VanDerBeek's neato graphics offer an initial rush; after that, they begin to feel slight. And the substance he sought to transmit is more a utopian vibe than a meaning. Also, galleries aren't conducive to watching films and videos — you're always walking in during the middle of looping video, and droning sound bleeds from one space into the next, making much of the audio unintelligible.

Still, many of the ideas of VanDerBeek and his contemporaries came to fruition as cable television, the Internet, and Wi-Fi. Tech developers were often idealistic hippies from the same social circles as the artists and psychedelic gurus. Whole Earth Catalog editor Stewart Brand wrote in Time magazine in 1995: "Counterculture's scorn for centralized authority provided the philosophical foundations of not only the leaderless Internet but also the entire personal-computer revolution." The web, in this light, is one big, psychedelic commune.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , North Carolina, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Photography,  More more >
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