GBH Openvault

Rockefeller Artists in Television; Violence Sonata

Part of New Television Workshop.


Complete Channel 44 air show

License Clip

This program cannot be made available on Open Vault.

More material may be available from this program at the GBH Archives. If you would like research access to the collection at GBH, please email

Rockefeller Artists in Television
Violence Sonata
Series Description

The "Rockefeller Artists-in-Television" residency program was created to support artists working in television. It was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation from 1967 through 1970. It was replaced by "The WGBH Project for New Television." While some of the Rockefeller artists, such as Nam June Paik, were already very committed to the medium of video, others were coming to the medium for the first time or from a film background. Paik developed the Paik-Abe videosynthesizer, with Shuya Abe, while working as a Rockefeller artist (though additional funding for the synthesizer's construction was provided by WGBH). The device was used to generate special effects and color enhancements. Artists supported by this program included: Mary Feldhaus-Weber, Marie Cosindas, Lee Lockwood, Stan Vanderbeek, David Wheeler, Nam June Paik, Zone, Newton Wayland, Shoshana Dubiner, Theo Wolfe, Dick Bartlett, Tim Mayer, The Propositions, Tim Hunter, David Silver, and Jean Shepherd. Many of these artists worked collaboratively to create one or more works. Series release date: 1967

Program Description

Stan Vanderbeek’s “Violence Sonata” mixes live studio action and a prerecorded video work to question violence, race relations, and man’s ability to communicate at the beginning of the 1970’s. On channel 2, the original work created by Vanderbeek was shown. This includes archival film footage of the Ku Klux Klan, street scenes, images of outer space missions, riots, and so on. This imagery is manipulated and enhanced through overlays and color saturation. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is featured. A white man and black man repeat the phrases, “I want to like you” and “Adapt or die.” Raised fists are recurring images. On channel 44, sections of this work were played before a live studio audience who responded to the question “Can man communicate?” At home, viewers were also encouraged to call in their responses to this question and, despite the somewhat dire issues raised by the work, voted overwhelmingly in favor of man’s ability to communicate. In one image from the work, a black woman and a white man appeared in bed together. No credit information appears on the viewing copies.

See January 1970 Program Guide for cover story.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Audience participation television programs
Video art
Race relations
Film and Television
Stan Vanderbeek (Producer)
Barzyk, Fred (Director)
Atwood, David (Director)
Chicago: “Rockefeller Artists in Television; Violence Sonata,” 01/13/1970, GBH Archives, accessed April 20, 2024,
MLA: “Rockefeller Artists in Television; Violence Sonata.” 01/13/1970. GBH Archives. Web. April 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Rockefeller Artists in Television; Violence Sonata. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.