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Ant FarmRedux: Pyrotechnicsand Emergence

PATRICIA MELLENCAMP

DURING 1988, AS THE TERRORof the Cold war began to thawand the threeUS television ABC, CBS, and NBC,were stillon networks, top, notyetmergedwithmovie studios or cable channels, butwith CNN, MTV,and HBO loom on ing the horizon, Iorchestrateda research 21st Century year on televisionat theCenterfor Studies at theUniversity Wisconsin-Milwau of a kee. Itinvolved largecast of noted scholars and video artists in weekly seminars and a big international conference. I invited those Icon sidered then to be themost creativethinkers Most did, about media cultureto participate. was a book, Logics of Television, and one result which Iedited.
Sixteen years ago,

there is no evidence in2004 thatthe brilliant media critiqueundertakenbyvideo artistsand scholars from the late1970s through 1980s the has affectedtheUS broadcast/cable/satellite This industry. could explainwhy,duringthe was so easy 2004 presidentialcampaign, it for heads to jump politiciansand other talking war in Iraq back and forth between the current war in as if had and the earlier we Vietnam, learnednothing inthe intervening years?noth about other cultures(then Asian, primarily ing Buddhist; nowMiddle Eastern, mainly Islamic); aboutwars of intervention; noth and nothing With the influx digitalmedia inthemid of and late 1990s, particularly WorldWide the I Web and the Internet,believed that work my on televisioncatastrophecoverage,published in was outdated. my 1992 book,HighAnxiety, and shock of seeing the Thus, afterthe horror attackon NewYork's World Trade Centeron was unnerving notice thatthe TV it to television, on everychannel, including coverage CNBC, the of nel,was repeatingthe primalpattern the assassination. We should have known Kennedy then thathistory, would soon be repeating too, Likeearliercoldwar fear,haunted byan itself. rentterror own foundingimage:the col has its lapse of theTwinTowers. afterthisnational and personal ca Shortly
image of an exploding nuclear bomb, our cur popular stock market and business-news chan ing about Western media effects.

of ly?as an academic objectworthy theoretical and historical analyses other thansociological or anthropological?was slightly scandalous, if
not scorned. Video art, television's and Chicago.

taking television

serious

was stilla rarity artmuseums outside New in


York, San Francisco, Today,

counterpart, televi

sion as a scholarlypursuit isa given, justas video art isubiquitous incontemporary ex art hibitions. I liketo imaginethat1988, thatyear of television, which includeda visitby a crew from Minutes and itsalternative, 60 "Deep Dish of TV,"had somethingto do with thisshift intel lectualand artistic bias. from Unfortunately, anothervantage point,
Patricia Mellen camp is Distinguished Profes

sor Emeritus, Department ofWisconsin-Milwaukee.

of Art History, University She is currently living

at Sea Ranch, on the coast of northern California, and working on a book on death and dating.

tastrophe,"reality" programming grabbed hold of US commercial distracting attention, our TV, as ifreality, which had become too painful,
were a playful genre. Fear of the known?of be

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JOURNAL OF FILM AND VIDEO 57-1-2 / SPRING/SUMMER 2005 BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS ?2005

of ingrejectedas a suitor, eating spiders, of off jumping a bridge,of swimmingindiscarded a animal organs, each situation resembling and each one a mere ob coed fraternity hazing stacle on theway tomedia makeovers and TV celebrity?wasdisplacing the real fearof death, of war, of catastrophe?the fearof the unantici or pated, theunknownthat is terror shock. whilewe All of thisstaged hyperreality, watched hundredsof hoursofwar stories in settingsof devastation?first in Afghanistan, with Israel/Palestineinterspersed then in Iraq, inthe lulls. Actuallytheaction imagesofwar
were sparse,

bedded coverage. Cameras oftenfocusedon with smartbombs urban parkingstructures overhead, demolishing burstinglikefireworks It was, and itstill is inSeptember 2004, a TV war of talk rather thanaction,with few images other thanof theTV reporter, appropriately costumed ineitherkhakisormilitary garb. But lookbehind the reporter'simageand the just wasted cities all resembleeach other intheir
devastation. Increasingly, international news their reportedly "nonhuman" targets.

masquerading

as complete,

em

images resembletheworld ofMad Max (1979), a bombed landscape of detritusand exploded, This backdropof deserted upended machinery. ruinationis imprinting itselfinourmind's
eye?no matter what words are laid over as

worked.They thenpresented these events in and at self-producedscreenings. installations of What are left these rambunctious, ambitious, livepublic events are single-channel video tapes. In2002, theBayArea Video Coalition EternalFrameon DVD,markinga sig restored moment for video art history.1 Around nificant the same time,Chip Lordproduced a DVD col lection Ant Farm of video riffs works, including thathad been previously unavailable.2 Ibelieve thatthreeof these projects/
events?Media Burn, Eternal Frame, and the

without interest. Duringthe 1970s,Ant Farmstaged bizarre, media events, including Media magnificent T. Burn and EternalFrame (with R. Uthco) in 1975,well-fundedyet stillon the cheap, to re as veal theway TV, and media culture a whole,

chorsand politicalpunditsand spinners.Thus, meanings can be polarized,multiplied,and reversed, cancelingany notionof conclusion, or or truth, reality. authorities These celebrity own biased, polarized opinions very take their Stewart's why John seriouslyas truth?whichis on and irony TheDaily Show isso refreshing beloved. That he has become the conscience most respected of themedia (maybeeven its anchor), theonly source outside spin, isnot

or register acknowledge is thattelevisionnews is rarely visual; instead it depends on a few repeated imagesaccompanied by thousands of authoritative words. The "news" consistsof of talking and an faces?TV reporters images

explanation.These afterimageshaunt the po Their litical claims to democracyand liberation. will and painfultruth, unfold aftereffects, their
in time. culture was "Reality" as a creation of media the concern of a clever ifzany group of com

who called themselvesAnt Farm. mittedartists and hippie collective This San Franciscoartistic from lived,played, and worked together 1968 until1978, joiningupwith othergroups like T. R. Uthco for biggerprojects. Forthisband was ofmerry, anonymousartmakers, reality elusive, hard to grasp, but theyunderstoodby themid-1970s that"themedia" would define of for reality us, based on our belief inthe truth
television's founding principle.

