Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

interesting public lectures at Ryerson next week

Hi everyone
these events are of interest. (+ if you go to one or more of them, could you post your impressions here to the blog?)


A recent announcement of the forthcoming book, BUFFALO HEADS, reads:

“Twentieth-century art history is not just a history of individuals,
but of collectives, groups. Universities and colleges have had much to do
with this through their support of artistic communities and creative
interactions. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Bauhaus was known for this.
In the 1940s, Black Mountain College became a leader in community- based
visual art practice and education. And in the 1970s and 1980s, the
Department of Media Study at the State University of New York at
Buffalo was the place to be. It was there, in 1973, well before any other
university had a program explicitly devoted to media art, that Gerald
O’Grady founded a media study program that is now legendary.
Artists–including avant-garde filmmakers Hollis Frampton, Tony
Conrad, and Paul Sharits, documentary maker James Blue, video artists Woody
Vasulka and Steina, and Viennese action artist Peter
Weibel–investigated, taught, and made media art in all forms, and
founded the first Digital Arts Laboratory. These Buffalo faculty
members were not just practicing artists, but also theorists who wrote and
spoke on issues raised by their work. They set the terms for the development
of media art and paved the way for the triumph of video installation
art in the 1990s.”

The man who oversaw much of that activity was Gerald O’Grady. O’Grady
possesses two PhD’s in medieval literature and was for many years a
teacher of literature and communications at numerous schools
and universities, Dr. O’Grady regards himself as a “philosophical
anthropologist-someone who is interested in culture, the ways culture
transmitted through codes, and in theorizing about the methods used to
examine these ways.” He worked for many years at the State University
of New York at Buffalo, where he directed: the Educational
Communications Center which supplies all media services to the
university; the Center for Media Study, a degree-granting program; and
Media Study/ Buffalo, an extensive community program. Under his
direction, The Center for Media Study at the SUNY Buffalo became one
the major centres of the teaching, research and publication on media;
among the faculty teaching at the Centre for Media Studies during Dr.
O’Grady’s years there were: Hollis Frampton, Paul Sharits, James Blue,
Tony Conrad, and Woody and Steina Vasulka.

Believing strongly in the social importance of understanding media,
one of Dr. O’Grady’s first moves on arriving in Buffalo was to establish a
centre for the public, Media Study/Buffalo. In its first year of
operation, it offered a 20-week workshop of film and video, free to
the community, taught by such artists as Stan Vanderbeek, Ed Emshwiller,
and Yvonne Andersen. “In the beginning,” Dr. O’Grady explains, “the
concept was to get people involved in all the media, looking at different
kinds of image processes-still, moving, video, and so forth. We were hoping
that those people would go out and start little units of their own and
teach others, and some of them have.” Later, Media Study, in addition
to offering workshops in the various media and even in circuit design
(”we think it’s important to give artists access to designing their own
tools”), also serves as an information service and a funding conduit,
and operates several screening programs and a distribution network.
“The principle is access and that’s kind of the system-to give information
and training and competency through access to equipment, access to
work by others, access to distribution of their own work, access to money
outside of our own, and then access to advice on legal and other
problems. Access is a word for environment.” At least four or five
films or videotapes were screened weekly, many accompanied by the artist.

The make-up of faculty who taught at the SUNY’s Center for Media Study
reflected O’Grady’s belief the essential relationship of making to
understanding. “The only people who I thought could really speak
knowledgeably about film and video materials were people who are
practitioners.” For this reason the core faculty consists of Hollis
Frampton, Woody Vasulka, Steina Vasulka, Paul Sharits, Tony Conrad –
most of whom were at once distinguished practitioners of media art and
extraordinary, and widely published commentators on photography, film,
video and digital media.

SUNY Buffalo’s Center for Media Study also offered a summer program
called the “Summer Institute for Making and Understanding Media,”
which offers seven-week courses taught by visiting teachers, a large number
of visiting speakers, and a conference. It was very forward looking: for
example, the topic of 1976 Summer Institute was “Electronic Tools



6:00 PM
Screening of Michelangelo Antonioni’s THE RED DESERT
Rm 313 , School of Image Arts
(Dr. O’Grady will be talking on this film on Wednesday, at 11:00 AM)


9:00 -10:30 AM
Rogers Communications Centre, Rm 329
Screening and Talk on Bruce Conner’s REPORT

2-4 PM
School of Image Arts, Rm 6


9:00-11:00 AM
Screening of Ingmar Bergman’s, THE PASSION
Room 313, School of Image ArtS

11:30 AM -1:00 PM
Talk on Michelangelo Antonioni’s THE RED DESERT
School of Image Arts, Rm 313

1:30-3:00 PM
Talk on Ingmar Bergman’s, THE PASSION
School of Image, Rm 307


10:00 AM
Talk on Marshall McLuhan
School of Image Arts, Rm 9

1:00 pm
Talk on Media at Expo 67
School of Image Arts, Room 334


Fri, January 18 2008 » 1970s, Future Cinema 2, McLuhan, events, talks