Media Van

Missing since 1972, The ANT FARM Media Van was recently unearthed in Sausalito, California in the historic NIKE Missile Site SF-88. In response to rumors and inquiries, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Ranger John Porter, led original members of Ant Farm, the seminal 1970s art / architecture / performance collective, Chip Lord & Curtis Schreier, along with San Francisco architect Bruce Tomb, down into the bomb-proof vault doors of the nuclear capable base where they discovered the Media Van, a nomadic documentation node in their utopian Truckstop Network, covered in tar and an estimated 36 years worth of dust. Delighted by the strange and mysterious condition of arguably their most iconic work, the trio speculated that the van was intended as a Time Capsule, albeit an empty one, and claimed that it 'embodies the legacy of Ant Farm'. They proudly dubbed it ANT FARM Media Van v.08 [Time Capsule], and retrofitted the interior with a technological update that enables it to record digital media.

No strangers to time capsules, Ant Farm have previously created (and buried) three capsules: Electronic Oasis, an ill-fated cardboard box sent to the Paris Biennial in 1969 (its contents were pillaged before exhibition); Time Capsule, a buried refrigerator intended to document the inaugural exhibition of a new museum (when opened after 20 years, its contents had turned to dust); and Citizen's Time Capsule, a tar-covered 1967 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser stuffed full with items donated by a over 150 people (the burial site has since been listed as toxic. Citizen's Time Capsule remains buried to this day).

Jimmy Stamp sat down with Curtis, Chip, and Bruce to discuss the 1970s, Buckminster Fuller, time capsules, and the social implications of the rediscovery of the Media Van.

Jimmy Stamp: So the Media Van has recently been rediscovered and it's no longer mobile. Do you think that's symbolic of our era? Are we no longer a nomadic culture? Is there still hope for that utopian idea?

Curtis Schreier: 'Nomad' has so many variations to it. The deal with nomads is that even though they move around - they move around to gain access to resources - they retain themselves as members of a tribe, let's say. A modern nomad may stay in the same place yet the resources come to them. And yet they have a tribal affinity as far as their associations. That's how I would essentially think about this update to the Media Van.

Chip Lord: Yeah, and that's Facebook or Myspace. We are or we should be in a post-internal combustion world. Well, actually we're not quite there yet.

CS: I am definitely in a post internal-combustion world.

CL: Curtis is in a post internal-combustion world.

JS: So then the Media Van is now equipped for a post internal-combustion world, taken to its natural extreme.

CS: Yeah. And the thing I relate it to - there was this media van thing at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. It looks just like a truck and you get in it there and they have a projector on the windshield and it shakes you around and simulates a ride. This was many years ago and I'm quite sure that the entire technology has got to a point where it’s complete situation. Like for space simulations or pilots.

JS: I've been in one in Dresden, actually. It's this complete simulation at a Volkswagen factory where you sit inside a Volkswagen Phaeton and it simulates the ride. And the facility is just so over-the-top and hyper modern. White walls, white floors, glass, all the technicians wear white chemical suits. And they have this thing, if I remember correctly, it's the full car rigged up to a simulator.

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This feature was the online preview of Floater#02 especially on the occasion of the closing of The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, exhibition where Media Van v.08 (Time Capsule) was on view until 8th February 2009 at which time it was 'buried' until the year 2030.