Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees

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Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees
Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees.jpg
Directed byDavid Blair
Produced byDavid Blair
Written byDavid Blair
StarringDavid Blair
William S. Burroughs
Florence Ormezzano
Meg Savlov
Clyde Tombaugh
Music byBeo Morales and Brooks Williams
CinematographyMark Kaplan
3D Animation by Florence Ormezzano
Release date
  • 1991 (1991)
Running time
85 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States

Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees is the first independent feature film by American filmmaker and artist David Blair. It was also the first film on the Internet. [2] Released in 1991, Wax was a cult hit, [3] playing cinemas in 26 U.S. cities and had additional theatrical play in Japan and Australia. Wax was a co-production with ZDF, German Television, and opened theatrically to rave reviews at the Public Theater in New York. Wax was included in a number of 10 Best Film lists that year. [4]


As the first film streamed across the Internet in 1993, the New York Times declaring Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees an “historic event.” [5] That same year, the hypermedia version of the film, Waxweb , was one of the first sites on the World Wide Web, [6] and thus has been repeatedly cited as a milestone of Internet Art. Waxweb has been presented in museums worldwide. [7] Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees was an early example of digital cinema, was one of the first independent films to be edited on a digital non-linear system, the Montage Picture Processor, and transferred from video to film for theatrical presentation.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

Waxweb is a hypermedia version of the film Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees by David Blair.

Internet art is a form of digital artwork distributed via the Internet. This form of art has circumvented the traditional dominance of the gallery and museum system, delivering aesthetic experiences via the Internet. In many cases, the viewer is drawn into some kind of interaction with the work of art. Artists working in this manner are sometimes referred to as net artists.

Blair performs in the film, which additionally features a cameo by William Burroughs. As an anti-war statement, Wax provided an early critique of the Gulf War and current-day drone warfare. A combination of innovative digital animation, found footage, and live action, Wax’s visual form is a unique representation of the technologies and politics that it critiques, which still reverberate today.

William S. Burroughs American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer

William Seward Burroughs II was an American writer and visual artist. Burroughs was a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author whose influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Burroughs wrote eighteen novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. Five books have been published of his interviews and correspondences. He also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances in films. He was also briefly known by the pen name William Lee. Burroughs created and exhibited thousands of paintings and other visual art works, including his celebrated 'Gunshot Paintings'.

Gulf War 1990–1991 war between Iraq and Coalition Forces

The Gulf War, codenamed Operation Desert Shield for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm in its combat phase, was a war waged by coalition forces from 35 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait arising from oil pricing and production disputes. The war is also known under other names, such as the Persian Gulf War, First Gulf War, Gulf War I, Kuwait War, First Iraq War or Iraq War, before the term "Iraq War" became identified instead with the post-2003 Iraq War.

Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees and Waxweb have been supported by substantial grants, co-production, and international sales. Grants for this project include three awards from the New York State Council for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, American Film Institute, Jerome Foundation, and Checkerboard Foundation.

The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is an arts council serving the U.S. state of New York. It was established in 1960 through a bill introduced in the New York State Legislature by New York State Senator MacNeil Mitchell (1905–1996), with backing from Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and began its work in 1961. It awards more than 1,900 grants each year to arts, culture, and heritage non-profits and artists throughout the state. Its headquarters are in Manhattan, New York City.

National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. The NEA has its offices in Washington, D.C. It was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1995, as well as the Special Tony Award in 2016.

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is an independent 501(c)(3) charity, funded through government, foundation, corporate, and individual support, established in 1971. It is part of a network of national not-for-profit arts organizations founded to support individual artists and emerging arts organizations, with a mission to "empower artists in all disciplines at critical stages in their creative lives." The organization has approximately 30 staff members, including executive director Michael L. Royce.

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  2. Markoff, John (1993-05-24). "Cult Film Is a First On Internet". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  3. "Movie Review -- Review/Film; Atoms to Bees in Alternative Realities - NYTimes.com". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  4. "Reviews of Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees". www.telepathic-movie.org. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  5. Markoff, John (1993-05-24). "Cult Film Is a First On Internet". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  6. "Reviews of Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees". www.telepathic-movie.org. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  7. "Screenings of Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees". www.telepathic-movie.org. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
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