Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Film Studies


Dr. Janelle Blankenship


This thesis examines the media, artists and creative practices that emerged in the New York City downtown art scene in the Lower East Side and the uptown hip-hop scene in the South Bronx during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I focus on independent public access television, video and under-researched ‘No Wave’ filmmakers Charlie Ahearn, Glenn O’Brien, Edo Bertoglio and others. I discuss how these disenfranchised, low-budget artists sought not to collapse their differences, but to explore the points of connection that engendered a form of artistic hybridity that negated both homogeneity and order. I argue that the narratives, aesthetics and techniques of this group of artists represent a unique cultural milestone in the history of radical American art, music and film.