Media visionary and activist Gene Youngblood, author of the seminal 1970 book Expanded Cinema, who predicted the future of the media arts as a communications revolution, passed away at his home in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

On Tuesday, June 15, 4pm EDT, the Third Space Network will present online The Unfinished Communications Revolution: A Memorial Tribute to Gene Youngblood, to honor his life and work. The list of artists and media practitioners (TBA) who will speak about Youngblood’s colorful life and historic contribution to the arts, are among those who pioneered the emerging forms of experimental film, video, and communications art during the latter part of the 20th century.

The Gene Youngblood Memorial Tribute will be co-moderated by 3SN Creative Director Randall Packer and media artist Kit Galloway. The event will be presented under the auspices of the Telematic LASER series (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous), co-hosted by 3SN, Leonardo/ISAST, and the University of Brighton/School of Art/Centre for Media Cultures.

In Expanded Cinema and throughout his life, Youngblood viewed television as a creative medium, not merely for the dissemination of images, but as a medium of communication, interactivity, networking, and empowerment. He was considered a leading media activist, who fought against corporate control and centralization of mass media, writing in the avant-garde publication Radical Software in 1970: “The media must be liberated, must be removed from private ownership and commercial sponsorship, must be placed in the service of all humanity.”

Later, with the emerging Internet, Youngblood would shape his vision around a communications revolution through his concept of “The Build,” stating, “Summon the breathtaking image of the multitude pouring into streets and plazas around the world in millions to demonstrate against tyranny. Now imagine instead they’re demanding a free and open internet… What would have to happen to make that utopian spectacle reality? What insurgent algorithm would get us from here to there?”

Until the end of Youngblood’s life, he rallied against the tyranny of broadcast media with a call for secession. Youngblood believed it was up to future generations to realize his utopic dream and carry on the work of the unfinished communications revolution. It is in the spirit of his legacy, his words, his defiance, and his impact on the arts, that 3SN is inviting the public to join in this special memorial tribute to a true media visionary who envisioned and fought for a better world.

Third Space Network

The Third Space Network is an artist-driven Internet platform for staging creative dialogue, live performance and activist projects: empowerment through the act of becoming our own broadcast media. A project of Randall Packer, the Third Space Network explores the Internet as a theater of the future, a place for live artistic experimentation, public dialogue, activism and social change.

Telematic LASER

Telematic LASER is co-hosted quarterly by Randall Packer of the Third Space Network & Paul Sermon of the University of Brighton/School of Art/Centre for Media Cultures. A program of the Leonard/International Society of the Arts, Sciences, and Technology, the series is comprised of online public dialogues and performances that feature discussion, presentation and experimentation among leading artists, researchers, scientists and performers in the area of telematics.

Leonardo / ISAST (International Society for the Arts, Sciences, Technology)

The Leonardo LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of the LASERs is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building.

University of Brighton/School of Art/Centre for Digital Media Cultures

The Centre for Digital Media Cultures conducts impactful research that helps society understand and adapt to changes in digital media and data technologies. This interdisciplinary knowledge spans computing, social science, media, art and design, and focuses on the cross-cutting theme of digital.

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