Conceived in 1979 by John Dorr, then created by him along with a group of founding members in 1983 as an on-going space, EZTV has continued to evolve under the direction of Michael J. Masucci (co-artistic director since 1986) and Kate Johnson since 1993.
EZTV was a pioneer in independent desktop video production, microcinema, self-distribution, artist-based curating, public practice, multimedia live performance and the use of routine video projection for serious exhibition use. It created what were among the world’s first theaters dedicated to video and among the world’s first art galleries dedicated to digital art. It was one of the earliest arts based groups to articulate the transformative emergence of mobile communications.
(Above, art critic Peter Frank reflects on the history and impact of EZTV as part of the American Film Institute’s 1999 tribute to both EZTV’s 20th anniversary as well as the continued contributions of CyberSpace Gallery. Images from various EZTV projects were inserted in 2004.)
Not to be confused with the younger Bit Torrent of the same name, one or more production companies, or other subsequent groups with the same or similar name, this is the real EZTV. We are a group of video and digital artists in the Los Angeles area who have helped articulate the independent desktop video movement.
Projects for which EZTV artists have been key collaborators in have premiered at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), the Cannes Film Festival, Lincoln Center, the BBC, PBS, BRAVO, the History Channel, as well as in numerous festivals, universities, conferences, galleries, and performance spaces.
In the 1980′s and into the mid-1990′s, EZTV also operated a community-based production and post-production facility where independent media makers had low and sometimes no cost access to technology prior to the proliferation of DIY tools and technologies.
In addition to its literally hundreds of gallery, site-specific performance, television and video screenings, it became a major Southern California location for the online digital revolution.
In 1983, EZTV conducted its first experiments with the Internet in collaboration with LA ACM SIGGRAPH. In 1987, in collaboration with KPFK, it conducted its first international Internet event with Dr. Arthur C. Clark in Sri Lanka. During the following years, it hosted an early online arts-based electronic bulletin board. A very early adopter of the World Wide Web in 1995, it created one of the earliest websites for the presentation of computer art. And in 1999, during the AFI's tribute to EZTV’s 20th anniversary, Oiva Kuuntilla, Chief Technology Attache to the Finnish Consulate, articulated the new creative possibilities about to unfold through mobile phones and the various devices they would evolve into.
In 2004, at a SF ACM SIGGRAPH meeting, Adobe educational consultant, Patricia Johnson (no relation to Kate Johnson), suggested the need for an online museum of CyberSpace Gallery and EZTV history. She facilitated an early version of this in collaboration with the Los Angeles Academy of Art University. Then subsequently through EZTV’s inclusion in the Getty Museum & Research Institute's 2011 initiative, Pacific Standard Time, at 18th Street Arts Center, the materials began to be digitized and cataloged. Finally through the efforts of ONE Gallery curator David Frantz, various topics, genres, artists and events began to be formally collected.
As of 2013, EZTV is now an Online Video Gallery and resource to artists, historians, scholars, and anyone interested in the development and evolution of independent video and digital media.
EZTV’s unique history includes the work of artists Dorr, Masucci, and Johnson, as well as ia Kamadalu, Victor Acevedo, Natasha Vita-More, James Williams, T. Jankowski, Kate Crash, Nina Rota, Strawn Bovee, Anneliese Viraldiev, M’Lissa Mayo, Mark Shepard, Pat Miller, Sondra Lowell, and others.
There have also been numerous guest artists such as Dr. Timothy Leary, David Hockney, Yoko Ono, Keith Haring, Robert Altman, Jean Luc Goddard, R. Crumb, Tom of Finland, Barbara T. Smith, Robert Williams, David Em, Rebecca Allen, Susanna B. Dakin, Zina Bethune, Joan Collins, Michael Kearns, Vibeke Sorensen, Shelley Lake, Donna Sternberg, Robert Gelman, Ulysses Jenkins, Jim Shaw, R. Kern, Survival Research Labs, Rachel Rosenthal, Ben Caldwell, Gina Lamb, S. Pearl Sharp, Mark Gash, Jennifer Steinkamp, Loretta Livingston, R. Kern, Jane Cantillon, Johanna Went, John Fleck, Kenneth Hughes, Bob Flannagan & Sheri Rose, and Michael Wright.
Guest organizations, in addition to LA ACM SIGGRAPH, have included the American Film Institute, SONY, IRS Records, the Empowerment Project, AIVF, the International Documentary Association, the Visual Music Alliance, the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies, the Long Beach Museum of Art, AIDS Project/Los Angeles, Los Angeles Psychological Association, California Lawyers for the Arts, LA Freewaves, the Los Angeles Festival, Fringe Festival/Los Angeles, Electronic Cafe International, International Synergy, the earliest roots of what was to become Outfest, and many others…
The inclusion of a wide range of individuals also contributed to the diversity of the programming. Guest curators, presenters and/or programmers over the years, including Patric Prince, Barbara Trent, Peter Lunenfeld, and Mike Kaplan, have also contributed greatly to the level of excellence which has been the hallmark of EZTV for over 30 years. By allowing many to shape the large canvas that has been and continues to be EZTV; a theoretical and practical "think-tank" of artists investigating a wide range of cultural exploration, it’s current directors call “art as anthropology” is attempted and often achieved.
With its earliest roots in West Hollywood, California, EZTV has been, since 2000,
an artist/organization-in-residence at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA.