Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism
Notes and discussion: intermedia workshop, pp. 448-454 PDF (5.1 MB)
less the involvement. The easel painter will always preserve the historical approach to an art curriculum. The idea that an artist must work alone in his studio is the excuse society creates to isolate his development, and control the status quo. I have established The Intermedia Workshop at New York University's School of Continuing Education because I feel that today's university can serve as a center for total integration of ideas and experimentation. The university can once again become a leader in shaping the expansion of the future and providing a fielding ground for new ideas and concepts. A school of continuing education can best serve its community for it is open to the public and only a registration fee is required - a university without walls. The tools for our workshop are tape recorders, speakers, projectors, cameras, etc. At the time I approached NYU we had only one tape recorder. We spent three months writing to over four hundred industries discussing our new approach, this new term intermedia. One company sent us a one hundred amp. six volt transformer, and several switch companies sent us a tremendous assortment of switch mechanisms,from a photocell to a program computer. Within the workshop I set out to form an all star team. Steve Bartok and Ted Wolf, both engineers who had previously collaborated with artists, worked with me to set up the technical side of our program. I had met Steve through Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT) about two years ago and we collaborated on a project for Intermedia '68 at the Brooklyn Academy for Carolee Schnemann's kinetic dance group. Ted had worked with Max Neuhause, the musician, and we met at the Park Place gallery one evening when Max was putting on an event. Marilyn Reiss worked in a professional sound studio at the time we met and spent long hours working on tapes while she taught me the media of tape decks, amplifiers and speakers. Bob Fiala collaborated with me in the development of exciting techniques in cinemagraphics, animation in film. We used Bolex Super 8 cameras in 449 experimental macrophotography and polarized light. We later set up an entire animation program for film, and a small sound studio for tape recording and editing. Bob Demchuck and I became carpenters and built projection tables and screens, and used old doors for work tables. Kodak Corp. loaned us carousels, cameras and projectors. I spent a good part of that summer speaking to artists who worked with light and set designers. I had been involved with kinetic light sculpture for the last two years and now I wanted to explore how methods of light can be used as a creative medium. General Electric Corp. and Sylvania Corp. gave us lectures and materials. Throughout the summer months we met and discussed the philosophy of what we wanted to achieve, and where to begin. We had started a school unto itself. During this past year the Intermedia Workshop had a registration of over seventy five students. Because the workshop is open to the public and no technical background is required we have had a varied membership of artists, engineers, undergraduates from other universities, educators, and individuals who worked with media in industry. We worked in the studio, and took trips to centers of media: from a professional recording studio to a demonstration of the Moog synthesiser. Each week during a four hour session we worked with the technology and the projects of light, sound, film, environments. Ted, Steve, and Bob worked with small groups helping them to understand the technological problems of basic wiring, and instruction. Members of the workshop worked with tape recorders and tape cassettes. One project involved learning how to document the city as a sound environment. One group went to South Ferry, another to Times Square, another to Greenwich Village. They went out with tape cassettes and recorded traffic sounds, people in the street, subway trains, bars, the water front, a ferry boat. Later back in the studio we transcribed these sounds onto tape recorders and thus began one environmental project.