Aldo Tambellini’s ‘The Day Before the Moon Landing’ at EAI

Electromedia portrait of Aldo Tambellini at The Black Gate Theater, New York, 1967. Photo: Richard Raderman. © Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation.
ACT at MIT

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI). Founded in 1971 by Howard Wise, EAI was envisioned as an alternative paradigm for the cultivation of artists’ media, serving as a critical hub for the creation and distribution of video at a time in which the availability of these tools was limited and the infrastructure for the circulation of these works was still emerging. Access, community, and experimentation were the cornerstones of EAI’s founding.

These values will serve as springboards as EAI reflects on the history of their organization, and the medium more broadly. In celebration of this milestone, EAI is launching a section of their website dedicated to EAI at 50. Here, they will present a series of video features—in many cases accompanied by newly commissioned writing, archival documents, and interviews—and publish a series of oral histories with key figures. Every two weeks, EAI will spotlight a rotating work from our collection, spanning an intergenerational roster of artists, beginning with an early title by CAVS Fellow Aldo Tambelliniwhose innovative interventions into television are emblematic of the approach EAI was founded to support.

Aldo Tambellini was a fellow at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) from 1976-1984. During his time at CAVS, much of his work focused on video art.

The Day Before the Moon Landing (1969) is the first in a series of videos made by Aldo Tambellini to capture broadcast television as it was experienced live. It’s available to view through February 23rd, accompanied by a new text by Rebecca Cleman, an excerpt of which is below:

The Day Before the Moon Landing (1969) is the first in a series of videos Tambellini made to capture broadcast television as it was experienced live. Unlike more involved works such as Black TV, the video simply records Tambellini channel surfing between the networks on July 19, 1969, the day before Apollo 11 landed. And yet, this relatively raw document is remarkable. Recorded very early on in the emergence of home video, when the mere act of being able to capture broadcast television was a marvel, the footage might not otherwise exist today, as major television networks were not yet in the habit of archiving their content. Tambellini corralled the transmission and transformed it into an improvised performance, ultimately structuring a visual poem about the quotidian context of an otherworldly event. 

Find the full article and access to the video here.