AmarilloNews Tapes ([1980] a post-AntFarm Ant projectofChip Lordfrom Farmand Doug Proctorfrom R. Uthco)?are still T. Hall and Jody themost intellectually sophisticated critiques of commercialtelevisionand media culture ever produced.These ambitious,collaborative and short.For works are also clever,playful, Ant Farm,the term"video"must be used cau because video isonlyone stage inthe tiously productionof elaborate events on shoestring art, art, ceptual art,performance and film along with impersonation, stand-up improvisation,
comedy, media political activism, agit-prop theater, analysis, auto mechanics, and engineer budgets, events that involve architecture, con

vision,

works by a magician's sleight Yet, television of hand. Ironically, we knowbut failto what

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own unsettling media ing.By creatingtheir


events, which would cial television, be reported on commer injected Ant Farm's merry men

is accompanied

by the newsman's

voice-over

themselves into history.It always looked like were havingmore funthan the restof the they world.Along theway,Ant Farmsketched a por or of trait, a history, the automobile, the Phan
tom Dream Car, one star ofMedia Burn.3

IntheAmarilloNews Tapes, theartists


in-residence impersonate, apprentice news themselves to, and personnel at a local com

statingtheobvious: thatpeople used buildings and streets thatday, thatthey walked, and that theysat. The anchor's stylizedand caricatured us with thevisuals, trick intonation, together into believingthatthe "news" is significant when infact itis justabsurd,mundane filler, or whether itneeds it takingup itsallotted time
not.

Texas. Doug Hall mercial TVstation in Amarillo, is the anchor,Chip Lordtheweatherman, and We laugh Proctorthe sports announcer. Jody
because when television's mundane conven

In Media Burn,*the artistscreated an event was reported the evening news by per on that and anchors for San Francisco plexed reporters TVstations. (With their1970s fashionsand
their "news" voices, these commercial guys

tionsare analyzed (here through mimicry), and theyare revealedas completely arbitrary strange.Likethe surrealists inthe 1920s, these artistsfrequently used mimicry, knowingthat, likea chameleon, themimic can safelyhide out intheopen. Ihave heard thatJody Proctor's
secret service character was so dead-on that he

gained access to closelyguarded presidential


appearances. In his sunglasses, stiff posture,

than theartists. Just lookand sound stranger who is impersonating whom is the question.) Announcedwith fanfare and hoopla as taking place intheCow Palace, the city'sbig stadium, the event actuallyoccurred inthe parking lotof theCow Palace, whichAnt Farmcould afford to rent one hundredfifty for dollars because the wasn't booked forthe Fourth July. of building
Dressed like astronaut-race car drivers, the

steel jaw, unsmiling eyes, and darksuit and tie, he blended inby,paradoxically,standingout. Sittingbehind the anchor desk, Doug Hall, dressed up ina tie and business suit, seriously
practices, anchorman, or mimics, the delivery of a "real" enunciation of learning the proper

artistsdrove the insulatedPhantomDream Car5 a televisionsets. through wall of flaming


Prior to this big event, ment, and an hence instant that was preserved, this pyrotechnical elaborated, mo recorded,

there was

an "official"

the news. Itisn'tthe contentbut thedelivery that and intonation matter.Chip Lordthenpres ents theweather,with the usual charts,hand
gestures,

appearance by the artist-president, Doug Hall, drivento the podium ina limousineand pro
tected

cockierand more casual than theother two, presents the sports.The artists'body types fit more stentorian;Lord theirroles?Hall is taller, isa tad quiet and geeky; Proctor appears ath
letic and not so smart.

and upbeat

manner.

And

Jody Proctor,

was uncannilysimilarto the real thing and thus visible. The artist-president, blatantly imper PresidentKennedy,de sonatingand mimicking a livered speech based on a GeorgeMcGovern article thathad appeared in RollingStone on the natureof the corporate media and reality. were hawked and souvenirprograms Earlier,

by secret

service

agents;

the appearance

Inanothersegment, the news anchor reports a local fire. Then his voice begins to fade and the shot of him intheTV studio is replacedby
dramatic

audience members interviewed the roving by video recorders/reporters, unlikeofficial who,


TV reporters, remain offscreen and unnamed,

placed bymusic, and we realize suddenly how television is truly visual, how dependent rarely the news ison speech, and howwords can
contain and transform any event. In a third

images of the fire. His words

are re

officesand streets segment,a montage of city

letting people speak forthemselves. The affair, up likea national holiday cel set was a big undertaking Ant Farm, for ebration, more than twenty-five involving participants, including Optic Nerve,not tomention thework afterward editingthefinalvideotape (in 1975, no simple, inexpensivetask).One month later,

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JOURNAL OF FILM AND VIDEO 57-1-2 / SPRING/SUMMER 2005 BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS ?2005

Ant Farm, T. R. Uthco, and others

collaborated

than another your screen ...

on EternalFrame, which Ihave analyzed in depth inseveral publications. EternalFrame, with slippage from "eter the nal flame"on Kennedy'sgrave in Arlington
National Cemetery, is a simulation assassination of a catas in Dallas. It is trophe?Kennedy's a remake of the Zapruder/7/m The recreation moves

am inreality more thananother face on nothing


Iam, in reality, only another link

image on your television

set...

inthatchain of pictures whichmakes up the sum totalof information accessible to us all as


Americans...

tentof the image isno different from the image


itself." While asserts, death was, as the tape Kennedy's both a real and an image of death, far

Like my predecessors,

the con

also

of the assas

sination.

filmimage imprinted ourmemories as Greek in


tragedy, to the copy of the actors' preparations, to a model, the rehearsal, and performance, memory. The copy matches

from the grainy

videotape. The only real is theZapruderfilm,


a black-and-white

fromliquidatingrepresentation, enthroned it the filmimage. EternalFrame critiquesthe on hold of the imageas history our powerful
memories and emotions.

theoriginal, which isonlyan image,an indel ibleone. That historic, silent image,alongwith suspension of disbelief, ismore of a mystery than who killedKennedyand how, the usual concernsbroughtto bear on theZapruderfoot but age. Not "What is reality?" "How is reality
created?" the spectatorial mechanism of disavowal or

Near the end of the tape, a middle-aged man (who resemblesNoam Chomsky) interviewed
outside the San Francisco theater after he saw

thevideotape objects to itsrelianceon an im age: "Theydidn't use anything originalat all." man continues, "either should have, this They own what happened ormade up their told
story...

As the posterannouncingthe showingof


the videotape states, word the Original to a San Francisco art audience Remake Note the image, the of the piece is "an authentic refers to an

True games with it." tingkilledand played little


but his comments reveal our reliance

they took a theme of a real man

get

J.F.K.Assassination." which

on illusion inconstituting and the real. "reality" But thiscomes at the end of the tape,which, like Media Burn, includesaudiences as critics,
spectators, audiences, and then and performers. and Ant Farm had involve it. Live events to create need its own

enough,

"original,"

Zapruder

film. Early in the tape,

the artist-presi

his dent,Doug Hall, reprising uncanny imper Media Burn a month sonation of Kennedy in
earlier, declares: "I am in reality nothing more

EternalFramebeginswith theZapruderfilm, a copyofwhichAnt Farmhad illegally obtained.

