(August 2016) 

      This website holds over 225 VIDEO PROJECTS.  Each video is an experimental form of ethnographic media-writing.  Most all projects were montaged between 2003-2019.  All were constructed using the (C)ritical methods of Cultural Farming. 

      Collectively, these video essays comprise a vast picture-book of ‘sense-making’ throughout American media.  Each project renders an essential viewpoint of humanity constructed with tele-visual media.  Each underscores how technological advance has incrementally manipulated simple human communication into something oddly inhuman, strangely evil, even murderously life-threatening. 

     This website is no farrago of funny film fillips.  It consists solely of my own media aggregations, about the production of ‘media production’.  Merely re-rendering new viewpoints, however, is the easy part.  The true aim of this project is to examine and question a long list of pseudo-validities within normative societal power structures.  I do this by entertaining experimental civic approaches and methods of resistance, for instance: appropriation, intellectual montage, magic realism, practical iconoclasm, symbolic exchange, automatic writing, epic theatre, détournement, new objectivity, etc.  In a phrase, Understanding Television is my attempt to picture how “American media-sense” is manufactured. 

      Throughout, each project proffers a serious form of play through a simple --yet inexhaustible-- suite of critical production techniques.   Revealed are the challenges of how many of our new-truths are machine-made.  Indeed, our current means and methods of mechanical media production --along with the concrete practices of particular people-- are co-creating a ‘double-death’, speeding a new exterminating post-truth reality. 

      Understanding Television is an illuminating monody of this double-death.  My media illation during this cusp of unimaginable technological change: We have produced our cameras and screens to be as lethal as guns and bullets.  As old memories of Reality dissolve around us us, empty elegiac imagery is all that remains.  Diagnosis: we are increasingly crippled by a massive failure of critical ‘re-collection and re-imagination’. 

      As we previously discovered with the printing press, our current means and forms of tele-visual production will also continue to prove to be inexhaustible.  We must embrace these as means of inexhaustible expression -- exactly as we must negate them as expressions of Truth.  For media, even at their best, are never more than a representation of Truth.  Indeed, tele-visual communication will be with us for a long-long time to come... yes, forever.  And so we must continually test our understanding of media through ever more pragmatic methods.

     Yet through sheer stupidity and neglect, we are failing human-truth by failing to understand the lethality of our own graven ‘mediaverse’.  I contend that we are obliged to defile these mechanical lies to help recover human meaning and understanding.  In short, I call for pragmatic media iconoclasm, as a method for self-empowerment against false belief systems.  Yet bewilderingly, we willfully assist in our own enslavement.  We demand to cognitively sleepwalk inside this seductive hypnotizing nightmare of mechanically doubled (sur)realities of lies, surveillance and war.  Why do we keep building this cycloptic mess?  How did it happen?

      The world today, in 2015, is a very strange place.  Technology has steamrolled us all.  True human communication is next to impossible.  For we no longer know how to see what it is we do.  And so, we are about to face an intellectual and spiritual reckoning.  Much human sacrifice will be required to appease this technological seizure.  Human sacrifice.  It will not be pretty.  For while these warnings are regularly televised globally to anyone willing to watch, we refuse to understand (link to most recent video essay).

                                             

          “Our unfortunate times thus compel me, once again, to write in a new way.  Some elements will be intentionally omitted; and the plan will be to remain rather unclear.  Readers will encounter certain decoys, like the very hallmark of the era.  As long as certain pages are interpolated here and there, the overall meaning may appear: just as secret clauses have very often been added to whatever treaties may openly stipulate, just as some chemical agents only reveal their hidden properties when they are combined with others.  However, in this brief work there will be only too many things which are, alas, easy to understand.” 

                                               Guy Debord, 1998

                                          

                                           

        I do not favor technology, but technology often chooses us:

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   Collectively, the projects herein perform a longitudinal depiction of how various North American media producers create their particular forms of tribal “common sense”.  My video essays, however, do not attempt an explanation of this growing tribal reality.  Rather each project is an empirical recitation of our desires to mechanically produce one...  Even after decades of living amongst, observing, and participating along side innumerable media makers (bio), Understanding Television illustrates how I came to better understand the logics of all televisual communication.  (read more)


      You should watch these videos any way and anywhere you can, exactly as you watch all of your media today.  You can watch in any order, pause, rewind, fast-forward.  It’s only media... seldom precious, never scripture.  You can, of course, try to watch my videos purely as entertainment, like any other common form of screen media, but I would not recommend this.  All videos are re-constructed into tele-poetry about contemporary screen culture.  Some portions are artistic, some historical, some merely factual.  Others are appropriated to spark recent memories, while other parts are purposefully disjointed to provide contrast or to provoke insight.  (read more)


     Media do not speak Truth, including this website, because every medium omits much more than it can ever convey.  What all media primarily omit are human bodily sense and experience, enriched with earthly memory.  Sense and experience, however, are the ‘root and branch’ of all human understanding.  Yet, somewhere along the road we forgot that media making is at best representational, only partially capturing what we know to be actual -- that is to say, what we humans can see, hear, smell, taste and experience for ourselves.  (read more)                       



