In the early 1990s, when I began thinking about moving image as a form of electronic folk art (sharing personal, un-dependent visions of the world with others), I was hungry for context, connectedness and community. I found everything I was searching for (and more) at the Dallas Theater Center in the form of the Dallas VideoFest.
The glorious cacophony of simultaneous screenings and passionate dialogue satisfied my fantasy to experience the entire world in one blink of an eye. This sense of ecstasy is what I’m sure Elvis felt when he plugged into his particular version of a media world (see Gene Youngblood’s Secession from the Broadcast) with a stack of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches in his now famous TV room. This was better than all the cocaine in the world.
It was George Kuchar’s video diaries that struck me the most in those heady days of DVF everything-ness. I’m thinking about “Season of Sorrow” (1996), a lament for Blackie, his recently departed, and beloved cat. In that video George did what only cinema has the potential to do – and without the plodding indulgences of CGI, 4-D, IMAX, or super duper-HD – he resurrected the dead.
These days we can (of course) experience the value of everything-ness on the Web. And although the ability to create our own customized media worlds is a vital ingredient of radical citizenry, we must never forget the unique, communal value of meatspace.
Meatspace moves beyond ones and zeroes. It is all about cracks, pops and fissures. Meatspace celebrates the beauty, unpredictability and messiness of everything in between. It is the place where all our senses come together in necessarily engaged and interconnected ways. Meatspace and the multiplicity of shared, visceral experiences such as DVF reminds us that our often untuned folk-voices represent THE history that is essential to shaping a comprehensive future of cultural representation.