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^^^^^^^^^9||^^^^^^|^^^^^H|^^^^^^^^^^H|

2: ||?j?|fl Photo Theartist

the A?fflflHaddresses

Hall) (Doug president

Pnoto Lord bv chip W^^^^^I^SS^^mSl^^^S^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ BSBEmlBmKfm^ of Lord. Courtesy Chip


a The filmis much shorterthan I remembered, slow-mo clip lengthened history, reruns, by by tionand stop-frame of analysis,and trillions
words. As the tape progresses, becomes, "more from audience the reenactment as the bystand fewer er of the assassination ers acknowledge, rors or deviations scandalous event, as or sacrilegious, emerge from the

hotel forthe finalperformance and restagethe as or attraction pear to deeply enjoy it a tourist as liveTV. This audience recreatesthathistori cal audience that linedthe streetand peopled
Zapruder's it turns out, for passersby, who ap

real"?with

Forthese spectators inDallas, akin to jurors at the scene of the crime in Dallas, the standard of the real isstillthe film; where theyremember were when theyheard about theassassi they nationand then watched television.Finally the recreationisencapsulated as artand replayed us for as image, which it alwayswas. The first rehearsalof theassassination (ortheZapruder
film) occurs automobile in a car in front of rear-screen on

expectations.

a the realplayerssimulate an image,turning a filminto liveperformance that ismeasured by


against the "reality" of the famous

film for Kennedy's

motorcade.

Thus,

audiences

which isa memory,or laterinthe tape footage, is the standards of art.The irony that against the standardof the real isa bad "original"film, famousbecause of itssingularity hence its and
aura. Its existence is both the ultimate nightmare. amateur be filmmaker's fantasy and Itcould

jection,flattening depth as ina 1940s Hitchcock


ride. Then

pro

themost famous filminhistory. Overtime, it


has become

tiontoDallas, the scene of the realand the artistic(theoriginaland the copyor forgery)
crime. Rehearsals for the remake are intercut

the group goes

loca

with backstage shots of costuming with and interviews with Jack (playedbyDoug Hall from T. R. Uthco)and Jackie (playedbyDoug Michels
of Ant Farm), who als, acting, comment on dress Sexual rehears difference and masquerade.

The spectatorsof the piece inDallas com which isbeing recre pare itto the "real" thing, as attractionrather ated, they imagine, a tourist
than as art: "I saw pened ... iton television after ithap the charac tourists pho It looks so real now... of these

"reality."

ters look so real." Shots

as is inscribed a simulation;Jackieisplayed perfectly a man ina pinksuitand pillboxhat. by The hesitantactors, leery and fearing of art reprisalinDallas, believing their to be

us the remind thatthey tographing re-creation are impersonating a person in Zapruder, just the crowdfilming Kennedy:"He's re-enactingit
... I'm glad we're here_It Doug was so beautiful." "I Later, an incredulous Hall comments:

was watch thoughtthemost interesting thing

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JOURNAL OF FILM AND VIDEO 57-1-2 / SPRING/SUMMER 2005 BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS ?2005

ingthepeople enjoy itso much ... How could theyenjoy itso much?" This isstillthe critical
question astic

Ipublishedmywork on Ant Farmand guer Dis Global Television; in rilla video?in 1988 in
course as "Video Politics," which later became

Emboldened by thispositive,even enthusi


response, the performers confidently en

of catastrophe

overage.

terthe Kennedy Museum, a place of commerce are and souvenirs.To their chagrin,they kicked
out. However spectator unexpected, and these responses censor of enjoyment commercial

the third chapterofmy 1990 book, Indiscre version in tions;and a shorter My HighAnxiety. was intelevisioncatastrophe largerinterest
coverage, and I uncovered a snug fit between

intothe tape.Audiences ship are incorporated This exist ina dialogue with the re-creation. a a liveeventwas edited into videotape for San Franciscoartaudience, which respondedwith into the following remarks,incorporated a later "bad taste but im versionof the final piece: but pressive," causing "bad dreams, disturbing
entertaining." Thus, audiences are also which histori cal, as are critical responses, change

worked and theoriesofobsession the ways TV and anxiety;hence the title HighAnxiety.I didn't know then,however,thatthe premises ofguerrilla video, adhered to byAnt Farmand drewon the thoughts othervideo communities, Wiener or Norbert of computertheoristslike thattheyanticipatedby twenty years the intel WorldWide Web and lectualpremises of the
the Internet?i.e.,

that,the inventors believed,would create an


"open-source" democracy of the people.

free, open,

two-way networks

with the time and circumstance.

was duringthe 1988 TVconferencethat It Ifirst met the cofounder and mainstayofAnt Farm'sgang of four, Chip Lord. Ialso invited of and Doug Hall, the artistic performer founder
another San Francisco group, T. R. Uthco. Ihad

In the mid-1980s, there were few critical es says on video art that could serve as models. And while there were reviews in small, counter

workof been showingnotonly the collaborative these artists in video artclasses, but their my authoredvideotapes, subsequent individually of whichwere oftenthe result installation museums and galleries. Bothmen pieces in
were art heroes to me. Their work remains truly revolutionary.6

culturalartmagazines, and some big shows at Whit MOMA and the major artmuseums like in inNewYork,theArt Institute Chicago, ney and the PacificFilm Archives inBerkeley,the of history video mainlyexisted inthememories and personal filesof its makers. Inthisera
before Internet information retrieval, was it

to difficult locate even thevideo bible, the still Ant Farm GuerrillaTelevision (which fascinating had designed for authorMichael Shamberg). In

Photo 3: Eternal Frame, by Ant Farm and T. R. Uthco, was filmed inDealey Plaza inDallas, Texas, August 1975. Photo by Agent Cattlewater. Courtesy of Chip Lord.

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addition,

few had seen

able only for expensive rentalat two indepen


dent distributors, in Chicago. one in San Francisco and one

the videotapes,

avail

Archives crowds.

in Berkeley Constance

to standing-room-only Lewallen and Steve Seid, and a wonderful show

the curators,

Ihad an insight would prove invaluable: that


the uncanny connection between contemporary

and theory what Istill liketo call avant-garde work. So Ibegan from premise thatthe the best video artdidn't justembody,or illustrate, was theoryitself. One contemporary theory,it could use essays byGilles Deleuze or jean Bau

drillardto argue the difference between repre sentationand simulation,the relation between and audience, the ties among repetition, image knowledge,and memory,but one could also use thevideotape EternalFrame. IputEternal to Frame,Deleuze, and Baudrillardtogether make thispoint.Over time,artoutlasts and outrunstheory. EternalFrame stillhas lessons to teach,whereas Baudrillardfeelsobvious. essays My context inthese fifteen-year-old was the counterculture?still valid historically as bothmotivationand styleofworkingand twoad work through living. Today Ican see this ditional lenses: first, Internet, the digitalexplo sion of themid- to late 1990s, popularizingthe
earlier work of computer theorists like Norbert

coedited a glossy, beautifully documented was Ant catalog. Ittook time,but finally Farm accorded a well-deserved place inarthistory. the Chip asked me to introduce opening video inJanuary and to participate tape retrospective was ina panel at themuseum inFebruary.I honored to accept. I includethe text remarks of from these twoseparate occasions, and this is
where emergence and pyrotechnics remarks: come in. Here are my introductory

produced

Have you evernoticed that records history comedyand laughterlaterthansorrowand tears?Think BusterKeaton's pirns.And that of more accords a place to individuals history readilythantoanonymousgroups withzany even names? Tomake entrance intohistory art saleable tougher, history preferstangible, objects thatcan increase invalue, not concep video art.AntFarm isbeing tual, performative, at included in Historytonight, last. Art saw thevideoworkofAntFarmalmost Ifirst mid- to late 1970s,on years ago, in the thirty witha fewscatteredbentfoldingchairs, in the basement ofa fairly largeand famousmuseum. mu Video didn't used togetmuch respectfrom
seum culture. Now one wonders a small, dull TV under a dark, musty stairwell,

Wiener and linking founding the premises of Paik GuerrillaTelevision(alongwith Nam June and othervideo artists influenced cybernet by era; ics) to thedigital informational and, sec
ond, the current war

shows could exist withoutvideo installations.


