On Thursday April 6th at 4:30 pm, Associate Professor Erica Levin will present her recently published book, The Channeled Image: Art and Media Politics After Television (University of Chicago Press, 2022) at the Wexner Center for the Arts in the Film and Video Theater. The talk will include clips from some of the works featured in the book.
Following the integration of television into the fabric of American life in the 1950s, experimental artists of the 1960s began to appropriate this novel medium toward new aesthetic and political ends. Groundbreaking artists like Carolee Schneemann, Bruce Conner, Stan VanDerBeek, and Aldo Tambellini developed a new formal language that foregrounded television’s mediation of a social order defined by the interests of the state, capital, and cultural elites. The resulting works introduced immersive projection environments, live screening events, videographic distortion, and televised happenings, among other forms. For Levin, “the channeled image” names a constellation of practices that mimic, simulate, or disrupt the appearance of televised images. This formal experimentation influenced new modes of installation, which took shape as multi-channel displays and mobile or split-screen projections, or in some cases, experimental work produced for broadcast. Above all, she asks how artistic experimentation with televisual forms was shaped by events that challenged television broadcasters’ claims to authority, events that set the stage for struggles over how access to the airwaves would be negotiated in the future.