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WGBH Media Library and Archives

Survival Ecology - Hamburger Harmonics

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Summary
A man conducts an experiment in survival ecology with a house plant as he describes, in a voiceover, how he butchers beef in a slaughterhouse. In his demonstration, the man trims leaves from a plant, cuts them into pieces, burns them, and then plants them in a pot. The man then steps back, doffs his lab coat and gloves, and dons a sports coat and a bow tie. At this point in the soundtrack, the man concludes his description of the butchering process and begins to reflect on his personal response to the job. He rationalizes the butchering of beef to accompanying images of a food chain. He then returns to his experiment to unearth a large metal ball from the pot in which he planted the pieces of burnt foliage. As he does so, the man concludes that his part in the butchering process is merely that of a machine transforming the cow into something more useful. Upon the conclusion of the narration, text images appear which discuss Marxism, technology, and agrarian politics. Little credit information accompanies the work, which is approximately 12 minutes long.

"Survival Ecology - Hamburger Harmonics" was acquired by the Workshop to be broadcast as part of "Artist's Showcase".

"Artist's Showcase" was a series designed to showcase video art and experimental work from WGBH. The program ran on Sunday evenings at 11 P.M., from the fall of 1976 through 1982. In the early 1970's, "Artist's Showcase" was the only consistent broadcast outlet for many of the Workshop productions. Most materials of broadcast quality created at WGBH in the mid-1970's were shown as part of this series. Additionally, earlier video art experiments and segments of related shows, such as "Mixed Bag" or "What's Happening Mr. Silver" were broadcast under these auspices. This series was also a broadcast outlet for a handful of works by video artists that were not created at WGBH but only acquired for this purpose. Some compilation reels showing highlights of Workshop activity were also broadcast.
Topics
Slaughtering and slaughter-houses
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