Media Burn and Illustrated Lecture by Steve Seid
In celebration of former BAMPFA video curator Steve Seid’s new book, Media Burn: Ant Farm and the Making of an Image, we present a screening of the re-edit of the video work Media Burn (1975–2003), along with an illustrated lecture about the little-known backstory of Ant Farm’s legendary 1975 conceptual performance of the same name in which a customized 1959 Cadillac, dubbed the Phantom Dream Car, collided with a pyramid of blazing TV sets. Devised, revised, and relocated over several years, Media Burn was finally staged in San Francisco’s Cow Palace parking lot. A critique of the viral image, years before social media manufactured its manic multiples, this surprisingly complex undertaking required mythopoetic stand-ins for very American preoccupations—here, the dream of mobility embodied by the automobile is in conflict with the dream of immobility, the televised world delivered to the stationary viewer. From the imagistic energy generated by this incendiary collision, Ant Farm, a San Francisco–based art collective, would compose a singular image to set loose upon the unwitting world.
Films in this Screening
Ant Farm, United States, 1975–2003
Untitled (Phantom Dream Car Goes to Berkeley)
Jane Aaron, United States, 1979
Illustrated Lecture by Steve Seid
United States, 2021