EXPERIMENTAL TELEVISION CENTER Video History: Making Connections Conference (October 16-18, 1998) InterviewsConductedbyKathy High - 16 - CONRAD: Oh, that was about ’65, something, ’64. It was post-Fluxus environment. But now, we’re more… Because of these discourses, like people can quote Fucot(?) and so forth. No one can believe that a symbolic action has a total validating quality, because they understand this is a form of idealism that’s transparently obvious at this time, just in terms of— just culturally transparent. So we don’t have those same things happening. And the same way, I think that the people who believed that they could totally transform American culture or world culture by shooting a videotape, in some sense were invested in an idealistic sensibility, which we can see still, you know, is still— there’s still a confusion about that. But… There may be other ways of looking at that. I mean, there’s certainly— we certainly do need more information about the structure of culture, and how community is formed, and what communication does to that formation, and how it’s interlocking with the process, and the outcome of that. I sort of see, in some sense the question as one of de-development. De-development is what happens when you don’t recirculate the product of— the cultural product to the people. Because I’m just going by, like, third world development, the process of third world development. If you wanna see development, then the best thing to do is to take the indigenous knowledge and institutions and recirculate this to the people themselves, so that they see this in the context of their own problems as simultaneously visible, and then they find their own solutions. But if you take that process away, as you do when you have, like, a dominant media, then you de-develop people, and they lose the ability to communicate. I mean, we’re hearing, like, a whole roomful of teachers saying their
EXPERIMENTAL TELEVISION CENTER Video History: Making Connections Conference (October 16-18, 1998) InterviewsConductedbyKathy High - 17 - CONRAD (Cont.): students don’t even understand the idea of even shooting (laughs) their own videotapes, even though they have cameras. God, it’s very weird. HIGH: Thank you. Anything to close(?) that’s good, very good? CONRAD: What? Well, that was more… This isn’t just about how I got started in video, I’m sorry, but… HIGH: I know. It’s good. WOMAN: (inaudible) HIGH: But you should probably say who you are. RICHARD SIMMONS: My name is Richard Simmons. HIGH: And how did you first get involved with video and video art? SIMMONS: I was an assistant to David Ross at the University Museum from around 1972 to 1974, and when David left, I became the curator. And he moved to Long Beach. HIGH: And how did you become interested?