    We believe we understand media and media making, but we are ill-trained -- amateurs, professionals and academicians alike.  We now find little reason to think about communication before we act.  Because of this we have rapidly transitioned, in just one human generation, from passive mass-spectating to complete and voluntary individualized media immersion.  This comes with great risk to both the idea and practice of historical methods of human communication.  (read more)


      Television, as I historically remember it, changed when President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  My entire professional media career changed with it.  But then, my TV experiences rarely jibe with common mythology.  I never saw one speck of the dire predictions eagerly claiming “the death of television”.  I saw the opposite.  I found television to be a well-oiled, self-sufficient, money-printing machine.  I never found any trace of an independent or liberal media anywhere inside the television industry.  I never once witnessed ‘journalism’ ethically struggle against corporatized control.  (read more)


      Importantly, refracting within the undulations of surrealism, each project herein should be viewed through particular theoretical filters.  Indeed, Understanding Television may well express viable strategies for waging ‘necessary personal revolution’.  Yet we willfully promote a dependency upon tyrannical media (obscene & panoptic), which seduce with an ecstasy of appearance through ever higher resolution lenses and screens.  For when “vision machines” rule by means of paradoxical logic, surveillance and punishment go hand-in-hand inside the simulacrum of hyperreality.  (read more)


      The premise throughout this website is personal critical elicitation through acts of ‘talking back’ to media makers using their own languages and techniques.  I care little about entertaining an audience (or even cultivating an audience).  I care even less about proselytizing more ideological pablum.  Instead, I insist upon interrupting and antagonizing normative, passive, media production and immersion, by allowing critical spaces for myself and for viewers to consider their own thinking processes while watching these innumerable video fillips collide.  (read more)


      My videos punctuate the notion that the more we embrace the veils of this new mechanical despotism (Read: reality-as-image and communication-through-machines), the flatter, cheaper and more misunderstood healthy human communication becomes, which in turn fosters an ever greater consumption of our own spectacular death-extravaganza.  For once spiraling inside the swill of technology, all of life is reduced to image form.  Human life become erasable, as easily as media are deleted.  Human empathies evaporate.  Inside this mechanical cult of death and humiliation, nothing remains sacred and life becomes permanent warfare.  So, when I hear growing talk of guns, I reach for my cultural farming.  (read more)


      Whether or not you think you understand tele-visual communication, I suggest trying again by other means, as verification.  Here, I choose to utilize a mixture of practical iconoclastic methodologies.  While this has benefitted me greatly, I’m not exactly sure how to evaluate it.  After all, Cultural Farming’s experimental methodologies are not championed by anyone...yet.  Indeed, Television Studies of any kind are, at best, considered to be a tired musty academic topic today.  “What more is there to know, eh?”  (read more)




      Sing the Body Electric!  And return to the Archives page, and once you can turn down the lights, don good headphones, situate the screen to occupy 50% of your field of vision, and grab a smoke...then settle back and “bring to mind”.  CLICK on any colored dot or bar and read into these experimental writings about the same media also streaming endlessly into your home.  In them, you will find --neither tamed or translatable-- my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.  My puny attempt to poke back, to save face.

      To truly understand media like television, you’ll need to reap these benefits for yourself by critically responding to your own multi-mediaverses (re-take, re-fuse, re-function, re-use, re-turn)... because the genuine purpose of Cultural Farming is personal emancipation, which can truly occur during practical iconoclastic experimentation.  Just understand that being a cultural farmer is difficult, exactly because it is good honest hard work. 

     The price of true personal liberation is time, practice, theory and luck.  For all of media is indeed a kind of “fake truism”, partial and incomplete representations.  Our human project is to continually dissect media to recognize what is truly murderous; and to learn to corral, diminish and relocate these dark-mechanicals to their proper consequence: hypocritical belief and idolatry.  Like a piano player ever-practicing scales, here are my 200+ video essays.  Begin for yourself a true secular understanding of media.  I did it, and it worked for me.   

                                              Psalms 135            

   15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold,

the work of men's hands.

16 They have mouths, but they speak not;

eyes have they, but they see not;

17 They have ears, but they hear not;

neither is there any breath in their mouths.

18 They that make them are like unto them:

so is every one that trusteth in them.


      If all else fails, no worries, choose a parallel path...go plant a tree.  That is what I am doing now...after the Orgy.  And I reflect fondly upon that dusty melodic aphorism from Timothy Leary (1920-1996): “Virtual reality is electronic acidIndeed today, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, et al, are now actual fully-loaded semi-automatic killing machines. 

    “We must cultivate our gardens.”  We must cultivate our media.

                          Thinking is not a performing art...

                     it is why we need an Art for Thinking.



                                               

                                            

HOLLAND WILDE

An American

resident of Canada, experimenting with new forms of critical media ethnography in Cultural Farming

 

UNDERSTANDING

TELEVISION

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