Still from Music with Balls, Terry Riley & Arlo Acton, c. 1968-1969

Terry Riley & Arlo Acton, Music with Balls, (still) 1968-1969. Courtesy of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Screening Room

WHEN THE MEDIUM WASN’T: San Francisco’s Dilexi Series

The Dilexi Series features groundbreaking video and film works for television created by artists in the late 1960s.

Broadcast across the Bay Area in 1969, the Dilexi Series was one of the earliest projects where artists used television to disseminate their work to a wide public audience. The collection includes radical video and film works by influential artists Julian Beck, Walter De Maria, Kenneth Dewey, Robert Frank, Anna Halprin, Phil Makanna, Yvonne Rainer, Terry Riley and Arlo Acton, Edwin Schlossberg, Andy Warhol, William Wiley, and Frank Zappa. Shown in its entirety for the first time in nearly 20 years, the Dilexi Series screens daily in the McEvoy Arts media room from February 16 through May 5, 2018.

The Dilexi Series spans genres and mediums and is organized by curator Steve Seid into thematic programs: “Acts of Seeing,” “Paradigm Shift,” “Marching Orders,” and others. All works were commissioned and produced circa 1968-1969. They include East Bay artist Walter De Maria’s Hardcore, an anti-war “western” set in the Black Rock Desert; Frank Zappa’s Burnt Weeny Sandwich, a music video created more than a decade before MTV; and Andy Warhol’s unfinished short Paul Swan, documenting an elderly, idiosyncratic artist and actor of the same name. Anna Halprin brought postmodern dance to the small screen with Right On, and composer Terry Riley manipulated soprano saxophone and tape loops into a complex symphony in Music with Balls, accompanied by sculptor Arlo Acton’s large spheres and film overlays.

The Dilexi Series was the brainchild of Dilexi Gallery director Jim Newman, who partnered with KQED-Channel 9 to commission a collection of moving-image works by notable artists.

Newman’s Dilexi Gallery represented a pantheon of contemporary artists like Jay DeFeo, Roy De Forest, and Manuel Neri. KQED gained a reputation as a supporter of the arts through the Experimental TV Project, a cross-disciplinary residency charged with discovering new aesthetic uses for TV technology. The Dilexi Series was a complete disruption of the broadcast space, presenting Bay Area audiences with an unusual and utterly unique form of television that was visually original, thematically diverse, and subversive in its complete disregard for “good” TV.

Preservation of the Dilexi Series was completed at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). The McEvoy Arts screening is curated by Steve Seid and co-presented with BAMPFA.


For 25 years, Steve Seid was the Film and Video Curator at the Pacific Film Archive, a department at the University of California, Berkeley. He organized over 1,000 programs involving video art, film, and new media. Seid also oversaw an ongoing video preservation project and conducted annual workshops on visual literacy for high school teachers for a decade. He curated numerous exhibitions including VideoscapeWhose Side Are You On?, The Border, and Radical Light.

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