Collection of DeeDee Halleck
Historical and biographical overview:
DeeDee Halleck is an award-winning media activist, educator, and independent filmmaker. From her work with Shirley Clarke’s TP Video Space Troupe, to co-founding Paper Tiger Television, the Deep Dish Satellite Network and helping to build the Indymedia movement—Halleck has subversively (and playfully) deployed media tools to critique the corporate landscape for the past 50 years. Halleck’s archive is an unparalleled resource on alternative media arts and culture and would be a valuable asset to scholars looking to historicize the uses of analog and digital technologies (film, video, internet, and social media platforms) both as experimental art forms and politically-engaged media for social movements, citizen-journalism, and critical pedagogy.
The materials in this collection embody Halleck’s individual artistic achievements, as well as those of the networks of socially engaged artists and citizen journalists she was part of. Halleck has been a longtime participant in numerous campaigns and movements to challenge corporate media control—from the cable access movement, projects promoting the cultural exchange of community media-makers worldwide, and with the establishment of alternative media centers following the counter-globalization movement. This work reflects a vast legacy of creatively disrupting the dominant paradigm of media production through collective interventions.
Early in her career as an educator, Halleck was at the forefront of the media literacy movement. In 1961 she recorded these early efforts in the first film documenting youth media, Children Make Movies, at Lillian Wald Recreation Rooms and Settlement. The film was screened at the 1962 UNESCO symposium, and was recognized by media theorist Marshall McLuhan as pioneering work. The use of filmmaking as a tool for youth empowerment is exemplified in the collection’s 16mm and super 8mm films produced in workshops taught by Halleck, which include the Henry Street Settlement Film Club (1962-1966) and a film program for incarcerated teens at the Otisville School for Boys (1968-1972). The archive also includes essays written about these experiences which were published in Film Culture and Film Library Quarterly. Her film made in 1964 about a community mural project at Henry Street (The Mural on Our Street) was nominated for an Academy Award in Documentary Short Subjects in 1965.
In the 1970’s Halleck was part of an eclectic cohort of artists groups who facilitated playful media experiments outside the spaces of traditional arts institutions. The diary she kept while working on the artist Robert Frank’s film Keep Busy (1975) exemplifies her experiences from this period through a series intimate and often humorous reflections. The archive also contains flyers from Shirley Clarke’s Teepee Video Space Troupe’s happenings, photos of the Videofreex’s pirate television broadcasts, collaborations with Richard Serra, Nancy Holt, Liza Bear, and Joan Jonas, and films from the community-based arts organization Live Arts (Middletown, NY) which Halleck co-founded. Through these artistic endeavors, Halleck and her collaborators ushered forth a new era of participatory media production.
Beyond a ‘guerrilla’ aesthetic—Halleck’s work reflects a deep commitment to creating and participating in socially engaged work. The archive contains documents, stills, and audiovisual materials from over 30 films she directed in addition to numerous television productions. Halleck was a steadfast documentarian of the Bread and Puppet Theater, and created several films from footage of their annual circus festivals. The archive also contains extensive research and rare materials from Halleck’s decade-long project examining the history of Latin American stereotypes in US media from 1898-1945. The film she created from this work, The Gringo in Mañanaland was the target of the first censorship of NEA media funding in 1983 and the archive contains legal documentation and correspondence from the case. The finished film was selected for several international film festivals, including The Venice Film Festival, The London Film Festival and the Trieste Festival on Latin America.
Halleck’s activism and media production focused notably on political issues in Latin America in the 80’s, and gross misrepresentation in mainstream media. The materials in the archive are of great value as they exemplify alternative perspectives on topics including the revolution in Nicaragua, and the history of Haiti’s political economy. The archive also includes a vast array of materials from Halleck’s solidarity work, including posters and publications produced under the Sandinista government. It includes many audiovisual materials from the region, such as materials prepared for X-Change TV, a group that collected and translated videos from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Mexico for distribution to community access channels throughout the United States.
