Silverman Gallery in San Francisco, and at VTape and Trinity Square Video in Canada and the Rag Factory in London. Works were presented at the NY Electronic Art Festival held at Governor's Island, the Electronic Arts Festival sponsored by Harvestworks, the 24th Annual NY Queer Experimental Film Festival and at the Louvre/Tuileries in Paris. Anthology Film Archives hosted a special Tribute to ETC. 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 an advisory for the New York State Media Arts Map, a comprehensive portal website for media arts in the State, www.nymediaartsmap.org. The website is produced by Rhizome and launched at Location One in Manhattan in December 2008. Through Technical Assistance ETC helped organizations attend several conferences and festivals including the AMIA Annual Conference, the 57th Flaherty Film Seminar, Project Zero conference, New Media Consortium conference, SnowFlow, and the Non-Profit Technology Conference.
The 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 2010-11 we helped artists to raise over $ 80,000 in support of independent media projects. Completed projects have seen worldwide exhibition and distribution, and have been supported by the Arcus Foundation, the NYS Council on the Arts, the Open Meadows Foundation, the Silverman Foundation and private contributors.
Past 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; Skip Blumberg for Untitled, a reimagining of a tape created by the artist in 1976; Slawomir Grunberg for the Emmy-award winning documentary School Prayer: A Community Divided; Alex Hahn for Propitious Stars and the Master of the Staring Eyes; 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, Swiss Cultural Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and Khalid Shoman Foundation.
For 2010-11 the following artists have received awards from the New York State Council on the Arts. Jacqueline Goss for The Observers, a feature-length film portrait of the Mount Washington Weather Observatory in New Hampshire. Barbara Hammer for Maya Deren’s Sink, a tribute to Maya Deren, the mother of avant-garde American film. The film evokes her creative spirit through a meditation on the architectural details of her homes. The film was screened at International Berlin Film Festival, Barcelona Womens Film Festival, Frameline Film Festival, and IFC Film Centre. Hammer received a Teddy Award for Best Short Film at the Berlinale. Monteith McCollum for The Good Game inspired by an 1850’s text of outdoor children’s games. Many old games were a blend of the practical with the fantastic. They were as much about teaching acceptable social norms as about entertainment. Greta Olafsdottif and Susan Muska received a major award from Arcus Foundation for Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement, which centers on the love story of Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer, and their very long journey and engagement to get civilly married. The film received Best Documentary at Vues d'en Face, and screened at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Australia, and Identities Queer Film Festival as well as many other venues.
Since 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 2011 supported 17 from around New York State whose work encompasses new media, film and sonic art, realized on the web, in performance, and as installations and interactive and immersive projects. For over 20 years, the program has provided nearly $600,000 directly to artists, to assist with the completion of diverse and innovative projects which challenge the traditional boundaries of media and new media arts.
This year’s requests totaled over $490,000 from over 200 artists in 20 counties across New York State. Finishing Funds is supported in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and by mediaThe foundation. For 21 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. Works have received support from other organizations such as NYSCA, Franklin Furnace and Greenwall Foundation.
The works address a wide variety of topics including the relationship between power and desire, the notion of ‘apology’ as a media trope, the tension between human body and technological object and immersive environments.
Recipients of Finishing Funds 2011 awards are Janet Biggs for Wet Exit, Heather Bursch for Bad Apology (Good Adjustments), Jonathan Cohrs for The Spice Trade Expedition, Kevin Cooley for Skyward, Micah Frank for Junction, Julie Harrison for Potato Wolf, LoVid – Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus for iParade #2: Unchanged When Exhumed, Koosil-ja Hwang for Oh Soul, Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty for Revolving Twilight, Ken Jacobs for Bitemporal Vision: The Sea, William Lamson for Hudson Flow, Jason Livingston for Interstate, Marisa Olson for Easy Listening, Matthew Ostrowski for Scarlet(t), Jacolby Satterwhite for Drawing Desire: Mother's Earthly Delights, Kelly Spivey for there is from nothing and Caspar Stracke for Circle’s Short Circuit Redux.
This year’s peer review panel was composed of Jason Bernagozzi and Karen Brummund. Jason Bernagozzi is a video and new media artist living and working in Rochester, NY. Central to his artistic practice is a desire to investigate and experiment with the significant features of time-based media as an evolving world language. Video, sound and other electronic forms allow him to work out ideas as a real-time process that reflects the impermanent relationships between knowledge and dialogue. Currently working in Ithaca, Karen Brummund is a visual artist who works with ideas about drawing, time, and space. Like her work with Pezo von Ellrichsausen Architects in Chile, Brummund creates time-based drawings of architecture. Photocopies, drawings, or videos of the building cover the building itself. Each public installation inspires a new dialogue about the place, its history and representation.
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 2010-11 we supported 186 artists’ appearances at 49 sponsoring organizations in 18 counties. Audiences at venues totaled over 26,000,while online audiences were estimated at 200,000. Organizations contributed $782,450 toward these media exhibitions, and requested a total of $43,950.
