Excerpt from an irreverent documentary produced by
video pioneers covering the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami
Beach, Florida. This was truly the first major news event to be covered by
portable video cameras. The tape is experimental, informative, and
In this excerpt, Michael Shamberg is interviewed by a magazine reporter.
He explains TVTV's philosophy of small format video. They are not
interested in mass media because it is inherently ineffective, and instead
advocates the use of special purpose media. After the interview, we then
see "The way it came out", ie the published article. Instead of
the well-thought out philosophy that Shamberg explained, the article
describes them as a group of hippies who like to chill out and smoke pot
in the booth.
Producer: Skip Blumberg,
Nancy Cain, Frank Cavestani, Steve Christiansen, Mike Couzens, Bob Devine,
Stanton Kaye, Chuck Kennedy, Anda Korts
Production Company: TVTV
Audio/Visual: sound, b&w
BURN: A video art piece examining the media, particularly Television news.
On July 4, Independence Day, 1975, a "media circus" assembles at
San Francisco's Cow Palace Stadium. A pyramid of television sets are
stacked, doused with kerosene, and set ablaze. Then a modified 1959
Cadillac, piloted by two drivers who are guided only by a video monitor
between their bucket seats with the image from an Sony AVC-3400
Video camera located in the towering dorsal fin, smashes through the
pyramid destroying the TV sets.
Preceding the event are actual clips from various TV news broadcasts that
covered it (most of the TV reporters make the comment that they "didn't
get it"; coverage of the "media circus" at Cow Palace; and
a speech given by an imitator of the late President John F. Kennedy who
explains the message of Media Burn. Click the 'Media Burn" Logo to
watch this unique movie at archive.org.
NOTE: Observe the Portapak AVC-3400 camera
used in the dorsal fin of the car! Also see how many Sony AV-3400
Portapaks (AKA Video Rover II) you can spot in the duration of this
movie. Notice also the traditional media that was on site was
shooting 16mm film not any form of video back in those days. -Ed Sharpe