The archive reveals myriad unsung histories of activists and artists creating community-driven alternatives to mainstream media. In 1981, Halleck founded Paper Tiger Television, a groundbreaking innovation in video art and public access television which presented a critical view of mass media with a handmade, irreverent aesthetic. The archive contains videorecordings, organizational papers, and documentation of their installations in galleries and museums. In addition, Halleck also co-created Deep Dish Television in 1986, the first grassroots satellite and cable television production and distribution network for independent media-makers, artists, and activists. Halleck’s work has been instrumental for citizen journalists documenting grassroots social movements. The archive contains extensive materials from seminal projects—the Gulf Crisis TV Project (a distribution platform for media protesting against the first Gulf War), and the first television broadcasts of Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. Halleck was the initiator of the first year of Democracy Now TV, turning what had been a radio program into an important international source for daily news.
The collection significantly documents struggles for media democracy and reform within the US. One pivotal campaign which is represented is the fight to increase support and channel space for independent video and film on public television, the legacy of which is illustrated by the inclusion of programming such as Independent Lens and POV today. As President of the Association of Independent Video and Film Makers (AIVF) in the 1970’s, Halleck led this campaign in Washington, testifying twice before the House Sub-Committee on Telecommunication. There is extensive documentation of organizations such as the Coalition to Make Public Television Public which spearheaded the Coalition for Public Broadcasting campaign. The archive also contains material from the cable access television movement, struggles to insure public interest set-asides for Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) and low power radio. These struggles fundamentally altered the media landscape, enabling the broadcast of media made by independent producers, citizen journalists, and university students.
The materials in the archive epitomize Halleck’s involvement in media reform and community media on an international level. There are documents, ephemera, audiovisual materials, and photos from her workshops at alternative media centers around the world, which include several trips to Nicaragua (1983-2000) where Halleck worked with the Communication Office of the Ministry of Agriculture (MIDINRA) to train and assist video makers in creating educational video. She presented workshops in Japan, Mexico, Korea, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, the UK and Ireland. There is also extensive correspondence and documentation from Halleck’s leadership in international organizations—such as Videazimut, a federation of community and independent television—and from her participation in gatherings including the World Summit on the Information Society and more recently ICANN (The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) where she has been an active member of the Non-Commercial Users Constituency. Significantly, the archive contains materials documenting the formation of “Indymedia”--independent media centers—participatory networks of citizen journalists--which formed internationally after the protests against the WTO in Seattle in 1999.
The collection signifies Halleck’s substantial contributions to media scholarship. She held a Full Professor position at the University of California for 17 years, where she specialized in alternative media and Latin American cinema. The archive includes syllabi and comprehensive materials she compiled for her courses, as well as the work of her students, many of whom went on to make their own scholarly contributions. The collection also contains documents from her collaborations with student activists including the Burn Website (1993), one of the first uses of an early pre-internet browser (Mosaic) for social issue activism and radical imagery. The archive holds numerous articles and essays about alternative media Halleck authored during her tenure, as well as writings compiled in her book Hand Held Visions: the Impossible Possibilities of Community Media (Fordham University Press).
DeeDee Halleck’s body of work occupies a unique place between art and activism. She has achieved recognition and acclaim for her contributions including four awards for lifetime achievement: an Indy from the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, The George Stoney Award from the Alliance for Community Media; The Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC), and the Dallas Smythe Award from the Union for Democratic Communication, 2008. Traversing the artistic avant-garde, her archive essentially charts a complex and critical narrative of networks of communication, from the 1960’s to the present which fully present the depth and breadth of community media history and the cultures of social movements globally and within the United States.
Scope and Content of the Collection:
Selected film and television productions: 1961-2015
● Production files- production notes, press, promotional materials, and audiovisual elements of approximately 30 films, videos, and television productions produced by Halleck between 1961-2003.
● Paper Tiger Television- two banker boxes of organizational papers, photos, fliers, programs, artworks, correspondence, and proposals.
