Representing Chicago: Experimental Video and Television at the Media Burn Archive
Introduction by Judy Hoffman, Department of Cinema and Media Studies
Media Burn founder Tom Weinberg and Executive Director Sara Chapman will showcase gems from the Mediaburn.org collection - from interviews with Studs Terkel and Nelson Algren to footage of Mick Jagger and Muddy Waters at the old Checkerboard Lounge. In its evolution from fledgling archive to media savvy digital presence, Mediaburn.org has become a model of how archives can use new technologies to position historical moving image collections for public access, and of how doing so makes archives active and conversant with contemporary media culture.
The Media Burn Independent Video Archive captures the cultural history of video and television experimentation from 1968 to the present. It contains over 6,000 videotapes shot from a perspective rarely seen in traditional media, often critiquing and revealing the way media itself is constructed. The collection represents a history of independent video movement, and is a counterpoint to the official histories of the 20th Century, featuring people from all walks of life: musicians, politicians, authors, and community organizers. It captures events and moments of importance to American life, from garbage collection to political conventions.
Until recently, the work contained within the Media Burn Archive was largely unknown and impossible to access, but now over 1,500 rare historical full-length videos are streaming online.
Tom Weinberg, founder of the Media Burn Independent Video Archive and President of FITV, has been producing ground-breaking video and TV programs for over 40 years. He began his career with alternative video pioneers TVTV, and his credits include more than 500 nonfiction television programs and educational videos as producer, director, and executive producer.
Sara Chapman is Executive Director of the Media Burn Independent Video Archive. At the University of Chicago (A.B. ’04), she spent a year collecting oral histories of Chicago's 1970s radical video collectives for her B.A. thesis in Cinema and Media Studies. Over the last six years, she has been central to Media Burn's growth, helping Media Burn develop into an internationally recognized non-profit organization.
Funded by grants from the University of Chicago Arts Council, Franke Institute for the Humanities, and the Chicago Studies Program.