During Uthco's Eternal Frame, Ant Farm and crazy re-creation T. R. wild and of the Za

ifcontemporary

of fear,notdeterminedby the threat a nucle of arwar per se but by the threat a terrorist of act on US soil. Significantly, US military, the which the counterculture worked so hard to discredit and displace, has regained itsplace at the cen terof the country's mythicand economic life. and what remainsrelevant What has lasted, or art, is the independent work, illuminating, on which Iused to hang contemporary theories. an intellectual The theory granted pedigree. from 1988 to 2004. TheworkofAnt Jump was finally Farm celebrated inJanuary 2004, at Art honoredby a retrospective the Berkeley
Museum, a terrific show

in Iraq, the current culture

has become ourmemoryof the pruderplm that Kennedyassassination, Ihad an intenseart momentswhen you know of thoseheightened
you have witnessed experience. You know what Imean? Itwas one

Here was a work thatin thingtruly exceptional. nature minutes explored thevery twenty-four The intermediated of representation. play be tweenstilland moving images, between film and video,betweenperformed and liveaction,
between performer and spectator, between

and experienced

some

ingto othermuseums around theUS. Videos were presented at the renownedPacificFilm

that is currently travel

and history, between sound and im tourism shortand silent, age?the Zapruderpirn is very a single shot,whichwe often because forget ithas borne trillions words and alternative of

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narratives?between between creation and

the real and recreation,

its simulation, between spec

tacleand tribute, almost a Socraticdialogue. is And itisaudacious, fearless, moving,perhaps a bit reckless,and even dangerous. a This tape triggered realmof response that was deeply unsettling and highlyintellectual. was very It from different most video art then, West orEast Coast?video as a play whether

and thing simultaneity a personal recording of Much mechanism forartistsfrom many fields. a was unedited, rough,ofteninvolving of it As Bill certaintedium. thevideo artist Viola once said, "Life withoutediting is not thatin " RosalindKrauss saw an teresting. Theart critic

and inherent deeply boringnarcissism in the me not in the medium, if way artistsused the And tobe honest,AntFarm initially dium itself. used video this way, recording everyday hippie now historically interesting but domesticity, narcissisticand goofllyindulgentthen.
But Ant Farm's were another events, recreated as video art, story. The tapes are a condensa

tionand preservationofambitious collective make up a sophisticatedcritique projects that so of television, along withanticipating many

Ant culture. of theconcernsof Internet-digital both created Farmdissected the television way and fed upon eventsand the way these events
then made current notions history. Like an ant colony, and the of emergent, or swarm, logic, able to zigzag eas

and memory; itenacted thecomplex theoriesof GillesDeleuze; and it gave us a way of analyz and digital thoughtin the Internet culture ing thatisfocus present; itis contemporary theory and ingon ways of thinking acting. Iwant toset thepersonal, anecdotal stage. It a is 1968, the timeof thecounterculture, period commu and kingcollaboratively forming of thin nities,a timeofwar and civilrights protesting, art ofpoliticaland social activism,of intermedia and agitprop theater and an initially idealistic ar drug culture.Twocollege studentsstudying meet at chitecture, Doug Michels and Chip Lord, Tulane.Doug Michels had graduated a year ear lier,in 1967, fromYale. On thebrash strength an essay he had published and an award, he of a had undertaken lecturetour colleges. The of students lovedhis visions and energy. Chip and would meet again thefollowing summer, Doug in August of 1968, inSan Franciscoat an influ entialworkshopwith thearchitect Larry Halprin dancers and architects, that broughttogether
the performative and the architectural. The two

but sider a sophisticatedcritiqueof television, itaddressed injust a few minutes thesprawling theoretical debate during the 1980s and early on postmodernism, simulation,history, 1990s

The up icry. answers to thesedilemmas are left tous, theaudience. In Media Burnand Eternal Ant Frame, Farmnot onlycreatedwhat I con

AntFarmwas a way ofworking withouta central


leader, without

as amongmedia, toexpand and contract a ily withotherartistic groups like group byjoining and poignant TVTV thestillpowerful (remember Four More documentof theGOP convention, each oth Years?) and T.R. Uthco, learning from er,from experience, inprojects feedback,from
that were interactive, nomadic, rhizomatic, ex

hierarchy,

believed that emplaryofa bottom-uplogic that was possible and thatchangewas the anything
optimum state.

Platonic ques Theyalso staged theultimate and represen between reality tion?the relation between thereal and itssimulation?or tation, in theartworld, thequestions of theoriginal mim which are close to and itscopy,or forgery,

as envisioned themselves friends,cofounders, and were aptlynamed architects underground AntFarmby a friend who heard their goals and visions. (They would bothwork inarchitectural at firms various times.) Initially, wanted tochange education, they wrotemanifestos.But this didn't and so they themvery and they had nomoney. The far, get newgroup was about todisband, insearch of work. Then thedean of theUniversity Hous of toncalled, offering Doug Michels a job. The Mi studentshad protested their curriculum; was thesolution there, chels,who had lectured to theprotesting hiredhis students.He, in turn, AntFarmcofounder, were, Chip Lord.There they visiting professors inHouston, at theages
of twenty-three and twenty-four, neither with

Amazing! graduate degrees then.

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struc became involved with inflatable They


tures?nomadic, ephemeral impermanent, inexpensive, architecture. They incorporated

atic thought,likekudzu,moves unpredictably and unexpectedly withouta along thesurface, moving on.7 This is in contrastto noitering,then
arborescent top-down hierarchy, making allegiances, recon

otherartistsand staged performances, notably one at the Alley TheaterinHouston thatused live-action video,slide collages,music, and beloved inflata performers, along with their bles. You can hear echoes of thehappenings of Allan Kaprowand Andy with Warhol,mixed in theagitpropactions of thehistoric avant-garde, takingtheshow on theroad. One piece, staged at a corporatearchitectural firminHouston, where Chip had a second job, was called Plastic
Business Man.

a branchinghierarchy, thatremains inplace, unmovable,witha chain of command. Deleuze's conceptof therhizomatic has been in amplifiedrecently logicsofemergence that are particularlyimportant the in field ofartificial strands of re intelligence. Bringingtogether search from several disciplines inhis wonderful book Emergence, Steven Johnson defines emer
gence as the "movement from low-level rules to

logic, a rooted-tree

structure, with

ness suits,with theirlonghair,and stood next to thevending machines in thecafeteria, with lotsof change, handing out free items.It was just tooweird for theperplexed customers,the called thepolice, who audience, and so thefirm
arrested the performers.