● Deep Dish Television- Three banker boxes of organizational papers, budgets, proposals,photos, fliers, programs, artworks, correspondence, and downlink station lists.
● Gulf Crisis TV project- one banker box of organizational papers, photos, fliers, programs, artworks, correspondence, and proposals.
● Democracy Now- one banker box of early proposals, correspondence, budgets, down-link lists and promotional materials.
● Bread and Puppet Theater- posters, photographs, correspondence, artworks, programs, and audiovisual recordings.
● Lock Down USA and other prison programs. Four banker boxes of research materials regarding prisons, crime, death penalty and prison abolitionist movements such as Critical Resistance and off-air copies of legislative hearings, news coverage of prison issues and extensive correspondence and writings from prisoners.
● Reverend Billy Television Series (2013)- 8 half hour programs (miniDV/DVD) of series The Last Televangelist with Bill Talen, Choir of The Church of Stop Shopping, Laura Newman, James Soloman Benn and Joan Baez.
Youth-made media: 1961-1974
● Lillian Wald Recreation Rooms and Settlement- one folder of flyers photographs, and articles, film Children Make Movies.
● Henry Street Settlement- one folder of flyers and photographs; 3 16mm films.
● Otisville Division for Youth, NY State Division for Youth- one banker box of documents, photographs, notebooks; super 8 films,16mm films created by youth.
● Deep Dish West Harlem-One box with proposals, photographs, posters and video from video and web site making workshops on Harlem history and the environment.
Alternative and community media in New York: 1970’s
● Shirley Clarke and the Teepee Video Space Troupe- one folder of photographs, flyers, notes and articles.
● Live Arts - Three folders of proposals, flyers, newspaper clippings, and photographs. 1 16 mm film and 20 super 8mm films from an arts center Halleck created in Middletown, NY and at migrant camps in Florida, NY in the mid 1970s.
● Videofreex- one folder of black and white photographs from their pirate radio events.
● Image Union- two folders from 1976 experimental national convention coverage by a collective of video artists and activists: 5 Day Bicycle Race and Mock Turtle Soup.
Material from Collaborations with Other Artists: 1973-2013
• Liza Bear’s Communications Update- 3 folders of photographs, brochures, 10 video programs.
• Correspondence, photographs, flyers and posters from Nancy Holt, Jean Dupuy, Sari Dienes and Richard Serra. Two banker boxes. (Halleck shot and edited several films for these artists.)
Media advocacy and activism in the US: 1970’s-2000’s
● Association of Independent Film and Videomakers- two banker boxes of brochures, posters, minutes, correspondence and publications about the campaign to democratize public television with the Coalition to Make Public Television Public (1977-1982). Material related to independent films from the 60’s-90’s.
● Public access television- Three banker box of flyers, reports, proposals, surveys about public access around the US. Notes and programs from the national conferences of the Alliance for Community Media. Photographs and display material. Video material: edited tapes and some mini DV tapes of meetings.
● Satellite access television- two banker boxes of organizational proposals, correspondence, fliers, numerous proposals and examples of satellite networks: Deep Dish TV, The Ad Hoc New Network, The Green Channel, SUN (Satellite University Network), The 90’s, Free Speech TV, Labor Link TV, The Youth Channel and others.
● The minutes, notes, proposals, plans and financial records of the Instructional Telecommunications Foundation – 4 banker boxes. Halleck was a board member for 19 years of this organization which started two PBS stations (Philadelphia, Boulder), satellite delivery of educational material to 9 school systems (Philadelphia, Denver, Chicago and others), Free Speech TV and enabled the delivery of Democracy Now to over 1000 community television and radio stations.
Media advocacy and activism, international: 1990’s-2000’s
• Network Building During the 1980s and 1990s, Halleck worked with many organizations to articulate the need and search for funding for creating an alternative network for independent work.
