|well-known Paik/Abe Video Synthesizer,
which was initiated with a four-hour New Year's Eve broadcast set to Beatles'
music. Over the years, WGBH sponsored a long list of artists, such as video
artists Paik, Peter Campus, and Stan VanDerBeek, dancers Karole Armitage
and Trisha Brown, and composer John Cage. Through the interests of individual
producers such as Barzyk, Nancy Mason Hauser, Rick Hauser, Susan Dowling,
Ron Hays, and others, the WGBH project was primarily concerned with meshing
video with other media and producing hybrids with music, dance, and theater.
The workshop has undergone many changes and now exists as a much smaller entity, as a cosponsor with the Institute of Contemporary Art of the Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund. Barzyk saw the handwriting on the wall in terms of the direction of funding, as institutions like the NEA were leaning toward funding media arts centers, not public television workshops. In 1978, he convinced the management of WGBH not only to give the equipment from the workshop to the newly-founded Boston Film/Video Foundation, but also initially to underwrite its rent.
The overall intent of the Television Laboratory at WNET/ Thirteen had a great deal to do with the attitude of its director, David Loxton. Despite the stipulation by Klein and Lloyd that the lab was not required to produce broadcastable material, Loxton thought it was essential to the longevity of the program, as well as to its mandate of producing artists' programming for broadcast television, that it actually produce programs for broadcast and that they be aired. The Rockefeller Foundation had given money to WNET in 1966 for a series of programs on Shakespearian drama (in which Norman Lloyd had encouraged the producers to concentrate on the process of producing Shakespeare rather than the actual production). In 1970, the New York State Council on the Arts gave WNET funds to set up an experimental project, which artist Jackie Cassen headed. This project faltered when Cassen and the other artists had problems meshing with the TV people at WNET. A buffer system was needed, and, at that point, amid many discussions with artists and producers about the need for a center in New York, the foundation decided it was time to establish a TV lab at WNET. Klein recalls that
WNET kept coming to us with more proposals for Shakespeare and Norman Lloyd said, "It's much more important that artists have an environment where they do creative work," and we talked about WGBH and KQED, because those grants had been made. So we said to them, if you would think of making a place where artists can work, we would be interested...."Nam June, Russell Connor, Fred Barzyk and others were very involved with the development of this project, Jay Iselin, (president of WNET) wanted to put Bob Kotlowitz, who was just at WNET from out of the publishing world, in charge. The artists kicked up their heels and said, "What is this? This man in all his years has never done one thing for video artists in publishing. Why should be given this now?" I heard that and I said to Jay, "I'm sorry, but this man has created such problems with the artists who would be working there, that I think it would be a
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