In 1975 on the 4th of July two artists drove a heavily customized Cadillac through a wall of TVs at 50 miles an hour. The artists survived; the TVs did not. These daring drivers were members of the Bay Area-based collective Ant Farm who had staged that fateful event (for the TVs) in pursuit of the perfect image: the collision of two icons of American culture and commodity fetishism. The old adage “kill your tv” takes on a whole new meaning here. Its assassination is calculated, ceremonial, and amusing.
The staged performance titled Media Burn was complete with an audience of about 300 spectators and local press. Among them was an “ARTIST-PRESIDENT” played by Doug Hall who officiated the performance with a formal address. In it he states, “What was done here today may never be understood but the image will never be forgotten.” Indeed it has not been. —Gracie Hadland, Inventory Press
This program is organized with Inventory Press, publisher of Media Burn: Ant Farm and the Making of an Image, a vibrant assessment of the complex set of cultural references and art-making strategies informing ant farm’s legendary 1975 performance. A conversation between author Steve Seid and artist Doug Hall is presented here alongside an excerpt from the publication.