the new social media consciousness c.1970


I was invited to present at the University of Pennsylvania Art History Colloquium in November. My paper looked at the emergence of what Stan VanDerBeek described as a new social media consciousness in his work of the late 1960s, focusing on the transition from his early video work, which he thought of as a form of “electronic assemblage” to the construction of a prototype for a new kind of networked experience machine called the Movie Drome. The paper looks at how his preoccupation with networked accessibility to imaginary archives gave way to experiments with live feedback. It asks how his work helps us think about the equivocal affects that characterize so many forms of contemporary social media. The paper sparked a lively conversation about feedback as a tool of self management and interesting comparisons to the work of Allan Kaprow and Andy Warhol. A warm thanks to everyone who was able to attend and partake in the conversation. Here’s VanDerBeek inside the Movie Drome speaking to his audience before or after a live performance with multiple film and slide projectors.

fig 3 movie drome