HOME             ARCHIVES            PREFACE         OAQ           BACKSTORY           BIBLIOGRAPHY           COMMENT

What is going on here?

     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 (TV, camera, phone, computer, film, internet, gaming, virtuality, social media, etc.).  I do this by recording and assembling their rituals, languages, techniques, seductions and hectorings.
      For what is becoming increasingly clear from this research is that contemporary media communication

“We are dangerously failing at critical discernment throughout all informational media.”

production is conditioning citizens to preference belief and faith over thinking and understanding.  With this turn away from experience and toward mere representation, we are dangerously failing critical discernment throughout all forms of informational media.

    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.  It is how I see this new ‘feudalism’ (1,2)  through my home TV and computer, which were my only two screens over the years while making these interminable 100+ hours of experimental ethnographic montage.

      Many of these projects contain one individual video construction, some contain dozens, and a few projects hold thousands of individual videos.  All projects are accessed by clicking any red, green and blue dot or bar on the Archives page.  Inside these projects you will find a contextualized performance (a poesy) of the methods I utilize for (C)ritically understanding television. 


     As an exploratory form of social criticism, Understanding Television should be measured as a robust and ambitious ethnography of a great stretch of mediated history --our history-- and what this looks like, why it’s here, and what lurks in the future.  I do this in order to effectively journal these times: when cameras and guns and worldwide webs proliferate exponentially with quite similar complications.  Indeed, Understanding Television reveals our culture dangerously wallowing in overwhelming ignorance, as we willfully ‘game’ the unfathomable predicaments of inescapable virulence, technological gods and human isolation. 

     To survive a perilous future, we will have to learn to intellectually and methodologically reconnoiter the logics-of-representation residing in all communicational technologies.  This must come first, well before we bother ourselves with content meaning.  We must dually/duelly face the ugly history of our own mechanical addictions, as well as a new host of invasive moral imperatives arising from misusing and misunderstanding the dark-arts of persuasion multiplying inside the apparatus

     For the apparatus is now deeply embedded inside all forms of human communication, mechanically ready and willing to equally perform every bidding, both good and nefarious, throughout the entire electronic state. 

“Let’s be clear. We humans are the ones who happily choose to wield lethal power over others.”

The point is not whether we like the apparatus or not.  We need to harness it.  We need to refunction it.   We must move beyond mere belief and “common sense”.

     But let’s be clear.  We humans are the ones who happily choose to wield lethal power over others with these easily weaponized technologies, whether it be television, artificial intelligence, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, et al.  (NOTE: It takes very little effort to weaponize a weapon.)  Humans of every stripe are now demanding to be ‘heard’ by any means necessary.  Attempting to employ Cultural Farming requires the re-fusing of a culture’s apparatus of communication as a means for resisting the lethal rush of mechanical misunderstanding.  This demands a massive societal undertaking.  I see few signs of this happening today, yet the stakes are too high, and time is too short, to settle for anything less. 

     In this current-world where every living-subject is too easily turned to an image-object, our cameras, our guns, and our webs are converging to detonate on a global scale, leading us into new kinds of carnage unforetold in the history of man.   For as Kenneth Burke writes, “There is no difference, in photographic style, between the filming of a murder mystery and the filming of a documentary”  (1950, p.17-18).  But then again, maybe my entire fallacy is wrong.



1.  What is going on here?

2.  How should viewers watch these video essays?

3.  Introduction to the research.

4.  What does understanding television mean?

5.  How do I understand television?

6.  What does using theory mean?

7.  Can you discuss one of your videos?

8.  What was discovered in this research?

9.  What if viewers still don’t ‘understand’ television?



An American

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


HOME             ARCHIVES            PREFACE         OAQ           BACKSTORY           BIBLIOGRAPHY           COMMENT