Raindance Foundation

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The Raindance Corporation (since 1971 Raindance Foundation) was founded as an alternative media think tank in 1969 in New York City. The founding members around the first president Frank Gillette created a structure for the development of theories and new video formats, which was in critical opposition to the major television stations. Thanks to the Sony Portapak – the first portable, battery-operated video recorder for private use – which had been launched two years earlier, it became possible for the first time to undermine the monopoly position of US broadcasters. Sounding out the actual feasibility was the goal of Gillette, Michael Shamberg, Louis Jaffe and Marco Vassi. Supported by the protest movements of the 1960s and inspired by the theories of Marshall McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller, and Gregory Bateson, Raindance explored both political and artistic aspects.

The intention to develop new information structures outside of commercial interests attracted more and more members. With Phyllis Gershuny, Beryl Korot, and Ira Schneider, Raindance gained members whose contributions would give the Raindance Foundation international visibility. The publication The Video Newsletter, developed by Gershuny and Korot, laid the foundation for the magazine Radical Software, which appeared between 1971 and 1974 and connected video activists worldwide. The magazine played an important part in the birth of the video movement and the emergence of an intellectual current in which video, cybernetics, computer technology, social activism, counterculture, and art merged. All issues are part of the archive of the Raindance Foundation at ZKM.

With Guerilla Television (1971) and Video Art: An Anthology (1976), further publications of major importance for the history of television and video art emerged from the Foundation. Michael Shamberg’s Guerilla Television presented the alternative media philosophy of the Raindance Foundation in both theoretical considerations and practical instructions. As editors of Video Art, Beryl Korot and Ira Schneider created an overview of the video scene of their time. (Source)

See also