Project member Tom Slootweg (Groningen University) published his article ‘Imagining the User of Portapak: Countercultural Agency For Everyone!’ in the volume Exposing the Film Apparatus: The Film Archive as Research Laboratory, edited by Giovanna Fossati & Annie van den Oever, published by Amsterdam University press & EYE Filmmuseum.
In this contribution the author offers a brief historical exploration of the discursive “imagination” related to the amateur user of the portapak video system in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This contribution does not explore video’s potential to be a media technology for educational purposes or guerrilla journalism. It neither traces its possibilities as a device that enabled users to record and replay at will television programs and feature films. This entry will look at another possible emergence of video: as a tool to make and share experiences of everyday life. Whereas Sony’s marketing rhetoric mainly foregrounds an easy to use operation and functionality in everyday life, a selection of articles in the avant-garde magazine Radical Software (1970-1974) framed portapak’s technological characteristics to be perfectly suited for a countercultural appropriation by everybody.
T. Slootweg, “Imagining the User of Portapak: Countercultural Agency For Everyone!” in: Giovanna Fossati & Annie van den Oever, eds, Exposing the Film Apparatus: The Film Archive as Research Laboratory, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press & EYE Filmmuseum, 2016, pp. 177-188.