EZTV Video Gallery, 1987
EZTV had, since its inception as a video gallery in 1983, been an advocate of the exhibition of computer-based art as serious artistic expression. The roots of this may be found in a tradition between artists and scientists dating back to the 1960′s, when LA based performance artist Barbara T. Smith began to collaborate with scientists and computer programmers at CalTech and elsewhere.
Internationally, in addition to the work of artists focused around conferences such as SIGGRAPH, a number of independent artists, inventors and technologists experimented throughout the 1980′s with the integration of art, dance, and technology. Among the most prolific collaborations was between Ed Tannenbaum and Marci Javril:
This video was recorded live in "real time". The audience saw the dancer and cameraman on stage. The output of the camera went to a special computer controlled frame buffer (256x240 resolution) that had been built. Assistant Richard Greene controlled the pre-programmed effects. The output of the frame buffer was projected live, and was captured to video.
Recorded live in performance at the Fleet Science Center in San Diego.
Dance: Marci Javril
Music: "Flights of Fancy" by Maggi Payne
Image processor designed and built by Ed Tannenbaum
Nightclubs, prior to the term ‘raves’ being coined, turned to a new category of artist - those using large-scale video projectors to show their work. This mix of visual art and loud heart-pounding club music proved to be a winning combination. Artists such as Ron Hays and EZTV’s Michael J. Masucci made careers creating long-form abstract animated video and digital paintings for club culture.
The New Television Workshop at WGBH supported the creation and broadcast of experimental works by artists. One of their projects was the Music Image Workshop, which was primarily a project of Ron Hays, who used the Paik-Abe videosynthesizer to create elaborate visual scores set to music. It was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts from 1972 through 1974. Hays worked closely with WGBH producer and director, David Atwood, to create both live broadcasts and finished works. Additionally, works by other artists were presented under the auspices of the Music Image Workshop.
Hays later produced a short film with Michael Tilson Thomas, called Space for Head and Hands. It was an improvisation by Hays with piano by Thomas. He also produced animation for the Julie Christie movie Demon Seed, and a video art compilation of music, computer graphics and art for Odyssey called Ron Hays Music Image. This animation was produced using the Scanimate system. (sourced from SIGGRAPH)
Excerpts from Michael J. Masucci's "Standing Waves" series of large scale abstract real-time video-art projections for LA's and West Hollywood's pre-rave club culture.
Hollywood was very slow to adapt to the technological revolution developing in the grassroots. The mainstream of contemporary art was also largely in denial. In response and recognition of these global innovations and experiments, EZTV programmed their many exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and performances around the newly accessible digital tools.
Some musicians, however, were quick to adopt the computer-based tools being developed. Keyboard Magazine editor Dominic Milano was an early voice for the integration of visual and sound arts through computing.
Early on and well before the status quo, some of EZTV’s core team - Michael J. Masucci and ia Kamandalu, often in collaboration with artist Victor Acevedo, as well as curator Patric Prince and producers such as Joan Collins, Robert Gelman, and Dominic Milano - fully understood the role in art creation that the digital revolution would take.
By the late 1990′s, Michael J. Masucci and Kate Johnson would further foresee the role that digital innovation would take, being among the first artists to publicly convey the role which mobile communications would take in the early 20th century.