This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
In celebration of their 25th anniversary, progressive downtown media organization and one-time public access channel Paper Tiger Television hosts two nights of programming at the Anthology Film Archives. Over the years, PTTV has helped hundreds of New York media activists, students, art historians, video artists, and others produce videos with various goals and for various audiences. They are mostly known for the culturally critical documentary tapes with a certain PTTV-look that eschews slick production values for a sense of artistry and play. Recommended tonight at the 7pm screening is sociologist Herb Schiller's 1981 tape Herb Schiller Reads the New York Times: The Steering Mechanism Of the Ruling Class, which delivers on its titular promise. The video is an early manifestation of a video "reading" genre that PTTV pioneered. The form is one in which an intellectual or artist performs a critical, something theatrical, reading of a popular cultural publication, usually with the intention of deconstructing the language of the text and exposing the transparent constitutive ideologies in the process; Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs made a tape reading Rolling Stone for the series in 1982, Martha Rosler reading Vogue in 1982, Alex Cockburn reading the Washington Post in 1983, Noam Chomsky reading the New York Times in 1986.
Tomorrow's show at 7pm focuses on tapes dealing with race and class in New York, and includes Tompkins Square Park: Operation Class War, a 1992 documentary on the now deeply entrenched class divides of a then-gentrifying Lower East Side. The 9pm program features several tapes centered on LGBTSTQ perspectives, including Fenced Out, a 2001 documentary on the legal struggles for Christopher Street Pier, a long-established safe-haven for lower-income and homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, Two Spirit, transgender and questioning youth of color and an important 60s historical site of the modern gay liberation movement.