• Network Building During the 1980s and 1990s, Halleck worked with many organizations to articulate the need and search for funding for creating an alternative network for independent work.
● Videazimut & international community/alternative media- three banker boxes of fliers, articles, correspondence, magazines and organizational papers, and documentation from Videazimut and community media organizations based in and outside the US. Documentation of meetings are on hi-8 cassettes.
● World Summit on the Information Society- one banker box of flyers, meeting notes, correspondence, promotional materials related to the two WSIS events: in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunisia in 2005. Video recordings of meetings and demonstrations, including an historic use of activist projection on the walls of the WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva.
● Indymedia- one banker box of original proposals and correspondence relating to the initial Indymedia media center in Seattle and the follow-up work to spread the IMC movement worldwide, indymedia
● Archival materials from Latin America (1898-1940)- 5 boxes rare books gathered for research for the film Gringo in Mañanaland, including photographs, slides, antique books, reproductions of cartoons.
● The Gringo in Mañanaland- 5 boxes of research video (35mm and 16mm film, video, about U.S. intervention in Latin America and stereotypical representations of Latin American culture.
● NEA censorship- Articles and correspondence. The project was one of the first art projects censored during the culture wars of the 1980’s. Included are legal correspondence regarding that NEA censorship and the response to this.
● One banker box of Nicaraguan magazines, flyers and newsletters. Schedules and lists of X-Change TV programming.
● One box with a collection of examples of the Nicaraguan press: Barricada, Nuevo Diario and La Prensa in the years 1983-1989.
● 30 VHS video from Nicaraguan producing groups and 15 Umatic recordings of Nicaraguan culture and activism.
University of California, San Diego: 1986-2001
● One banker box of materials related to courses taught, syllabi, student writings, print materials produced by campus activists, correspondence, and departmental organizational papers.
Rough Inventory of Network Box
Rough Inventory of Network Box
Network Initiatives: Planning and Dreaming of a Network for Independent Media
This is a collection of proposals and ephemera from several initiatives that Halleck was closely involved with for creating new sources of programming for US television. Artists and activists had long chafed at the spread of corporate media, (and that includes PBS), making it difficult for other points of view and more adventurous creative forms to be seen on broadcast television. Halleck was an active leader in many efforts to create independent infrastructure that would distribute alternative media to a wide public. This box is a collection of records of those efforts.
• IMAGE UNION, 1976
In June 1976, DeeDee Halleck was part of a group of video activists to document the Democratic Convention in NYC live on cable access. Video makers included the Videofreex, Tom Weinberg, Eddie Becker, Maxie Cohen, Joel Gold and many others. The 5 nights (@ 3 hour programs) were called The 5 Day Bicycle Race.
This effort was considered a successful use of cable resources to show independent views of a national event—the Democratic and Republican Conventions. The group also created a 3 hour program on election night in November, entitled Mock Turtle Soup. Although a program on local cable channel, it included media makers from across the US and was seen as a test of collaborative television for possible national transmission in the future.
The name Image Union and the varying formats of independent media became the a weekly show on Chicago,’s WTTW, now recognized as the longest running independent media series on public television.
The Image Union folder includes a NYTimes review and photographs of the convention production, a Chicago Sun article about the local version of eclectic work and a proposal for a continuing series that would be distributed to public television stations throughout the US.
Image: a page from the proposal for the 1980 version of Image Union
• ALTERNATIVE VIEWS: THE ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION NETWORK, 1978
Doug Kellner and Frank Morrow started a public access show in Austin, Texas, which they distributed on cassette (bicycled via US mail) to eventually 80 public access channels around the country.
• TV POSTCARDS/SATELLITE PICTURES, 1979
After the Image Union election experiments, several of the producers, especially Halleck and Weinberg wanted to continue producing collectively to create a series as a national independent program service, drawing up plans for a programming that would be distributed via satellite from cities around the US to a maverick network of PBS stations.