The artist-performers

wore busi

AntFarmofficially expanded beyond its two to includeCurtis Schreier,fromthe cofounders Rhode IslandSchool ofDesign, who workedon Media Burn,building,among other things,the
remote-control Phantom Dream Car; and Hud

higher-level sophistication... [forming systems inwhich] agents residingon one scale start producing behavior thatlies one scale above them"(18). Examples includeants creating colonies and urbanitescreatingneighborhoods in cities.According toJohnson, global order is builtout of local interactions, mixingstability and change, decentralized,and without pace
makers

sonMarquez, a "rear artistinvolved withCadil lacRanch,which,by theway, had a budget of only threethousanddollars. After1978,as an individual artist, Chip continuedhis critique, orportrait, middle-class consumerculturein of and videotapes. Now Chip is the installations chairof thenew Filmand DigitalMedia Depart ment at University California, Santa Cruz. of When Chip began his career,actuallyhis adult he and change educa life, wanted to influence tionviaAntFarm. Today, withfourhundredand he fifty majors ina superb department, isdoing just that:creatinga community artistsand of
learners.

Thesimplestexample isslimemold. Under theright withno leader,orpace conditions,


maker, individual slime-mold cells unite, or

(17-19,74-80).

"aggregate," toforma single largeentity for return to group action.Aftertheaction, they theirindividual status. The key is thatall the
cells are the same.

cellswithunique abilities that give commands. The collectiveaction isdecentralized,bottom The most familiarexample is that a colony of to often thousandants, "each limited a meager
up rather than top-down.

There are no special

leader

And here are my remarks from the later


panel:

I After watching thevideotapes recently,have on some new thoughts AntFarm,expressed in the title thisessay?emergence and pyrotech of nics. Youwill notice thatI return theory. to Deleuze provides a generalmodel ofemer gence inhis comparisonbetweenwhat he calls
the rhizomatic versus the arborescent?rhizom

vocabularyofpheromones and minimal cogni tive skills?collectively engage innuanced and such as find improvisational problem-solving" ing theshortestroutes tofood sources, chang withno ing in response toexternalconditions, one incharge (Johnson 74). Inant colonies, individual agents "payattentionto theirim mediate neighbors ratherthan wait fororders above. Theythink and act locally, from locally but their collectiveactionproduces global behavior" (Johnson is 74). The latter an apt AntFarm?although, at thesame descriptionof the time,thefewcoremembers limit analogy.

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Ant colonies solve problems through statistical probabilities:


Decision-making

working,

needs

son calls the "rules"of emergence (78-79): "More isdifferent" "Ignorance isuseful" (it'sbetternot to have one cell in yourbrainthatcan takeover) "Encourage randomencounters" (gain from virtuesof "haphazard encoun the
ters")

pattern,

structure?what

John

sands of individuals, of makingthemargin

is spread

out over thou

error rather small... for every ant that over estimates, there's one that underestimates ... with a large enough colony, the two will cancel each other out, and an ac eventually

curatereading emerge.(Johnson will 77)

Forfifty intel years now, researchon artificial has been based on thefact thatcomput ligence ers can activelylearnon their own,and predi cated on a "bottom-upintelligence" ratherthan a "unifiedtop-down model."As WillWright,the creatorof thecomputer said, game SimCity, We are starting think to using theconceptual becomes increasingly erydaylife populated
by artificial emergence, these systems?both where "bottom-up we will find our in corporate America, intelligence" has started tools of bottom-up systems_As our ev

"Look for patterns inthe signs" attentionto neighbors" "Pay Thefundamentallawof emergence,or "swarm logic," is thatthebehaviorof individual thantheoverallsys agents is less important move away tem.These "distributed networks"
emergent systems are also "rule-governed,"

hierarchies. However, fromtraditional top-down and, according toSteven Johnson,

more and more on the logic selves relying of

their for and and capacity learning growth


experimentation derives from their adher ence to low-level rules_If any of these more precisely, the to put it that make up these systems?sud denly started following their own rules... systems?or, agents

as the to replace "quality management" mantra of the day, and in the radical, anti globalization protest movements, (qtd. in

Johnson 66-67)? movements and Theantiglobalization protest


Howard Dean's 2003 Democratic

thesystem would stop there'd be working: no global intelligence, a teeming just anarchy
a swarm without logic.

of isolated agents,

paign are distributed organizationsnamed after ant colonies and slimemolds. "Allemergent systemsare builtout of the two-way connectionsthat feedback, foster your higher-levellearning_You influence you" neighborsand yourneighbors influence (Johnson 120). The interviews audience mem of

primary

cam

(181) When Doug Michels decided topursue his indi vidualprojects, thegroup disbanded in 1978.1 much of the ten suspect that years, Chip during Lordhad been holding "theanarchyof isolated
agents"

bers duringAntFarm'sperformances and the inclusion thesemoments, along withsub of sequent TVcoverage, in the later videotapes, Ant illustrate Farm's relianceon feedback. The intelligence ant colonies "derivesfromthe of densely interconnected feedbackbetween ants thatencountereach otherand change their be havioraccording topreordained rules.Without that be feedback, they'd a randomassemblage"
(Johnson 120-21).

The ultimatequestion ofemergent systems is Osama Bin Laden: applicable to thesearch for "Howdoes the whole develop a life when cycle theparts are so short lived,"as in the life of ants or suicide bombers (82)? "Thepersistence whole over time?theglobal behavior that of the outlasts any of itscomponent parts?is one of thedefiningcharacteristics complexsystems. of Generationsofants come and go, and yet the
colony matures, grows more stable, more or

at bay.

and way of thinking Change, so centralto this

this 82). Unfortunately, did ganized" (Johnson nothappen toAntFarm, which ended when the corepartnershipbetweenChip Lordand Doug

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49

Michels ended. Yet the2004 show at theBerke resembleda Museum, anothergroup effort, ley a largecolonyofartists,stillworking reunionof to change the world. In the and mid-1980s, Ibegan thinking about AntFarmand popular culture, writing believing thatvideo arthad much to reveal aboutmedia culture, my particularly workon television and catastrophecoverage. Iwill end, in2004, withart.AntFarmdidmake art, impor tant art,as well as critiquing popular culture. comes inagain.9 This iswherepyrotechnics Inhis reviewin theSan FranciscoChronicle Steve Winnwrote, theBerkeleyretrospective, of a reference thecatalog forthe to including

a fleeting moment offireworks, "product" the

combustedand thusunable toenter thecircuits

of exchange of tangibleobjects. Iam thinking theoverarching gestures of of the twotapes and thereasons forsummoning so much energyfortwo largeprojects. In Media moment of collision repeated in the the Burn,
videotape?one American dream, the Phantom

