Some notes on ANT FARM Art, Architecture, Performance and Video:
When we started in 1968 we called what we were doing "underground architecture". 'Like an Ant Farm?' asked a friend. Yes, like an Ant Farm, a self-contained community, plastic architecture on the outside, free form organic spaces on the inside, it's a slice of life.
-- Ant Farm, 2020 Vision, 1974
(October) Ant Farm was founded by Chip Lord and Doug Michels in
Lord and Michels, teaching at the University of Houston College of Architecture, joined by Doug Hurr, staged a series of free-form 'architectural performances' on the beach at Freeport, Texas. Using several 60-foot diameter cargo parachutes as temporary kinetic structures, TimeSlice events revolved around noimadic lifestyle and experimental multi-media image making.
(June) Lord, Michels, and Tom Morey, Pepper Mouser, and 'Lucky' Jackson dressed in business suits and handed out cash while 'occupying' a vending machine room at a large
(September) Space Cowboy : An installation/performance at a fundraising event at
Invited to the 6th Paris Biennial, Ant Farm sent a time capsule, the Electronic Oasis sculpture - a cardboard box mounted on a plywood platform, containing souvenirs of the 1969 moon landing, and
(September) Michels set off for
Invited to Experiments in Art & Technology's show at the University of Southern California (USC) campus, Ant Farm (Lord, Hudson Marquez, Curtis Schreier, and Joe Hall) inflated a giant 'spare tire' and projected gas station slides while the room (a classroom) filled with the smoke of two highway flares. A cake decorated like a tire was served to the remaining audience as the event ended. (The artists were dressed in service station uniforms and wore gas masks for Gas Station. Ant Farm acquired a Sony porta-pak (with no editing system). Early tapes are scrapbook/improv experiments. Video served as a process tool for the group's creative interaction. Doug "Swami" Michels returns from
Ant Farm was retained by Holt, Rinehart, & Winston to design Guerilla Television. Tapes made during this period were later made into "Ant Farm's Dirty Dishes", 14 minutes (not in distribution).
Ant Farm architects, Michels (with Morey), design architecture for new
Video Slumber Party,
(Spring) Truckstop project included performance/installations using the Ice 9 inflatable and video at several colleges. Most notable was the performance at Yale's School of Art and Architecture in which the lounge singer (met working at a local car wash), Johnny Ramao, sings "I need your love" in front of an audience of disgruntled Yale faculty members and students.
(November) Michels & Lord joined by partner Richard Jost, traveled to
Discussions between Michael Shamberg, Rucker, Marquez, Michels, and Lord lead to the conceptualization of Top Value Television (TVTV.)
On the road to
(July) Democratic Convention,
(August) Republican Convention. Lord and Marquez represented Ant Farm at TVTV's second endeavor. Lord, Shamberg, and Williams edited Four More Years at The Egg Store in
Michels and Lord returned to
Horns and Headlights was performed at the
(December) Marquez and Doug Hurr contributed an Anthology tape, 4*2*Maro an information show at the Contemporary Arts
(June) Cadillac Ranch, a monument to the rise and fall of the Cadillac tail-fin on US Route 66, was proposed and built for Stanley Marsh 3 of Amarillo, Texas, by Lord, Marquez, and Michels. Marsh's TV station, KVII-TV aided in the production of The Cadillac Ranch Show videotape which includes performances by Lord, Michels, Marquez, and Roger Dainton, as well as Stanley Marsh 3.
2020 Vision, Ant Farm's exhibition at the
Freedomland, a teen-age shopping mall commissioned by the Century Development Company of
(July) Media Burn (performance, sculpture, video production) created and produced by Lord, Michels, Schreier, and Uncle Buddie with the support of Tom Weinberg and Howard Wise, was performed on the 4th of July at the
(August) The Eternal Frame produced on location in Dallas, Texas, by Ant Farm (Lord, Schreier, Michels) and T.R. Uthco (Doug Hall, Diane Lane Hall, and Jody Procter), with help from Jim Newman, Stanley Marsh III, and The National Lampoon. This performance for video done on location in
(September) Citizen's Time Capsule containing articles and images for the year 2000 was buried in a 1968 Oldsmobile Vista Crusier station wagon at Artpark. 1975 off-air news coverage and a videotape produced by Artpark staff exists of this event.
During an Australian tour, Michels, Schreier, and Hurr created and produced a live performance of CARmen, an opera for 35 autos at the Sydney Opera House (videotape documentary edited by Michels).
Ned Telly and the Golden Spanner, a modern performance-version of the famous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly created by Hurr, Michels, and Schreier. Golden spanner is used to symbolically unbolt
Dolphin Embassy interspecies communication experiment initiated in
Automerica was published by E.P. Dutton and Company (written by Lord, designed by Lord and Schreier).
Ennui, a movie theater architecture project (designed by Lord, Michels, Schreier) for the enigmatic San Francisco musical group The Residents, featured innovative use of projected image and sound technology as well as California's first unisex bathroom.
(January)  Dolphin Embassy exhibit premiers at the San Francisco Museum of Art. Ambassador Michels returns to
Joined by Australian's Alexandra Morphett and Bob Perry, Dolphin Embassy ideas are introduced to
Philip Garner and Chip Lord performe Chevrolet Training Film: The Remake at La Mamelle,
On August 7th, fire destroys the Ant Farm studio at Pier 40,
From an exhibition Ant Farm 1968-1978 at the