People have always seen technology as a way to save the world—and to have better sex. Before the Internet gave way to Kickstarter on one end and Snapchat on the other, media artists were talking about technology’s utopian potential, from health care to the bedroom. There’s really no better way to see these two sides of the tech debate than looking at the back catalog of Radical Software, an independent video magazine which ran from 1970 – 1974. All eleven issues are available online and feature a range of artist essays, manifestos, and imagined projects by names well-known (Nam June Paik, Buckminster Fuller, Gene Youngblood, among them) and names forgotten.
It’ll take you a while to rifle through all the issues, but we’ve gathered a few highlights from the back catalog to get you started:
Nam June Paik, “Utopian Laser TV Station”
The artist proposes a sexy TV time capsule.
Manfred Mohr, “Computer Graphics”
Mohr talks about his computer as his art-making “partner”. That’s sweet.
Gene Youngblood, “The Videosphere”
Wrap your head around this one: “Television is the software of the earth.”
David Silver, “Televisionaries versus Telivisigoths”
We don’t know what this is about, but what a title.
Abram Engelman, “Video as a Tool in Institutional Analysis”
The author imagines a future where corporations use video to train employees. Well, that future came true.