Raindance's Media Primers reflect the group's theories of alternative television and video, and their engagement with mass media, pop culture and the counter-culture. The themes addressed — media manipulation, the camera's role in modifying individual behavior — illustrate their experimentation with the technological and conceptual underpinnings of 1/2-inch portable video. Merging alternative video and mass media, Ira Schneider's Media Primer juxtaposes cultural indicators — television commercials, news footage, and Portapak documentation of countercultural events such as the Altamount rock concert. In Shamberg's Media Primer, rhetoric and gestures are skewered as he examines the political structure of alternative media. Paul Ryan's Proto Media Primer includes scenes of Abbie Hoffman awaiting the verdict from the Chicago 7 trial and ironic man-on-the-street interviews.
Media Primer (Schneider): Editor: Ira Schneider.
Proto Media Primer: Editor: Paul Ryan.
Media Primer (Shamberg): Editor: Michael Shamberg.
Image rights: Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)
Raindance was a media art collective founded in 1969 by Frank Gillette, Paul Ryan, Michael Shamberg, and Ira Schneider. The name makes reference to the RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank, and what the members called “Cultural R & D” (research & development). Raindance, a self-proclaimed “countercultural think tank”, aimed to demonstrate radical philosophies of video as an alternative form of cultural communication, and as a means for social change. It was inspired largely by the theoretical writings of Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller. In its lifetime, Raindance produced tapes, writings, and a seminal video-art journal called Radical Software, all furthering their idea of “Guerilla television”—a counter to mainstream broadcast. The group disbanded in the mid-1970s, though their nonprofit the Raindance Foundation continued to exist into the 1990s.
American , b. 1969