Do You Know Where Your Brains Are? 30 Years of Paper Tiger

In 1981, Paper Tiger Television took to Manhattan’s public access airwaves. Playing a low-fi, children’s show aesthetic against serious themes, Paper Tiger was an early innovator in the kind of left-leaning, media-critical news that’s blossomed since the dawn of the Internet. While Paper Tiger’s coverage spanned the gamut from the personal to the international, it always kept a keen eye on the city.

And from its earliest episodes, in which media theorist Herb Schiller railed against the New York Times and feminist critic Elaine Rapping discussed the history of romance novels, to recent episodes exploring the Occupy Wall Street movement and the transformation of public space, Paper Tiger has been operated by an all volunteer collective of artists, activists and skeptical journalists. 

It is one thing to critique the mass media and rail against their abuses. It is quite another to create viable alternatives.

For its 30th birthday, Paper Tiger is celebrating with a two-day conference called “Being the Media.”

Watch Video:

The trailer for Paper Tiger’s 30th Anniversary looks at some of the best clips from the collective’s archives. Video courtesy of Paper Tiger Television.

The first day involves a panel discussion on the past, present and future of radical media. The panel includes members of the media making vanguard, including Andy Bichlbaum from the Yes Men and YesLab, Women in Media and News founder Jennifer Pozner and Colorlines editor Jamilah King.

The second day’s event is more active, and features a series of workshops leading up to a team challenge to prototype new forms of media.

Watch Video:

This recent episode of Paper Tiger looks at the history and future of public space, and includes CUNY faculty members commenting on the transformation of NYC’s public gardens. Video courtesy of Paper Tiger Television.

Additionally, NYU’s Fales Library is hosting an exhibition of media from Paper Tiger’s archives, open to the public now through May 3.

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