Videospace

Videospace

Retrospective Exhibition : The National Center for Experiments in Television
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive
September 13 - November 12, 2000
Curator: Steve Seid

Long before author William Gibson coined the neologism "cyberspace," the word "videospace" was introduced into our vocabulary in 1971 by a gentle genius, Brice Howard, director of the National Center for Experiments in Television (NCET) at KQED in San Francisco from 1969 to 1974.

In 2000, curator Steve Seid of the Pacific Film Archive mounted a retrospective including Beck's NCET work at the Berkeley Art Museum. These images capture portions of the exhibition, which included the Beck Direct Video Synthesizer, and also a restoration of a video imaging device known as the Videola, built by the talented Don Hallock, who was also an artist in residence at NCET with Beck from 1972 to 1974 .

NCET was one of the three experimental research centers established by PBS to explore possibilities for television when it was still a relatively new, emerging medium. In addition to WGBH in Boston with Fred Barzyk, and WNET in New York with David Loxton, the NCET produced a series of experimental television programs, which were broadcast nationally by PBS.

Some of these photos show the Beck Direct Video Synthesizer as preserved and restored for exhibition in the Berkeley Art Museum gallery. Others show the construction of the Videola, which the artist has preserved in his archives. The mirrored surfaces of the Videola reflect a single CRT video monitor into a spherical virtual image which appears to be some six feet in diameter.

The Videola is quite compelling, and Beck composed a number of Beck Direct Video Synthesizer works especially for display on the Videola, some of which are shown here. The Videola was premiered at the very first video art exhibition presented at the original San Fransico Museum of Modern Art in 1973. Beck and Don Hallock presented live video and sound concerts on the Videola in the Museum Gallery, including some public concerts attended by thousands of visitors.

For a fuller description of this exhibition, see Beck''s essay for "Videospace," at http://people.wcsu.edu/mccarneyh/fva/B/BeckDirectVideo.html.

* The Beck Direct Video Synthesizer

** Construction of the Videola, part of the artist's personal archives.

*** The mirrored surfaces of the Videola reflect a single CRT video monitor into a spherical virtual image, which appears to be six feet in diameter. The Videola was premiered at the very first video art exhibition presented at the original San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1973. The artist has composed a number of Beck Direct Video Synthesizer works especially for display on the Videola