SEID, Steve (ed)
Media Burn: Ant Farm and the Making of an Image
This book examines the complex set of cultural references and art-making strategies informing Ant Farm’s seminal 1975 performance Media Burn in which a customized Cadillac, dubbed the Phantom Dream Car, was driven through a wall of burning television sets.
Originally conceived as a conceptual architectural practice, Ant Farm evolved into a full-service art collaborative, culminating in such notable works as House of the Century (1971-73), Cadillac Ranch (1974) and The Eternal Frame (1975).
In Media Burn the artists flourished in a rich tumult of ideas that engaged contemporary media theory, an oddly complicated aesthetic spectacle, textual appropriation and an all-encompassing branding effort.
Written by Steve Seid (Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive), and drawing upon a rich visual documentation, this book delves into the little-known critical backstory to this influential performance (and video work) involving a massive effort to mount a subversive critique of media hegemony while continually re-imagining the crux of the performance itself.