Dream Car, thespace mission, high technol ogy crashing intoanother?the wall ofburning
TVs?wars, disasters, violent

collision course ofadvanced technology. The moment is a pyrotechnical one, which lastsonly a fewseconds, anticipatedand elaborated by thevideotape. The entireeventexistedforthese fewseconds. In EternalFrame,thekeygestures ofKennedy'shead flungback, thenslumping and Jackie forward, simultaneously jumping to leave thecar aremovements inopposite direc
tions: one death, the other survival. These ges

information?the

show:

Cadillacburrowinto Seeing thatrefashioned a tower flame-licked consoles isboth TV of


hilarious

a futile gesture quixotic apocalypse,a grimly


that sets one American luxury car on the open

and sad, now as much as ever.

Ifs

course with thedespoiled dream machinery


of TV.... Critic Michael

fantasy (the proud road) on a collision Sorkin compares

and praises Ant Farm for its "lusty noncon ... What began as a rejection of formity.'' formalist architectural rigors Modernism's that may have made invideo. itsmost

to thegroup'sdefining spirit Baudelaire's

turescomprise memoryand trigger affect.It's as if theenergyand laborwere embedded in all are im thesefewseconds; they plosive, imprint on ourmemories as affects, as ing themselves This iswhy these videos still resonate emotions.
with meaning, minds. the very imprint of history on our

a evolved into free-floating of thinking way


lasting imprint

was takenby thephrases "grimly / quixotic There is a gesture" and "lasting imprint." in lastingimprint theseworks,and Iwill con to out its clude bybriefly attempting figure hold on us. Inotherwords, Iwant togo a bit deeper than these criticalinsights, figuring outwhy thishappens. Near theend ofhis life, Freudobserved that"every affectis a reminis to this Iwill add thatitis config cence"^)10; ured through gesture, orwhat Baudelaire called "theemphatic truth gesture in the important of moments oflife"(qtd. inBarthes, "Third"56).11 I love these two phrases?"every affectis a reminiscence" and "theemphatic truth ges of moments of life"?and I turein the important will combine them,inflected pyrotechnics, by

Thisartofgesture, ofperfectinstants,is akin to thatof thefetishist?notof theperverse kind, thedirty man offilm theory.12 fetish old This istcuts out the pure segment of the tableau, inan act thatchannels emotion. Thefigure,
a gesture, a memory, "becomes the sublime

substituteof meaning?it is this meaning that own isfetishized!" Itis this meaning, one's very thatis ecstatic.Barthes recognized meaning, this inSergei Eisenstein, that"this instant will be. ..a hieroglyphin which can be read at a single glance ...the present, thepast, and the future...the gesture bears theweight ofa his ("Diderot"73). tory" Deleuze's aestheticof thecinematic, which
critically draws on Eisenstein's essays, can be

into these electronic works. Move transposed calls the movement ment, or whatDeleuze

to image, is not limited cause-effectlogicof or figures "moving"through thenarrative, to


space, or to cameras dollying, tracking. Action

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JOURNAL OF FILM AND VIDEO 57-1-2 / SPRING/SUMMER 2005 BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS ?2005

is onlyone kindof movement; theothersare and affection (Deleuze Cinema \). perception We are strangely, and deeply,moved by these bear the gestures that weightofhistory. todo withbeforeand after, withsuccession ... Time imagesare not things happening in butnewforms coexistence, time, of ordering,
transformation" even wanted "Time images," for Deleuze, "have nothing

rageous,

and HudsonMarquez. Theyattended the show


and answered

endeavors?Chip

Lord, Curtis Schreier, later in the evening.

Ant think Farmbelieved they could,or thatthey US culture. wanted to transform However,they a triggering chainof local interactions thereby At thatcouldspread globally. a certain point,as into Engels argued, quantitytransforms itself waterbecome a lake. And quality?molecules of I think social and cultural thisis thequalitative Not bad fora group of then shifttheylongedfor. architects. scruffy The January 2004 show at the PacificRim to Archivespaid tribute the sublimemedia events created byAnt Farmand to thevisionar ies behind these stillextravagant, perhaps out
their personal, local worlds?their own lives, to, transform the world, or even

("Mediators"

282-83).

Idon't

For his me, theopeningwas about replaying When you liveand teach longenough, tory. of yourentire liferepeats itself?with, course, differences. significant The exuberantand significant show opened, at the Berkeley Museum, a big Art ironically, modernistedifice thattypifies "brutalist the style"Ant Farmrebelledagainst. The crowd was enthusiastic,filled with reunion memories and stories,but a bit aged around the edges, on liketheartifacts exuberantdisplay: one butmainlyhand drawings,typewrit inflatable, ten proposals and letters, and photographsof
projects. These extensive and

questions

fulpaper materialswere salvaged from the Ant Farm'sstudio at Pier40 inSan 1978 firein Schreierand Chip Lordhad Francisco.Curtis
saved them formore than twenty-five years,

curiously

beauti

anticipatingsuch an event.The showwas like a treasuredhighschool scrapbook burst into a at life, little frayed the edges but ambitious in

Photo 4: Curtis Schreier and Chip Lord at a Berke leyArtMuseum student event, an inflatable de sign and building contest. Courtesy of Chip Lord.

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JOURNAL OF FILM AND VIDEO 57.1-2 2005 / SPRING/SUMMER BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

51

and dated, a spirit. Itfelt paradoxically youthful digitalera. The surpriseobjectwas thePhan tomDream Car itself, longstored ina garage in worn but stillproud and Kansas City. Itlooked
amazing. Because Ant Farm focused on process show more paper-based critique of media in the computer

The showwas a tribute Doug Michels, artist. to


his friend, artistic partner, and group, who died in June 2003 cocreatorof from an acci the

thanproduct, itsartifacts consisted of plans,


drawings,

was the tracesand fancifulideas.Also, this workof a loose collectiveof housemates dur ingthe druggy, dopey years of theearly1970s,
when art was more about play and community,

and correspondence?a

of

dental fall,as the showwas being created.The catalog isdedicated to himas well. Ant Farm ended in1978,when Doug went to pursue his Australia.But Chip Dolphin Embassy project in me very much about thistime, didn't tell which, one Isuspect,was a difficult for him.Doug's
father, a conservative, retired air force lawyer,

stillsaddened by the recentloss of his son and stillbewildered by thatson's lifestyle and
art, was members in attendance, and as were other family who former Ant Farm associates

about droppingout and turning than it on, was aboutwork. The show, liketheir youth, was colorful, with a lookand feel enthusiastic, that resembledcomic books inan era before Art computers. was inthe living, as politics just were inthemaking.The hopeful, joyousenergy more that wanted tomake theworld a better, peaceful, participatory place could stillbe felt inthe tracings youthfulidealismon thegal of
lerywalls.

