John Hopkins, or as he's been known since the early 1960’s, “Hoppy”, is arguably the most seminal figure in British video - although the standard histories tend to marginalise his contribution. His early awareness and enthusiasm for the new medium and his vision of its potential as distinct from traditional broadcasting have been somewhat overlooked.

Hoppy’s position as a leading light of the counter-culture brought him into contact with key figures in the British rock scene, including Lennon, Jagger and Townsend - all of whom gave him the opportunity to experiment with early video equipment.

Hoppy had first encountered the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, Stafford Beer, Shannon and Weaver and Buckminster Fuller in the mid 1960’s and he was inspired by Cybernetics and Systems Theory rather than Semiology or Structuralist thinking. In the 1970’s UK art funding favoured the more dominant “structuralist-materialist” film and conceptualist video concerns, but the experimental video “Area Code 514” made by Hoppy’s video group TVX was broadcast nationally on BBC 2 as early as 1970.

Hoppy’s enthusiasm for video as a radical new communication medium paralleled his other innovative cultural projects- the International Poetry Incarnation at the Albert Hall in 1965, the London Free School (with Rhaune Laslett), the UFO club (where Pink Floyd had their early break), The International Times in 1966 and the 14 hour Technicolor Dream at Alexandra Palace in 1967.

HT

This interview took place on Thursday 9th May, 2013 and is 64 minutes in length. Our interest in posting this is in the exchange of information, and so standard issues related to lighting, sound, and framing and whether or not this material should be edited or cut are not the most important issues to either myself or Chris Meigh-Andrews. We recognise our act of interviewing to be both research and research artifact.

Click the play button to begin, click the box bottom right of frame (right of the youtube button) to go full screen - with thanks to google for housing this project.