Gene Youngblood's Expanded Cinema

December 2020

Stan VanDerBeek coined the phrase “expanded cinema.” But it was Gene Youngblood who put it on the cover of a book, filled it with rocket fuel, and sent it buzzing through the late-1960s art world like a heat-seeking missile. For its fiftieth anniversary, Expanded Cinema has been lovingly reissued by Fordham University Press with a substantial new memoir-ish introduction by the author. The volume reminds us to locate the techno-anarchic edge of what became “new media” on the left coast, where filmmakers, psychedelic engineers, and intermedia practitioners wrested cybernetics from its military command-control origins in machine feedback loops and put it in dialogue with the autopoiesis of self-regulating, life-entangled systems mixing “mescaline and logarithms.” From VanDerBeek’s “culture intercom” of images projected in a dome detoured from agricultural silos in rural New York to

— Caroline A. Jones

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