The conditions that sustained the embryonic video community in 1970 differed markedly from those that prevailed four years later. For one thing, the landscape had evolved to include a wide variety of forms. Some types of video art were finding acceptance in galleries and museums. And with the advent of time-base correction, documentary and narrative videotapes produced on half-inch portable equipment were beginning to appear on television.
Also, the number of people who called the video community home had expanded exponentially. The community had grown from a handful of video pioneers, who knew each other more or less well, into a national movement with hundreds of practitioners. Non-profit organizations dedicated wholly or in part to 1/2-inch portable video production had sprung up across the nation and a generous support system of grants and fellowships had evolved to meet their funding requirements. It seemed to be a rosy picture and, in some respects, it was.
But for some of the people who encouraged it all - the community represented by Radical Software, its contributors and readership - the perceived emphasis on product marked a troubling departure from their goal of evolutionary change. There was less a sense of challenging the information order of the day and more a sense of becoming part of it.
There is some feeling of this in the opening paragraphs of this last issue of Radical Software, « Video & Kids », put together by Peter Haratonik and Kit Laybourne of the Center for Understanding Media. Concerned mainly with the use of video for educating children, and sensing a community-wide feeling of doubt about goals and methods, they called together a conference of educators and video activists who shared their concerns, and challenged them to explicate their own work and goals. This last issue of Radical Software is the remarkable result.