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USCO: A Conversation with 1960s Multimedia Pioneers

Michael Callahan, electronics innovator, co-founder of USCO, and president, Museum Technology Source Inc.; in conversation with Gerd Stern, poet, media artist, co-founder of USCO, and president, Intermedia Foundation. Moderated by Paige Rozanski, curatorial associate, department of modern art, National Gallery of Art

Founded in 1964, USCO, or The Company of Us, was one of the first art and technology collectives in the United States to create unique and ephemeral performances featuring slide projectors, audiotapes, moving images, oscilloscopes, refracted lenses, and lasers. On March 3, 2019, two of the group's co-founders, Michael Callahan and Gerd Stern, joined together for a film screening, rare performance, and this conversation moderated by Paige Rozanski, curatorial associate from the department of modern art. Drawing upon the influences of technology and religion, USCO utilized everyday materials, new communication apparatuses, and Eastern and Western mysticism to create artworks that bombarded and overloaded the senses. Two films by USCO and Jud Yalkut from 1966 were shown as part of the program: Us Down By the Riverside and Us (aka Building the Tabernacle).