Art21 Extended Play

Beryl Korot: “Radical Software” 1970-74

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Episode #103: Beryl Korot describes the impetus behind the innovative 1970s publication Radical Software, elucidating the history of video in art and the impact of mass media on society. Emerging from an independent video community that included media visionaries such as Marshall McLuhan and groups such as Televisionaries, Videofreex, People’s Video Theater, and Global Village, the first issue of Radical Software debuted in Spring of 1970 as a publication by the Raindance Corporation. Beryl Korot and Phyllis Segura (Gershuny) acted as Editors, while Michael Shamburg served as Publisher with Ira Schneider as co-Originator. Early contributors included Nam June Paik, Buckminster Fuller, Ant Farm, Frank Gillette, and Paul Ryan, among others. After eleven issues, Radical Software ceased publication in the Spring of 1974 and is now an invaluable time capsule of an era. This video is published on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the first issue.

An early video-art pioneer and an internationally exhibited artist, Beryl Korot’s multiple-channel (and multiple-monitor) video installation works explored the relationship between programming tools as diverse as the technology of the loom and multiple-channel video. For most of the 1980s, Korot concentrated on a series of paintings that were based on a language she created that was an analogue to the Latin alphabet. Drawing on her earlier interest in weaving and video as related technologies, she made most of these paintings on hand-woven and traditional linen canvas. More recently, she has collaborated with her husband, the composer Steve Reich, on Three Tales, a documentary digital video opera in three acts that explores the way technology creates and frames our experience.

The exhibition Beryl Korot: Text/Weave/Line—Video, 1977-2010 opens at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum on June 27th. The exhibition presents her latest body of work as well as the 5 channel weaving/video installation Text and Commentary which premiered at the Leo Castelli Gallery in 1977.

Beryl Korot created the opening segment, featuring actress S. Epatha Merkerson, in the Season 1 (2005) episode Spirituality of the Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch the video online via Hulu.

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Wesley Miller. Camera & Sound: Nick Ravich. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Archival Material Courtesy: Beryl Korot & the Daniel Langlois Foundation of Montreal. Special Thanks: Davidson Gigliotti & Ira Schneider.