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The Electronic Revolution (Burroughs, William S.), 1970Television Décollage (Vostell, Wolf), 1963Mayor Lindsay (Paik, Nam June), 1965

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Laurie Anderson.[15] The literary critics were at a loss in 1964. But Marshall McLuhan, who analyzed Burroughs' cut-up novels in an essay for the magazine «The Nation» in December 1964, reached the conclusion that these were something like «an engineer's report on the new electronic environment's risky terrain and compulsive processes.»[16] Burroughs' use of media was finally directed, in a third step—after the approach to text and film production in the first half of the 1960s—towards an extra-artistic subversion of social processes. In order to undermine these «compulsive processes» emanating from omnipotent media power successfully, in «The Electronic Revolution» (1971), Burroughs recommended the subversive technique of playing tape recordings in public spaces. This «playback» is to be used «AS A FRONT LINE WEAPON TO PRODUCE AND ESCALATE RIOTS.» Burroughs writes: «There is nothing mystical about this operation. Riot sound effects can produce an actual riot in a riot situation. RECORDED POLICE WHISTLES WILL DRAW COPS. RECORDED GUNSHOTS, AND THEIR GUNS ARE OUT… .»[17] Underground music groups like Psychic TV


and others[18] readopted these methods, originally from the sphere of psychological or subliminal warfare, in the 1980s.

Important initiatives within the Fluxus movement were Wolf Vostell's «Television Décollage»[19] and Nam June Paik's 1960s and 1970s works, in which he approaches television analytically and critically and adapts himself to its structures so that the medium can reach a wider audience. Even in his first video works in 1965 he goes back to television material, which he processes using the primitive resources available to him at the time. In «Mayor Lindsay» (1965), a scene from a television report in which the New York mayor faces journalists is repeated in short sequences. As there were no video editing tools available to amateurs in 1965, Paik had to work with manual interventions in the running video tape, causing constant distortion, interference and breakdowns. Paik also returned to television material in his later videotapes.[20] This distinguishes him from all the early 1970s body and performance artists, who worked almost exclusively with their own images.

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