Ant Farm

Media Burn, 1974-1975

On July 4 1975, American Independence Day, Ant Farm organized a spectacular show in the parking lot of the Cow Palace – the big sports and concert arena in the outskirts of San Francisco. Media Burn staged the collision of two icons of American culture: the car and the television. Schreier and Michels, dressed as astronauts, drove a customized Cadillac (the Phantom Dream Car) into a pyramid of burning televisions in front of a group of 400 spectators. This performance, which followed a meticulously planned scenario, attests to the theatrical and narrative dimension of Ant Farm’s installations. The show was filmed and immediately broadcast by local television stations and national broadcast networks invited for the occasion. By “carrying out” the destruction of the quintessential media tool, this work turned the media against themselves by beating them at their own game. A year after the Watergate scandal broke out, Media Burn proclaimed the death of television, which had been raised to the rank of totem of contemporary civilization.

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