The following organizations received support: Allied Productions, Anthology Film Archives, Art Center and Theater of Schenectady, Bard College, Brooklyn Arts Council, Broome County Arts Council, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Chez Bushwick, Cornell Cinema, Dance Films Association, Dumbo Arts Center, Electronic Arts Intermix, Experimental Intermedia Foundation, Filmmakers Cooperative, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival at Ithaca College, Foundation - Advance of Dance, Hallwalls, Hamilton College, Harvestworks, Here Arts Center, Ignivomous, Image Out, Institute for Electronic Arts,,International Film Seminars, Linda Diamond Dance Ensemble, Loisaida Arts, Media Alliance / Sanctuary for Independent Media, Millennium Film Workshop, MIX, New Dance Alliance, Summer School for Media Arts, Outpost Artists Resources, Rattapallax, Rhizome at The New Museum, Rivertown Film, Roeliff Jansen Community Library, Roulette, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, SITU, Squeaky Wheel, Standby Program, Syracuse University, The Kitchen, The Tank, The Thing, Theater for the New City, UnionDocs, VisionIntoArt, and ZEYBRAH.
Now in its 11th 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 strengthen, stabilize or restructure capacity and services. Professional Development supports training and continuing education through workshops, as well as staff participation in media arts conferences, convenings, and festivals. The Fund is supported by the Electronic Media and Film Program of 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.
The program received 48 requests for over $185,220, an increase of over $40,000 from 2009-10. The program provided support to 39 organizations in 12 counties. Organizations included American Documentary / POV, Anthology Film Archives, Arts Engine, Asia Society, Breakthrough, Brooklyn Arts Council, Children's Media Project, Cinemapolis, Complicated Incorporated, Creative Time, Deep Dish Television, Diapason Gallery, Electronic Arts Intermix, Filmmakers Cooperative, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Flux Factory, Hallwalls, Harvestworks, IMAP, Institute for Culture in the Service of Community Sustainability, Institute for Electronic Arts, International Black Film Festival, Jacob Burns Film Center, Light in Winter, Media Alliance / Sanctuary for Independent Media, Millennium Film Workshop, Museum of Modern Art, NY Women in Film and Television, NYU, Rattapallax, Rhizome at The New Museum, Rivertown Film, Roulette, Standby Program, Tribeca Film Institute, Triple Canopy, UnionDocs, Wave Farm, Women Make Movies, and Woodstock Film Festival.
History and Preservation
The 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 since 1970. 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.
This year ETC will be finalizing plans to donate our videotape collection and archive of ephemera and document to The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art under the direction of Dr. Timothy Murray and housed in the Cornell Library's Division of Rare and Special Manuscript Collections. In April, the Goldsen in collaborate with the Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor and the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF: Ithaca College) hosted a public workshop, Video Art: Practice, History, and Archive. Presentors included Renate Ferro, Sherry Miller Hocking, Philip Mallory Jones, Barbara Lattanzi, Timothy Murray. The session was conducted by Anne-Marie Duguet.
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. In collaboration with Blackhammer, we are planning on a major redesign of the History Project site, beginning in late 2011.
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 capture the cultural environment, technological visions of individuals, and the modes of institutional support present during the early developmental years of media; 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.
This year the site 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 by Intellect Press (UK). This project has received support from the NEA, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the NYU Department of Cinema Studies. Support from the Daniel Langlois Foundation was one of the inspirations for the project. The Emergence of Video Processing Tools presents affectionate case studies of a number of organizations which were concerned with processing tools, from independent media arts centers like ETC and Media Study/Buffalo, to laboratories based at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations around the US, to university-based programs like that at Circle Campus in Chicago. It is intended as a core sample rather than a comprehensive historical survey of the field of electronic image making, with an emphasis on the work done in the Northeast US and especially New York State.
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 received an Artist in Residence Award from the Institute for Electronic Arts (2005-07) for the creation of series of 10 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. This set is distributed by Dave Jones Design.
The Migrating Media project, a partnership of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Squeaky Wheel, Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Experimental Television Center, was developed as a model for new ways to prepare older media for a digital future ensuring a vital contemporary presence for the moving image art of the late 20th century. Migrating Media offers non-profit arts and cultural organizations in Upstate New York a forward-looking and efficient means to safeguard significant video collections of tapes that would otherwise be lost to format changes and tape decay. Migrating Media was born in the Fall 2007 at the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (held at Eastman Kodak in Rochester), immediately following a special presentation entitled History of Video Art: New York Pioneers. The panel, which was organized by Independent Media Arts Preservation (IMAP), featured presentations by Upstate New York arts organizations on the major role our region played in the advancement of media art. Based upon the preservation needs demonstrated that day, Media Matters founder and CEO Jim Lindner resolved to assist our region by donating a SAMMA Solo which simultaneously transfers analog video to multiple digital formats for preservation and access.
The unprecedented donation was meant to spearhead the preservation efforts of arts organizations across New York State, and to save the cultural treasures of our regions videotape collections. Mr. Lindner is recognized in the field of media arts for his commitment to preserving independently produced work, such as videos made by artists and activists, and in 1995 won Anthology Film Archives' prestigious preservation award for his work in the field. He is an internationally respected authority on the preservation and migration of magnetic media and has pioneered many of the techniques now commonly used for videotape restoration.
We have released Experimental Television Center: 1969-2009 a 5 DVD set with 130 page catalog of works created at the Residency Program over the last 40 years. The project manager was Aaron Miller, and the Designer Diane Bertolo and was supported in part by the Digitization Project of the New York State Council on the Arts and mediaThe foundation. The set is distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix and Video Data Bank.