had worked on various projects throughout the a years. The opening felt bit likea huge family
gathering. show was

Thus, inaddition to being an artevent, the


a celebration, a memorial, and a re

an At theopening, an older guy burst into Italianlovesong as hewalked through the


was I surprised because Ididn't know

union?and theAnt Farmers,liketheirsupport ers and fans, were nowmuch older. Some still had longhair inponytails,althoughmost had was that, Another irony outfits. updated their like the counterculture notoutside is Chip Lord, themuseum, outside powerand influence, but are theactiviststudentsand artists? Where is their war, thewar in Iraq? protestagainst this It'sas if power has notbeen clearlypassed the
to a new generation, claimed. as Kennedy so famously rather inside, teaching and writing. But where

show.

thathewas an old Ant Farmer and thathewas


re-creating Romeo an Ant Farm performance, His age now was "Johnny at Yale." very incongru

ous; what had been youthful high jinksnow was out this resembleddementia. Itturned a stuntthatLordand Marquez had dreamed the up, completelysurprising curatorsand the crowd.Curtis Schreierand Hudson Marquez, theother twoofficial Ant Farmers, circulated and told storiesabout thegroup's studio in San Francisco. of Marquez isa great teller long us back to the sheer fun the of tales, taking many intheaudi past. TheAnt Farmers,like
ence, are almost in their sixties, as am I.Their

Icontinue to be surprisedbyChip Lord's most shy,a slight-to-small man,with youthful features.His voice is notassertive, but almost hesitant.He has a sweet smile and a ready about this laugh.Yet there isa steady surety
gentle, reclusive demeanor. He is quiet, al

appearance was evidence of their age, as the were deaths of Doug Michels and Jody Procter of reminders ourmortality. the energyand But
demeanor seemed so much

humble artistthatsuggests leadershipand Alongwith cofounding organizationaltalent. Ant Farm,he held projects and, Isuspect, crazy various talents together, participantsand their the logistics and directingthe orchestrating process of the events, supervisingfinaledits on
the tapes, manner. and arranging

we get to be sixty? was elegant inan Italiansuit and Chip Lord must have seemed a long T-shirt. That night timecomingforthisdedicated, hard-working

younger.

How did

all formances, inhis unobtrusive decisive yet Likehis name, Chip, a diminutive, does he not have theoutsize ego of so many artists;he

the subsequent

per

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JOURNAL OF FILM AND VIDEO ?2005

57-1-2 / SPRING/SUMMER 2005 BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

torn ^^^^^^^^^ g^^^KiS ^^^^^^^^^^N^^^^^^^^HHllH^H^^B^^^^^^^I ^^^^^^^^H^^^^^^^^^^^^^BHB^^^^^^H


just continues tive work. He to work, make is an tapes, and share

now Dream Photos by Courtesy

hiswisdom through teachingand administra


involved, careful adminis

trator, he does notbrandishany tacticsof yet


power. quarter most Recently, as a visiting professor for a in 2004,1 was surprised to learn that were unaware

Ironieindeed. Forhewas their when he age founded Ant Farm in1968; hewas their age to when he trekked Dallas in1974 to film the
recreation

of the student-filmmakers

of of the international program reputation their chair. this Only well-publicized retrospective, Timesand with its great reviews intheNew York San FranciscoChronicle,had brought Chip's
earlier accomplishments to their attention.

an new theway he taughthimself entirely medium, video,which he perfectedbymaking WTV in1972?particularlythe still tapeswith Four More Years, about theGOP con brilliant vention thatnominatedRichardNixon. War radicalizedChip (andme TheVietnam who proceeded to teachingcareerswithViet
and so many intellectuals of my generation,

of the Kennedy

assassination.

Along

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53

nam as a founding event,opposition towar as a premise),as it did so many othermen of draft thedraft difference age, being one critical between thewar in Vietnamand the current war in Iraq.The threat posed by thedraftto US males of a certainage played no small part movementof increasing increatinga protest around college campuses intensity, particularly where students had notonly the energybut the timeand money to organize, to studyand learn

the summer, Chip got a job at an architecture firm and lived inNorthBeach, walking towork. He grew his hair (raisingthe ire his father) of and took towearing bell-bottoms. The drug
culture had begun.

about the Vietnam war, and then to protest. was a middle-classwar, including manywhite war men; Iraq isa working-class withmen and women ofmany colors.The lackof a draft might explain themissing youthprotest. was Chip's embrace of the counterculture was also typical the era. of yet it unexpected, Named afterhis father, Charles L. Lord,he was an average, happy (ifreclusive),suburban who came of draft middle-class child age dur War. Chipwas raised ina small ingtheVietnam where his father Connecticuttown,Colebrook,
an accountant for a clock company and was

was a substituteteacher.His home hismother was surroundedby country estates owned by


wealthy

met. San Franciscobecame Doug Michels first home. He still livesthere. When Ant Farmended, he had a degree inarchitecture(havingpassed the licensing exam in1972),was approaching forty, and needed to pay the rent. Chip began teaching in of San Diego's Visual the University California, ArtsDepartment, where he stayed from 1982 until1987,making single-channeltapes and video-installationpieces. He didn't sell much work. The market for video is limitedfor many
reasons, then, sales including were the medium's

became a separate social group incollege. Chip and fourth excelled inhis third years atTulane; were his and presentation conceptualization lessons he had learnedfrom strongpoints, Warhol's artpractice.Chip supported the Andy presidentialcandidacy of EugeneMcCarthy in 1967 and 68, the same periodwhen he and

The dopers,

or bohemians,

and ephemerality.For most video artists ibility


few and far between.

reproduc

brookConsolidated School, just125 students in eightgrades. Chipwas a well-behaved student and later attended highschool inFlorida, inSt. his life, Throughout Chipwas fascinated, perhaps obsessed, with cars; he drew them and their and decorated his bicycle to drivers, resemblea hot rod?developingwhat he calls
a "hot rod aesthetic." His book, Automerica, Petersburg, living in an upscale suburb.

gentlemen

farmers. He went

to Cole

stillare,with the exception of a fewartists like GaryHill and BillViola. In1988, Chipwas of
fered a tenure-track assistant

They

was the culmination thispassion forcars of Ant Farmbut also inhis individual prevalent in Not pieces, including TopGun,Motorist,Easy and others. His critiqueof cars issimul Living, of taneouslya portrait middle-class suburban
culture and an autobiography.

was the University California, of Santa Cruz; it a chance to exchange his adjunct, part-time job fora professional career. He left graduate a students and an artdepartmentfor loosely affiliatedundergraduatefilm program ina the ater department.Duringthis time,he lived in
Santa Cruz.

