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Stan Vanderbeek Stan VanDerBeek in front of his environmental movie theatre Movie-Drome at Stoney Point, New York, c. 1966

Stan VanDerBeek (January 6, 1927 – September 19, 1984) was an American experimental filmmaker known for his collage works. [1]

A pioneer in the development of experimental film and live-action animation techniques, Stan VanDerBeek achieved widespread recognition in the American avant-garde cinema. An advocate of the application of a utopian fusion of art and technology, he began making films in 1955. In the 1960s, he produced theatrical, multimedia pieces and computer animation, often working in collaboration with Bell Telephone Laboratories. In the 1970s, he constructed a 'Movie Drome' in Stony Point, New York, which was an audiovisual laboratory for the projection of film, dance, magic theater, sound and other visual effects. His multimedia experiments included movie murals, projection systems, planetarium events and the exploration of early computer graphics and image-processing systems.[1]

VanDerBeek wrote: It is imperative that we quickly find some way for the entire level of world human understanding to rise to a new human scale. The scale is the world' The risks are the life or death of this world. The technological explosion of this last half-century, and the implied future are overwhelming, man is running the machines of his own invention… while the machine that is man… runs the risk of running wild. Technological research, development, and involvement of the world community has almost completely out-distanced the emotional-sociological (socio-'logical') comprehension of this technology. The 'technique-power' and 'culture-over-reach' that is just beginning to explode in many parts of the earth, is happening so quickly that it has put the logical fulcrum of man’s intelligence so far outside himself that he cannot judge or estimate the results of his acts before he commits them. The process of life as an experiment on earth has never been made clearer. It is this danger — that man does not have time to talk to himself — that man does not have the means to talk to other men. The world hangs by a thread of verbs and nouns. Language and cultural-semantics are as explosive as nuclear energy. It is imperative that we (the world’s artists) invent a new world language…'[1]

Peter Burr is an artist from Brooklyn specializing in animation and installation. Using computer animation to create images and environments that hover on the boundary between abstraction and figuration, Burr has in recent years devoted himself to exploring the concept of an endlessly mutating labyrinth. Existing as stand-alone pieces, much of his work is also in the process of expanding into a video game through the support of Creative Capital and Sundance. Previously, he worked under the alias Hooliganship, and in 2006 founded the video label Cartune Xprez, through which he produced hundreds of live multimedia exhibitions and touring programs showcasing a multi-generational group of artists at the forefront of experimental animation. Here he discusses ways to stay healthy as a creator, what it means to make art in the digital realm, and the plant-like possibilities of games.[1]

One of the most important collectives to emerge in the last decade, Paper Rad exploded at the edge of a cultural time zone—before the social web—when subculture was still palpable and also clearly becoming impossible to sustain. They emerged in the early ’00s within a community dedicated to DIY art practice that had strong roots in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as cities like Detroit, Baltimore, Boston, and towns in Western Massachusetts became known for a cartoon cosmos that felt like a psychedelic, subversive response to American pop culture that was hatched out of a sincere and deep engagement to it. Their work began with ’zines and music, and eventually grew to encompass digital animation, videos, installations, and their website—paperrad.org—which became an increasingly central part of their work as it drew attention and followers. [1]

… the page was changed daily, continually layered with new content or reorganized spatially. Amid this constant development, there are a few distinguishing elements to the website that endured throughout its seven-year life. First, it carried over the DIY ethos and aesthetics from the culture from which it emerged—paperrad.org was not an easy-to-navigate online artist’s CV but existed more like a maze of found, remixed, and original content. Visitors were only able to track the identities of participating members through deep research, which lent the site a mysterious and open feel, as if Paper Rad could be as small as one person or as large as a thriving subculture. A second distinguishing factor was that Paper Rad created their own discreet world that blended influences from both analog and digital culture. In the Paper Rad cosmos, hacked and re-versioned My Little Ponies mingled with animated gifs and characters originally rendered in printed ’zines, like Tux Dog, which were digitized and made open source. This straddling of different pop cultural realms—television and the internet, mass media and amateur media—became a trademark of Paper Rad, as did a disregard for medium specificity. The Paper Rad website, presenting recycled cartoon characters like Gumby in Flash animation sagas, was evidence of the eroding boundaries between media we are so familiar with today. [1]

Paper Rad's visual projects often employ bright fluorescent palettes juxtaposed with primary colors to create a distinctive "lo-fi" look. It adopts a variety of techniques and elements to achieve this look, including pop art, collage, punk art, as well as imagery from popular culture. The multimedia projects incorporate MIDI audio, poor recordings of original sound effects and voices, pixelization, and other crude audio and visual components. Paper Rad recycled or appropriated obscure sounds and images from a variety of sources, including old cartoons, commercials, and late-night television. [2]

The collective–which consisted of siblings Jessica and Jacob Ciocci, Ben Jones, and other collaborators–cultivated a unique interest in exploring artistic strategies from other media, especially comics and zines, through web-based and multimedia works. Serially updated during the group’s most active period (2001-2008), paperrad.org was both an archive and a artwork, a riot of brightly colored compositions featuring graphics and a mazelike compilation of characters from otherwise overlooked aspects of ’70s and ’80s pop culture. [3]

Paper Rad Homepages 01-08 Collected by Rhizome

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