Bush Video (1973-1975)

” Hello … this is BUSH VIDEO transmitting some printed messages. We are people who are putting our heads into the common information space of video communication. We define video as a tool for the reception, codification, and transmission of audio/visual information, and as the technological extension of the human brain’s memory/image processing, storage, and retrieval system. After consciously and unconsciously, seeing and dreaming, video and metavideo 24 hours a day for the last four months we are now giving a brief report of “these instrumented revisits to paradise” (Bucky) and the discovered educational, social integrational, global culture participational, and simply world turning-on potentines of video communication which make the present pre-programmed, one-way broadcast TV as obsoletely relevant as the town crier.” [1]

The hippie video collective Bush Video – pioneers of democratic media in Australia – are best known for their seminal project at the student festival in Nimbin (1973). They gave out cameras to festival participants and laid a cable network for community broadcasting. The contributed material was shown on multiple monitors around the festival. Back in Sydney, these were used in the studio which was the home for a ‘collaborative anarchy’ centered around experimentation with electronic video.  Read the full story of Bush Video documented by Stephen Jones here.

Poster for Bush Video Theatre (1973). From http://scanlines.net/person/bush-video [2]

Poster for Bush Video Theatre (1973). From http://scanlines.net/person/bush-video [2]

One of the Bush Video’s founders Mick Glasheen on the ecological aesthetics of the electronic medium (from the conversation with Stephen Jones in 2005):

“I was drawn to the organic nature of it, … it seemed to me that video and electronic art is really an image of … energy! It’s live light energy! Electromagnetic fields that are made visible! And so I was just attracted to that, [and I thought] … This is amazing! That we’ve got our hands on this… that we can look at… Just like … the first time I saw a television image I couldn’t believe it. You know, there’s this glowing cathode tube with an image there that was alive. So I just felt that there’s life there, this new life-form, that could be felt – when you’re doing video effects, when you’re doing feedback, the feedback effect of video, Bush Video pursued hours and hours of this feedback… Then I was feeling drawn to that because it was this kind of… it seemed to be that that’s where the life was… in this machine. And what could be coaxed out of this? How could this be understood? What was this? And years and years later I kept on puzzling about what is this? What is the philosophy behind it? What is the scientific principle that’s going on here? I didn’t understand what it was at all. But now it seemed to come out that it’s like a Mandelbrot set, in its kind of feedback formula. Like, this simple iterative process.” [2]

[1] Quotation from article ‘Bush Video Tharunka (August 1973)’ – http://scanlines.net/object/bush-video-tharunka on Scanlines: Media Art in Australia since the 1960s (scanlines.net).

[2] Quotation from article ‘Bush Video’ by Stephen Jones – http://scanlines.net/person/bush-video on Scanlines: Media Art in Australia since the 1960, scanlines.net.

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