The Videofreex, “Videofreex member David Cort shooting Mayday Realtime,” 1971. Courtesy of Skip Blumberg.

Changing Media and Social Change from Portapak to Smartphone
November 1, 2012, 4–9pm

SVA Theatre
333 West 23rd Street
New York, NY
Free and open to the public

School of Visual Arts presents We’re All Videofreex: Changing Media & Social Change from Portapak to Smartphone, an evening symposium on the genealogy of portable video as seen through the viewfinder of the pioneering collective.

Between 1969 and 1978, the Videofreex produced hundreds of hours of real-time video documents shot with Sony’s Portapak, the then newly-invented portable video camera and recorder. The Videofreex were the first non-news organization to report hyper-local news using consumer technology and broadcast in a variety-format show. They captured the pivotal events and figures of 1970s counterculture. The Videofreex archives include interviews with Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton and activist Abbie Hoffman as well as recordings of street demonstrations, rock music, erotica and performance art.

In considering the legacy of the Videofreex, the symposium investigates the media landscape today. Just as the Portapak (which hit the market in 1967) greatly influenced the Videofreex, the ubiquity of video cameras and broadcasting platforms like YouTube are again reshaping the way stories are told and distributed.

We’re All Videofreex: Changing Media & Social Change from Portapak to Smartphone is organized by art museum professional, educator and MFA Art Practice Department Chair David A. Ross and Paley Center for Media Curator of Television and Video Ron Simon. It is presented by the MFA Art Practice Department with support from the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media, BFA Fine Arts and the BFA Visual & Critical Studies Departments at SVA.

4pm – Part I: “Subject to Change”: Challenging Media
Moderated by Ron Simon
with former network executive Don West, radical editor Ray Mungo and Videofreex members Nancy Cain and Parry Teasdale

5:45pm – Part II: Re-Writing History
with Jon Nealon, Jenny Raskin and the Videofreex: Skip Blumberg, Nancy Cain, David Cort, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Bart Friedman, Davidson Gigliotti, Parry Teasdale, Carol Vontobel and Ann Woodward

7:15pm – Part III: Real Time: Video After the Videofreex
Moderated by David A. Ross
with media historian Dierdre Boyle, documentarian Elizabeth Coffman, artist and Rhizome founder Mark Tribe and Videofreex members Skip Blumberg and Davidson Gigliotti