Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"A Hellish Sensorium"

Andy Warhol.
The Velvet Underground.

Exploding Plastic Inevitable.

Andy Warhol collaborates with the electronic, intermedia Velvet Underground and German model, singer Nico to create a show that influences late 60's media culture drastically. 
The performance travels for a year after police interventions, unhappy audiences, and tragic mishaps like the suicide of the lighting designer.

EPI was a transformation from Andy Warhol's original idea, Up Tight,  which was a showing of some of his films at the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry. As the reels were rolling a filmmaker used flood lights and shoving cameras in people faces to record reactions from audience members as they were asked "blunt and embarrassing sexual questions."

Warhol's desire to push his ideas so far that they become their own type of mainstream brought him to working with Velvet Underground and Nico in expanding this performance.  Many more artists assisted with lights, dancing, and advertising of the show. Eventually the show became: Velvet Underground playing a set, large speakers all around the room blaring different pop music, Nico performing, different colored lights flashing, dancers dancing around showing hall's space (this is how the audience participated) and, of course, showing reels of 3-5 of Warhol's films simultaneously all around the performance space.(drugs). Shadows being casted onto the film and distorting the images with the human form was an important element to the event as it went along with the live performance aspect of it. It is a multimedia party. 
McLuhan ate this idea up. The social rebellion, abnormal music/sounds, and multiple focal points (the films along with the performers) create an artwork that conforms to McLuhan's ideas of the 'antisocial' groups. The 'amateurs' that should be rewarded for their raw/original ideas and for lacking the training provided in order to be a 'professional.'

Joseph, Branden W. ""My Mind Split Open": Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable." Grey Room. 08. (2002): 80-107. Print.


  1. They look so interesting! Thanks for giving us some information on them - I can't wait to see your presentation!

  2. Your presentation made me both fearful and excited for our upcoming project. Yikes.

  3. multi-media madness! I liked the fact that your presentation incorporated both the intent of the artists as well as the reactions of the patrons