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SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City

Ant Farm (Curtis Schreler, Chip Lord and Doug Michels) , Media Burn (2.30pm, 4th July 1975)

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On 4 July, 1975 members of Ant Farm will drive a Phantom Dream Car through a wall of burning television sets in an event called MEDIA BURN.

MEDIA BURN is not a sensational daredevil stunt, rather it is a way of alleviating the frustration of watching television in America.

MEDIA BURN is NOT open to the public. Members of the print and electronic media must show official MEDIA BURN press pass to gain admittance to the staging area. Early responses indicate that MEDIA BURN will receive wide press coverage as art and media happening.

*** NO LOCAL PUBLICITY PRIOR TO THE EVENT ON JULY 4, 1975 ***

MEDIA BURN will take place at Cow Palace, S.F. at 2.30pm. (Ant Farm 2004 [1975])

Kennedy gave a speech to 500 curiosity seekers assembled behind yellow barricades in the huge concrete parking lot […] Below Kennedy, in front of the platform, lurked the Cadillac dream car, a customized 1959 Biarritz, with a sleek canopy surmounted by two clear Plexiglass bubbles. Rising behind the bubbles, on what would ordinarily be the trunk, was a spire on top of which was mounted a television camera. Kennedy finished, was applauded, sped off. A blue van moved forward and disgorged two men dressed to resemble astronauts, complete with opaque helmets. After acknowledging the cheers of the crowd, they crawled into the dream car. The clear Plexiglass bubbles were replaced with stronger black ones. The daredevils would steer the car, using a monitor on the floor and a camera in the spire.

A hundred yards away, Uncle Buddy poured kerosine on a stack on 15 television sets. He lit a match. The kerosene burned with a bright orange flame and thick black smoke. The wood cabinet on some of the older television consoles caught fire. The Cadillac accelerated toward the wall of burning television sets. Another roar went up. The car hit the wall at 55 miles per hour. Televisions wreathed in flames were hurled forward. The spire of the car was sheared off entirely. The Cadillac came to a halt at the far edge of the parking lot. The drivers emerged, stood on top of the car, and waved their hands over their heads. The crown cheered.

The television sets continued to burn, punctuated by an occasional howl as another picture tube imploded. (Carroll 1975)

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