TV Postcards folder includes proposal for a national series and a sample programs (i.e. Detroit: the Voice of Labor). Postcards from various locations around the US were proposed for visual openings:
Included are outline of possible weekly episodes (from Minneapolis, Houston, Puerto Rico, Santa Fe, Yakima, Atlantic City, etc.; an issue of the newsletter of the Center for Southern Folklore, a potential video contributor, and individual producer resumes. The series morphed into Satellite Pictures: Show and Tell Postcards. The folder contains a prospectus for variations of the series.
List of team members with bios and a map of the locations for the first series and rough sketches of first twenty programs and 13 alternative possibilities.
A confidential memo critiquing public television and hoping to enlist programmers within the system for support for a maverick series/programming network. Lists (marked confidential) leaked from within PBS of those stations that were willing to play alternative video series such as The Police Tapes and a program called Bad Boys (not the one later syndicated on commercial TV.)
• PUBLIC INTEREST VIDEO NETWORK, 1979
A consortium of video and radio producers including Arlen Swoboda, Kim Spencer, Evelyn Messinger. created programs on nuclear power after the Three Mile Island nuclear incident. They also pioneered a union sponsored satellite feed to Poland, while the Solidarity movement was active in that country.
• THE CHICAGO EDITING CENTER EDUCATIONAL CHANNEL 1980
This initiative started by the Chicago Editing Center. Founder Weinberg became aware of an underused Chicago educational UHF channel and drew up plans to have it become a possible outlet for independent programming, which would also be made available to other educational stations in other cities.
Folder includes history and rationale for channel, proposal and time line, and a full budget, including capital costs, for implementation.
• WINDOW/THE OPEN EYE
Article from Scan magazine about a “Conclave” in Boulder Colorado a group proposed to provide a channel for the “first post literate generation” and those who want an electronic version of Mother Jones, Co-Evolution Quarterly, MAD Magazine; New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal. A conclave in Boulder brought together producers, activists and several who had attended the Alternate Media Center. Included John Schwartz, Doug Cruickshank.
• LIVE BROADCAST FROM DISARMAMENT PEACE MARCH IN CENTRAL PARK, NYC, 1982
This collaborative program brought together over 100 independent video makers for a 5 hour broadcast via PBS satellite. Videos from early morning marches in barrios and suburbs were played as an introduction to the final live broadcast of the music and speeches on the park stage.
• GRASS ROOTS TELEVISION NETWORK 1984
This initiative started from Cedar, Michigan: syndicated programs to local origination and access channels. This effort was not limited to non-profit channels. There would be multiple options—one would carry local bartered or commissioned commercials, It would also be available in a non-profit format.
The folder includes a manual for producers, a form to apply, a contact list of producers who are interested and a copy of a letter from Paper Tiger Television, promoting use of their programming.
• DEEP DISH TV, 1986
See 2 Deep Dish Boxes for Information
• UNION PRODUCERS AND PROGRAMMERS NETWORK—UPPNET, 1986
Newsletters and printouts of emails. Program lists and agenda from organizing conferences. Program guide from Labor Link, San Diego based public access program.
• LEFT STAR, 1989
Draft of a proposal for a openly left satellite network that would work with non-profit left organizations such as MADRE, Center for Defense Information, Green Peace, Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International etc. It would also work with the National Association of College Broadcasters and media watchdogs such as Paper Tiger, FAIR and the Institute for Media Analysis, Media Alliance. There is a long list of potential “downlinkers” and a list of potential funders.
• THE NINETIES, 1989
This started as a series for WTTW, the public television channel of Chicago, offered to public television stations. In addition to being a series it was the main programming on nine 24 hour channels that were the result of the negotiations of the Instructional Telecommunications Foundation and the cable providers. (See the ITF box for details of this organization of which DeeDee Halleck was a founding director). DeeDee actively worked to develop the series and also contributed video and was given the title of “Outreach Producer”.
