Third Eye Centre Video Archive
In a letter dated March 1973 Tom McGrath gives an account of a visit to the Rotterdam Arts Foundation mentioning video and sound-recording equipment that was to be of vital importance. He had bought a video camera in after his return to Scotland foreseeing the likely developments the camera will bring.
Some of the earliest tapes show McGrath filming life in the Blythswood Square offices of the Scottish Arts Council as everyone tries to get to grips with the new camera. As Third Eye Centre became increasingly involved in the medium, McGrath became more knowledgeable and at ease with the networks and structures it was engendering. The Third Eye Centre became known as an important platform for video art, so much so that by 1976 it was hosting an important exhibition entitled Video (Towards Defining an Aesthetic).
The tapes have survived because they were gathered together by Jak Milroy at the close of Third Eye Centre and donated to the Scottish Screen Archive. Later they were placed in the care of Malcolm Dickson at Streetlevel and were stored in the offices of Rewind in Dundee. AHRC funding for this speculative research The The Glasgow Miracle: Materials for Alternative Histories has provided the resources to digitise the videos.
Investigation and research into various document archives is now revealing their context but there remains much research to do around the tapes and their content. It is clear that much of their value resides in their ability to stir the memories of audiences and participants in the events they record. To this end, we would encourage anyone who has any memories of Third Eye Centre or who can help identify figures or flesh out our sparse information to contact us.