The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties

The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties

Fred Turner


We mostly contemplate the psychedelic sixties as an explosion of artistic power and freedom that arose in direct rebellion opposed to the social restraint and authoritarian hierarchy of the early chilly warfare years. but, as Fred Turner finds in The Democratic Surround, the many years that introduced us the Korean battle and communist witch hunts additionally witnessed a unprecedented flip towards explicitly democratic, open, and inclusive principles of conversation and with them new, versatile types of social order. strangely, he exhibits that it used to be this flip that introduced us the progressive multimedia and wild-eyed individualism of the Sixties counterculture.
In this prequel to his celebrated booklet From Counterculture to Cyberculture, Turner rewrites the heritage of postwar the USA, displaying how within the Nineteen Forties and ’50s American liberalism provided a much more radical social imaginative and prescient than we now consider. Turner tracks the influential mid-century entwining of Bauhaus aesthetics with American social technology and psychology. From the Museum of contemporary artwork in manhattan to the recent Bauhaus in Chicago and Black Mountain university in North Carolina, Turner exhibits how probably the most famous artists and intellectuals of the 40's constructed new types of media, new theories of interpersonal and foreign collaboration, and new visions of an open, tolerant, and democratic self in direct distinction to the repression and conformity linked to the fascist and communist routine. He then exhibits how their paintings formed one of the most major media occasions of the chilly conflict, together with Edward Steichen’s Family of Man exhibition, the multimedia performances of John Cage, and, eventually, the psychedelic Be-Ins of the sixties. Turner demonstrates that by means of the tip of the Fifties this imaginative and prescient of the democratic self and the media outfitted to advertise it will truly develop into a part of the mainstream, even shaping American propaganda efforts in Europe.
Overturning universal misconceptions of those transformational years, The Democratic Surround indicates simply how a lot the creative and social radicalism of the sixties owed to the liberal beliefs of chilly conflict the United States, a democratic imaginative and prescient that also underlies our hopes for electronic media today.

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