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University of California
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive


Between 2008 and 2012, BAMPFA received over six thousand pages of archival paper records and hundreds of raw camera tapes and edited masters from some of the original TVTV members. The paper treasure trove included not only correspondence and insurance contracts from TVTV's five years of active production, but also fan (and hate) mail, snapshots, and scrapbooks related to several productions.

In 2018 BAMPFA received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize a selection of the videotapes as well as all of the papers. The paper archive is now available online through UC Berkeley Library's Digital Collections system, and a detailed finding aid to the papers is on the Online Archive of California. Find highlights from the paper collection here. Enjoy!

TVTV members mugging for the photo booth while in Miami for the 1972 National Party Conventions

The Prime Time Survey

“In the beginning there was the Portapak.” So begins The Prime Time Survey, TVTV’s clearest expression of its mission and ethos at the height of its productivity and ambition. This is also the beginning of almost every other history of video art and guerrilla television, taking the Sony Portapak as the epitome of artistic freedom and radical technological possibilities in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The tone quickly shifts, though, to chiding artists and critics who valued the new portable video equipment as an end in itself. The tools of guerrilla video wielded by inept producers would be worthless as much as video art that navel-gazes into the camera would become “electronic wallpaper.”

[. . .]

15 July 1974

image of The Prime Time Survey
Scrapbook for The World's Largest TV Studio

A scrapbook made by TVTV during the 1972 Democratic national convention with snapshots, collages, and drawings [. . .]

15 July 1972