USCO, also known as the Company of US or US Company, was a group of artists, poets, filmmakers, engineers, and composers who formed a cooperative work and living space in a church in Garnerville, New York. USCO was founded in late 1963 by Michael Callahan, Steve Durkee, and Gerd Stern. In addition to the three founders, a rotating cast of participants including Jonathan Ayers, Sara Ayers, Stewart Brand, Lois Brand, Barbara Budd, Jane Burton, Adrienne Callahan, Bob Dacey, Barbara Durkee, Bob Kugler, Mary Orser, Brian Peterson, Judi Stern, Paul Williams, Dion Wright, and Jud Yalkut brought their own expertise and talents to the larger group. USCO operated as a collective and maintained an ethos that directed and imbued their artistic practice. Their mottos included “We are all one. In a world of simultaneous operations, you do not have to be first, to be on top” and “Guidance, counseling, navigation, and control is our business.” During the 1960s USCO incorporated lights, colors, moving images, sounds, and human actors into a range of multimedia and environmental art practices and artworks, such as installations at museums and galleries and performances at universities and movie theaters, including the first Expanded Cinema Festival and Timothy Leary’s Psychedelic Theater, The Tabernacle at their church, and the first multimedia discotheque, Murray the K’s World.
Drawing upon the influences of religion and technology, USCO used everyday materials, new communication apparatuses, and Eastern and Western mysticism to create artworks that bombarded and overloaded the senses. These artistic spaces unleashed a psychedelic celebration that placed at its center the participation of the individual and the heightening of consciousness achieved through an interaction within the work. USCO members foresaw the transformative power of technology, enlisting it as a conduit toward altering mental and physical experience. They incorporated a philosophy derived from a combination of visionary theorists and spiritualists, including Marshall McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Meher Baba, and the Kabbalah.
USCO’s work falls into three broad categories: multimedia presentations at colleges and museums; kinetic sculpture and painting shown at galleries and museums; and a variety of immersive environments. USCO's multimedia performances were presented at institutions across the United States and Canada, including MIT, Rhode Island School of Design, University of California, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, University of British Columbia, and Oberlin College. The paintings and kinetic works were exhibited around the world, including at the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Liverpool, Centre Georges Pompidou, Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, Howard Wise Gallery, and the Berkeley Art Museum. Immersive environments were installed at the Riverside Museum, Jewish Museum, Walker Art Center, and Murray the K's World discotheque, as well as a permanent installation at the group's headquarters, the former church in Garnerville, New York. In 2016 the USCO church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.