Gray Area Reads! Expanded Cinema With Gene Youngblood

Join Gene Youngblood & Gray Area in discussing Expanded Cinema in weekly conversations.

Gray Area Reads! takes a look at some of the original works around media theory, the confluence of art and technology, and the impact of technology on society and culture. Together we will work our way through discussions around how culture and technology can engage with society. For our first edition we will start with a book enormously influential to our thinking around immersive art, Gene Youngblood's Expanded Cinema.

First published in 1970, Gene Youngblood's influential Expanded Cinema was the first serious treatment of video, computers, and holography as cinematic technologies. Long considered the bible for media artists, Youngblood's insider account of 1960s counterculture and the birth of cybernetics remains a mainstay reference in today's hypermediated digital world.

To mark its fiftieth-anniversary re-release by Fordham University Press, join Gray Area in a virtual book club and weekly conversation about Expanded Cinema, with author Gene Youngblood. This edition includes a new Introduction by the author that offers conceptual tools for understanding the sociocultural and sociopolitical realities of our present world.

A unique eyewitness account of burgeoning experimental film and the birth of video art in the late 1960s, this far- ranging study traces the evolution of cinematic language to the end of fiction, drama, and realism. Vast in scope, its prescient formulations include "the paleocybernetic age," "intermedia," the "artist as design scientist," the "artist as ecologist," "synaesthetics and kinesthetics," and "the technosphere: man/machine symbiosis." Outstanding works are analyzed in detail.

Providing an unparalleled historical documentation, Expanded Cinema clarifies a chapter of countercultural history that is still not fully represented in the art historical record half a century later. The book will also inspire the current generation of artists working in ever-newer expansions of the cinematic environment and will prove invaluable to all who are concerned with the technologies that are reshaping the nature of human communication.


April 5 – May 24, 2020
Every Sunday, 11:00am – 12:00pm PST


April 5: Welcome & Introduction with Gene Youngblood & Barry Threw
April 12: Part One: The Audience and the Myth of Entertainment with Michael Connor
April 19: Part Two: Synaesthetic Cinema: The End of Drama with Amelia Winger-Bearskin
April 26: Part Four: Cybernetic Cinema and Computer Films with Casey Reas & Larry Cuba
May 3: Part Three: Toward Cosmic Consciousness with Erik Davis
May 10: Part Five: Television as a Creative Medium with Tina Rivers Ryan
May 17: Part Six: Intermedia with Niki Selken
May 24: Part Seven: Holographic Cinema: A New World with Kamal Sinclair

Gene Youngblood

Gene Youngblood is an internationally known theorist of media arts and politics. His book Expanded Cinema (1970), the first to consider video as an art form, was seminal in establishing Media Art as a recognized scholarly and artistic discipline. He is also widely known as a pioneering voice in the media democracy movement, and has been teaching, writing and lecturing on the subject since 1970. Michael Parenti has called Youngblood “a leading critic of media culture.” BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast thinks he’s “a true revolutionary.” Alternative Radio founder David Barsamian notes Youngblood’s “deep and early insight into how culture is manufactured.” Film director Monte Hellman (Two Lane Blacktop) calls him “one of our great natural resources.” Actor-activist Peter Coyote says Youngblood “illuminates dark corners … reminding us that ethics and morality are essential parts of the agreement we call reality.” Paul Krassner, publisher of The Realist, says Youngblood’s writings on counterculture “capture the spirit of a time when there was an evolutionary jump in consciousness, inspiring a sense of hope that it’s happening again now.”

Kamal Sinclair

Kamal Sinclair is the Executive Director of the Guild of Future Architects and Senior Consultant to Sundance Institute. She serves as External Advisor to MacArthur Foundation's Journalism & Media Program, Creative Advisor to For Freedoms, MIT's Center for Advanced Virtuality, Starfish Accelerator and Eyebeam. Previously she was Director of Sundance Institute's New Frontier Lab Programs. She was commissioned by Ford Foundation's JustFilms to research equality in emerging media, which resulted in "Making a New Reality."

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