Peter Cook + Archigram 1969

I was lucky enough to work with Dennis Crompton and Peter Cook of Archigram at MOMA, Oxford in 1969, on an exhibition of audio-visual experiments by students and staff working at the Hornsey College of Art Light Sound Workshop. Archigram were inspirational to my generation of students fascinated by the possibilities of what Dick Higgins later called intermedia. Archigram and Fluxus – and Architectural Design magazine,  and Moorcock’s New Worlds – and Buckminster Fuller, and Eduardo Paolozzi – the writings of Reyner Banham, Marshall McLuhan, Jack Burnham, the precision of Bridget Riley – these were the kind of artists we liked. Archigram were fun too – and like Cedric Price’s Phun City, this was a welcome attribute in art in the late Sixties. The only image I have of our MOMA show is this one sent to me by Tony Rickaby (who along with John Bowstead, Gary Crossley and I also collaborated on this show, which was featured on BBC TV Horizon.




Peter Cook: Archigram 1999

Simon Sadler: Archigram – Architecture Without Architecture 2005

Dennis Crompton: Concerning Archigram 1999

Nigel Kneale + Michael Elliot 1968

As I mention above, this was a real revelation to someone doing a post-grad year at the Hornsey Light/Sound Workshop, and fascinated with the potential of audio-visual and motion-picture media. The dominant media in any era seem to pass largely undetected by critical observers – (as McLuhan said – its the artists who appear always to be ahead of their time – and it takes longer for a critical response). And here we have two artists – Nigel Kneale and Michael Elliot – creating a show that is a remarkably prescient vision of where we are now – some 40 or so years later. There wasn’t another TV show like this until Orson Welles exploration of the potential of VR in F for Fake (1972) and John McGrath explored television chromakeying techniques in his delightful Adventures of Frank (1980).