Michael Betancourt

Savannah , GA
United States
Georgia US
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Short biography: 

Michael Betancourt is an artist, media historian, critical theorist, and curator. His essays have been translated into Chinese, Italian, Greek, Persian, Portuguese, and Spanish; journals such as Leonardo, Semiotica and CTheory have published his essays; he has edited five books on visual music technologies invented by artists such as Thomas Wilfred, Mary Hallock-Greenewalt, and Oskar Fischinger. In the course of this research, he discovered the oldest surviving hand-painted abstract films, done in 1916 by inventor and artist Mary Hallock-Greenewalt. As an artist, he has exhibited his movies, site-specific installations, and non-traditional art forms in unseen, unusual, or public spaces since 1992. The second edition of his book, (written as a textbook), Structuring Time came out in 2009. His movies work with the techniques of optical printing, but in a digital medium. His movies have been shown in galleries, festivals and art fairs internationally, and are distributed in Europe by Lowave. He wrote The ____________ Manifesto in 1996. It was originally posted in usenet, reposted by several webzines, and printed as a broadsheet in Miami. He began experimenting with distribution concepts online, creating the "Free Art Project" in 1997, an experiment that adapted the model of the GPL from open source software to cultural products such as art; this project ran until 2000. At the same time, He also began producing guerilla interventions in public spaces in 1996 with The TrueLife Ad Campaign, a project that assumed the form of a newspaper ad. Since then, he has produced a series of interventions in public spaces designed to provoke an active engagement with the viewer. Betancourt was a co-curator of the independent video series The Experimental Show that ran in Miami from 2000 to 2003. In 2006, he produced The iotaCenter's Visual Music From Iota DVD anthology. From 2007 to 2009, he was the curator at the Sioux City Art Center. He spent his childhood summers at the Kommos Excavation, in Pitsidia, Crete, Greece; starting in 1986, he worked for several years as the Staff Photographer on the Pseira Archaeological Excavation in Crete; this excavation was run by his father, Philip Betancourt, and Costis Davaras. In the early 1990s he worked as an Assistant Editor, then as Art Director for a revived version of Weird Tales started by George H. Scithers, Darrell Schweitzer and his brother, John Betancourt. During this same period he began screening his movies and showing in art galleries.

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Critical writing by this author:

Title Publication Type Publisher Year
A Aura do Digital Article or chapter in a book 2010
Full Name: 
Michael Betancourt
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Luciana Gattass