One folder with various lists of programming and several lists of “downlinkers” and a collection of the newsletters which were sent to producers, downlink programmers and interested viewers. The folder contains a catalog of nineties tapes that were for sale in an effort to generate income.
One folder has a research study, a survey of 90’s channels viewers; includes the survey cross tabulations results and a sample of the questions. There is also a print out of viewer comments, press comments. One comment is that the 90s are “Commie Liberal Cancer!”
A folder has correspondence relating to the formation and continued funding of The 90’s. These include copies of letters to William Kirby, Chair of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, letters between Tom Weinberg, DeeDee Halleck and John Schwartz on the plans for sustaining the programming and the channels.
•THE AD HOC COMMITTEE FOR A NEW NETWORK, 1989
With the many initiatives happening in the 1980s, there was an attempt to combine these efforts for a national programming network. This was enthusiastically supported by William Kirby, Chair of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. This folder contains memos and a variety of communications between the foundation and the various members of the project: Jon Alpert (Downtown Community TV), Ada Griffin (Third World Newsreel), DeeDee Halleck and Steve Pierce (Deep Dish TV), Lillian Jimenez (National Association of Latino Independent Producers), Tom Weinberg (Image Union and the Chicago Editing Center). Dee Davis (Appalshop), and others.
The folder has several reports by DeeDee Halleck, including a “call to arms” (Time for New Television) and a “Memo to the Field” to enlist other organizations to join the project. Included is “Report on the August 1990 Meeting” which was held in Willow, New York, outlining the structure and administration to be proposed. Also included is a completed Proposal for a Pilot for a New Programming Service and an article mentioning the initiative from Current, the public broadcasting newsletter.
• SATELLITE UNIVERSITY NETWORK-- S.U.N., 1993
The Center for Puerto Rican Studies wanted to build connections with other Latino oriented university programs and collaborated with Deep Dish Network to create 6 programs on the subject of Latinos in the United States. This folder consists of proposals for the programming, list of the centers in various universities that were target to downlink. Also are press releases which were distributed at conferences and sent to a variety of lists—Latino Studies departments, and public access and public television stations that are in communities with large Latino populations. There is a flyer with an owl sitting on a satellite dish promoting the series. One of the station lists has notations of past maverick programming that the stations were willing to play.
Reports: Over 40 public television stations agreed to run the series. These were mostly in border states. Included are fax printouts of listener comments from the public TV stations. One element is a paper for segment producers, explaining the series and giving the terms of carriage.
There is also a final report by DeeDee Halleck, coordinator of the series, discussing the outreach by herself and Cynthia Lopez, program associate. Included are some of the transmission problems which Deep Dish encountered. There is a list of the stations with hand written information pertaining to their reception—both technically and in terms of content.
• THE GREEN NETWORK (JAY LEVIN)
Jay Levin was the founder and owner of the LA Weekly. By the mid 90s he had sold his stake and wanted to spend time (and some of the lucrative resources from the sale) to initiate a television network that would be a television equivalent to the LA Weekly.
Folder includes lists and information about participants in Green Network meetings: Jo Menell (journalist); Arlene Bowman (native producer); Paul McIsaac (radio producer and theater director/actor); DeeDee Halleck (Deep Dish TV and the 90’s) ;Paula Goss, video maker; John Schwartz (spectrum maven); Sylvia Morales, Latina producer; Cheng Sim Lim, (UCLA film archives); Jeff Nightbyrd (SDS and Yippie leader); Andra Akers(“new age” Synergy Institute) Shauna Garr (LA producer); Yanique Joseph (Haitian producer); Beverly Naidus (Professor of Art, Long Beach) and others. Included are correspondence and proposals for implementing the network with fundraising plans, budgets and timelines. Articles about television and channel initiatives and press releases about this network idea.
There are DeeDee’s extensive notes, a folder of potential programming sources—Appalshop brochure, Native American Film Festival, etc. and lists: of downlink contacts, of environment organizations and of programming sources. There are extensive budget proposals.