Ant Farm is a avant garde art group founded in San Francisco by Chip Lord and Doug Michels. As a group, Ant Farm did Media Burn (1975) which addressed the pervasive nature of the television in many people’s lives. It confronts people directly as the work was made to imitate a real life event that would have been televised for all to see, and poked fun at what people usually would deem as a serious topic. It took something serious and brought it to the art context and changed the purpose of the ‘news coverage’ and the audience’s reaction.
I have to say that Ant Farm and Media Burn resembles the idea of Andy Warhol’s Factory (although their purposes are different) Andy Warhol’s Factory ran from 1962 to 1984 and it was basically a studio space in New York where artists gathered and contributed to the iconic silkscreen prints by Andy Warhol, as well as provided a breeding ground for the artists to collaborate. One famous group that emerged from the Factory is The Velvet Underground, which made the collaboration the Velvet Underground and Nico possible. Perhaps it is the fact that both of the groups are breeding grounds for collaboration and this is what is most important to both these groups: to do things with others. Another point where they resemble each other is that Andy Warhol sort of poked fun at the popular culture in the American culture with his soup can sales and print sales. The television culture was growing in importance and Ant Farm took it and poked fun at it. The funny thing is that the mainstream media covered it as well, without fully knowing the purpose of the artwork, and manifested the work further as it poked fun at the television culture.
(Sidenote: Singapore tried to get something like this happening, The Artist Village (TAV)! Founded by Tang Da Wu, in Sembawang, and it subsequently moved to Pulau Ubin because of the government reclaiming the land at Sembawang. The Artist Village is less active nowadays but the residency is still happening (I think), and one of my cousins is actually a member of TAV. It would be so powerful to see something like Media Burn happen in Singapore, but it probably wouldn’t be that feasible with the political and social stigma in Singapore.)