professorship

at

in1993, Chipmarried LisbethHaas, a profes sor at Santa Cruz,gaininga stepdaughter inthe process. His art tookhim to Japanforseveral big projects.At Santa Cruz,heworkedwith his ment. That departmentnow has a thriving
undergraduate major, and an colleagues to create a separate media depart

Chip attended Tulane University, enrollingin and practice,ofmak itscombinationof theory and thinking. years between 1964 and The ing for 1966were transformative Chip?triggeredby theBeatles' visit to theUS, longhair,and San In Franciscoat the dawn of the counterculture.
their five-year architecture program. He loved

graduate degree isprojected.Now,one might ask how an aging hippie could livehappilyever after ina university bureaucracyof infighting and territorial battles. Isuspect thatthishas somethingto do with hismiddle-class subur

interdisciplinary

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JOURNAL OF FILM AND VIDEO 57-1-2 2005 / SPRING/SUMMER BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS ?2005

ban background, which taughtso many of us


about contradiction, compromise, and appear

Sutherland and is distributed by Facets video; see <www.facets.org>. 3. InThe Motorist, a single-channel videotape from 1991, Chip Lord drives the car inacross the country, through a landscape of diners and gasoline stations, then exports itto a Japanese buyer who has been influenced by a story by Doug Michels. It is a journey through American culture, moving from the 1950s to the late 1980s, when Japan had become an economic giant. 4. Media Burn byAnt Farm (Chip Lord, Doug Mi chels, and Curtis Schreier) has a long list of volunteer production and postproduction credits: notably Tom

ance, among other things.Chip isa successful administrator?he isbeloved by his university thedeans, and, from what Ican gather, staff, the restof his faculty. And this is where his to commitment community, which he tested intheAnt Farmcollective living experience,
comes in.

Chip has released threevideo-installation Movie Map, projects since 2000?El Livahpla, and ElZocalo.13 Hismain project forthepast twoyears has been orchestrating Ant Farm the and speaking about theaspira retrospective tionsand achievementsof thegroup.As the show has traveledto othercities and venues, the including Santa Monica Museum ofArtand theUniversity Pennsylvania,the reviews of have been enthusiastic,almost reverential.It's as ifittook the culturetwenty-five years to un was doing. Inthe Los derstandwhat Ant Farm a Angeles Times,David Pagel spoke for genera tionthat isdiscovering Ant Farmforthe first timeand findingits work brilliantly relevant: as "Whenever anyone asks me what I lookfor a criticIsay, 'Something I'veneverseen before
... or even imagined.' These experiences are

Weinberg as executive producer, Optic Nerve as the lead video crew, and members of Videofreex. The original version, edited at the Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University,was twenty fiveminutes and was transferred fromhalf-inch

open-reel tapes to the broadcast quad format through one of the first-available time-base correctors. It was recently partially restored as a twenty-four-minute version on the Ant Farm Video DVD project. 5. Reengineered by Curtis Schreier. 6. Doug Hall taught at San Francisco State, creating brilliant installations. For a while he focused on power and the media and sounded a bit likeMichel Fou cault. Later his shows turned to archival excavations of places where knowledge is performed or stored, like archives. He is a wonderful artist indeed. 7. See the slim book On the Line, by Deleuze Guattari. and

available inabundance at theSanta Monica


Museum of Art_I've never seen like 'Ant Farm, 1968-1978'." The show anything is on its

10. InHigh Anxiety, Ielaborate obsession.

8. Emphasis on this new way to "think" inthe original. 9. Consider the wonderful essay by Jean-Francois Lyotard on avant-garde cinema and pyrotechnics. Freud's model of

will be a homecoming way to Houston (which of sorts for Ant Farmers),then toGermany, and thenon to New Haven and Yale laterin2005. Chipwill continue to be the spokesman, a man who has devoted his lifeto art,tovisionary play,and to teaching,believing thatart,not
money; thusiasm, collaboration, not cynicism, not competition; could create and en new ways

11. In "The Third Meaning," Barthes elaborates his analysis of Eisenstein's films, focusing on their still rather than theirmoving images.

12.1 firstencountered this idea of another sort of fetish ina great essay by Felicity Collins. She introduc es the notion of a "cinema of gesturality," a cinema that separates body fromvoice. It is an overlooked essay. 13. See the artist's Web site, <arts.ucsc.edu/tac ulty/Lord/>, foravailability.

of thinking actingand being intheworld. and We can see his commitment make a more to of harmonious,energized,playful community
equals. -.

REFERENCES
Barthes, Roland. "Diderot, Brecht, Eisenstein." Image, Music, Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill Image, Music, Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. 52-68. Collins, Felicity. "A (Sad) Song of the Body." Rev. ofA Song of Ceylon, dir. Laleen Jayamanne. Screen 28.1 (1987): 78-90. and Wang, 1977.69-78. "The Third Meaning."

NOTES
1. The Bay Area Video Coalition can be reached by mail at 2727 Mariposa Street, 2nd Floor, San Fran cisco, CA 94110, or at <presdvd<?)bavc.org>. 2. The Ant Farm collection was produced by Starr

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JOURNAL OF FILM AND VIDEO 57-1-2 / SPRING/SUMMER 2005 BY THE BOARD OFTRUSTEES OFTHE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

55

-.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema I: TheMovement-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Minneapolis: U ofMinnesota P, 1986. "Mediators." Incorporations. Ed. JonathanGary and Sanford Kwinter. New York: Zone, 1992. Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. On the Line. Trans. John Johnston. New York: Semiotext(e), 1983.

Mellencamp,

-. -, -.

Patricia. High Anxiety: Catastrophe, Scandal, Age, and Comedy. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1992. Indiscretions: Avant-Garde Film, Video, and Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1990. ed. Logics of Television: Essays in Cultural Criti cism. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1990. "Video Politics: Guerrilla 7V,Ant Farm, Eternal Frame." Discourse 10.2 (1988): 78-99.

Freud, Sigmund. The Complete Psychological Works of Strachey. Vol. 20. Sigmund Freud. Ed. and Trans. J. London: Hogarth, 1959. 24V0IS. Johnson, Steven. Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. New York: Scrib ner, 2001. Lewallen, Constance M., and Steve Seid, eds.Ant Farm, 1968-78. Berkeley: U of California P, 2004. Lord, Chip./lufome/7Cfl;/l Tripdown U.S. Highways fromWorld War II to the Future: A Book. New York: Dutton, 1976. Lyotard, Jean-Francois. "Acinema." Trans. Paisley N. Livingston. Wide Angle 2.3 (1978): 52-59.

Pagel, David. "Madcap Was the Tenor of the Times." Rev. ofAnt Farm, 1968-1980. Los Angeles Times 12 June 2004: E8. Schneider, Cynthia, and Brian Wallis. Global Televi sion. Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 1988. Shamberg, Michael. Guerrilla Television. New York: Holt, 1971. Winn, Steve. "Ant FarmWorks Leave Appreciation for Nonconformity." Rev. ofAnt Farm, 1968-1980. San Francisco Chronicle 23 Feb. 2004: Di.

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