"A medium is available....It is dumb, inarticulate, contains no magic. It is available and manageable and probably stunningly beautiful when managed by graceful people who are bent on acts of expression ....This newer medium is swift in nature. It demands a new kind of perception. It moves like light sparked into life as through a nervous prism. It is another paint, another dance, another music of sound. Another message meant to catch the quick vision of the inner eye." -Brice Howard, Videospace, 1972 The preservation of forgotten videoworks is often as much a process of sleuthing as it is one of restoration of the objects themselves. Caches of videotapes gathering dust in a dank closet, uncataloged collections lost to the myriad shelves of an archive-these are the prized finds of the media archaeologist. Now, after two years of prying, poking and preserving, the Pacific Film Archive will exhibit video artifacts from the National Center for Experiments in Television (NCET). Lost to the white noise of media history, the NCET was an unusual artists' research center tenuously aligned with San Francisco's public television station, KQED. Initiated in 1967, the NCET sought an answer to a simple but hitherto overlooked question: Can artists work with the medium of television? The manifestations of this pursuit will be on display at BAMPFA, for the first time since their inception, in Videospace. The centerpiece of Videospace is Don Hallock's 1973 video installation The Videola, on view in Gallery 6. Originally exhibited at SFMOMA, Hallock's video sculpture is a large horizontal cone made of reflecting mylar. When a monitor is placed at the small end of the cone, the image emitted is transformed into a luminous orb. The kaleidoscopic effect is heightened by The Videola's size-the depth of the cone is eight feet, the large aperture approximately five feet across. What the audience encounters is a prismatic, ever-changing sphere. The Videola emphasizes an important aspect of the NCET's electronic explorations, that of encouraging visual pleasure from the primal materials of the medium. Also in the gallery are a number of viewing stations with videotapes compiled from the NCET's eight-year history, along with publications, posters, essays, and a series of photographs taken by Penny Dhaemers, UCB Emeritus Professor. Because the design of tools was an integral activity at the NCET, a groundbreaking image-processor, Stephen Beck's Direct Video Synthesizer #1 (1971), will also be on view. The notion behind direct video synthesis is that the electronic circuitry alone can generate myriad images without the need for an external camera or tape source. Through the artist's efforts, root images, analogs of the internal life of the medium, can be coaxed from the mechanism to play upon the glazed canvas of the television monitor. Many of the videotapes displayed on The Videola or at the viewing stations were created with this fantastical device. Beginning on Wednesday, September 13, PFA will highlight the preservation of videotapes from the National Center for Experiments in Television with four weekly screenings that illustrate the two primary directions of the Center: cross-disciplinary performance-oriented video, and image-processing. Many of the artists will be present to discuss their prototypical works. The National Center for Experiments in Television was the first of the TV labs established in the late 1960s. In its earliest conception, the NCET was the Experimental TV Project, housed at KQED. The principal impetus behind the Experimental TV Project was to provide equipment access (a rarity in those days) to artists who would explore the material crux of this overly commercialized medium, simultaneously developing alternative visual languages. Under the guidance of director Brice Howard, a body of works was completed that redirected video technology toward unconventional expressive modes. Works such as William Jones's Graham Tape Delay, Richard Felciano's Linearity, and Joanne Kyger's Descartes exemplified the preoccupation with performative disciplines and image processing. The culmination was the 90-minute production of !Heimskringla!, a videoplay combining the talents of the La Mama Theater, director Tom O'Horgan, playwright Paul Foster, and the NCET crew. In 1969, the Experimental TV Project was renamed the National Center for Experiments in Television and a new group of resident artists was brought in. Rigorous image-processing works such as Stephen Beck's Cosmic Portal, Willard Rosenquist's Lostine, Don Hallock's The Father Tapes, and William Roarty's Untitled illustrate the synaesthesia of movement and light as a play of phosphors. The NCET's greatest asset was perhaps also cause for its demise: the mandate to innovate without end, nor end-product. Unlike other TV labs, where the culmination of a residency led to programming, NCET residents had no such prerequisite. This led to an estrangement with KQED. The Center concentrated now on non-broadcast technologies. The works from the later period tend to be more painterly and time-based as the NCET's video synthesis, feedback, and keying resources expanded. The videoworks and sculpture from the NCET offer an unusual glimpse of some of the earliest efforts to turn television technologies toward other, more artful ends, what Brice Howard called "videospace." These videotapes allow us to observe not just the creative output of individuals, but the concerted labors of an innovative institution to rally and promote a new breed of television.