author ofSecurity through InSecurity
author ofThe 1988 Tompkins Square Police Riot - A Video Point of View
author ofThe Disappearance of Public Space on the Net
articleTompkin Square Riot Memories
linkPaul Garrin's bio on Mediafilter
Paul Garrin began making videoworks in 1980 while a student at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. Garrin began working for Nam June Paik on the day that Reagan was shot in March 1981, and spent the day recording TV news broadcasts of the event. A master of image processing techniques, Garrin uses layered digital imagery to achieve dense, atmospheric effects while addressing issues of public and private space.
Since the 1990s, Garrin has carried his politicized style of action artmaking onto the internet, founding companies and projects that work to free the internet from corporate and government control.
His work "Man with a Video Camera (Fuck Vertov)", 1989, in which he videotapes a riot in Tompkins Square Park in New York City's Lower East Side, famously sparked off the 'camcorder revolution'. The video records police officers with covered badge numbers beating protesters, and Garrin himself being pulled off a van and assaulted for shooting video tape. In the video, Garrin proposes a new revolution is coming; a reverse Big Brother state in which citizens armed with camcorders are continually watching the government. Another well known work is Free Society, 1988, an intensely processed video using images representative of a police state.