Jesse Drew Homepage (perpetually under construction)


Some Recent Writing

A Social History of Contemporary Democratic Media

The Commune as Badlands, as Utopia, as Autonomous Zone in West of Eden

San Francisco Labor in the 1970s. In Ten Years that Shook the City

The California Heart of Country Music

Black Panthers and the Newreel Collective

Labor Media in the Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media

At a Distance

Collectivism After Modernism

Processed World


The Patron Saint of Communications

Glass Picture



Jesse Drew

For over three decades my work and research has been centered on the theory and practice of alternative and community media, particularly electronic media. New technological developments coupled with an increasingly fragmented civil society have propelled alternative communications activities into the cultural mainstream.  Over the years, blogging, videostreaming, Low Power FM Radio, cable television, mesh networks, peer-to-peer computing, social networks, texting, online BBSs, list-serv activism and a myriad of other activities have come to take a central place in our social infrastructure.  It is within such practices that my research over the last 30 years has been based. It is my hope that the content and context provided in this site can contribute to further work in this area.

Short Biography

Jesse Drew is a videomaker, multimedia artist and scholar who seeks to challenge the complacent relationship between the public and new media technologies. Working with video, electronics and new media technologies for over three decades has provided him with a unique perspective on new digital developments. His work has incorporated satellite technology, mini-FM radio transmitters, digital video, internet and website projects and multimedia kiosks.

Drew's work has been exhibited, cablecast and broadcast at venues such as the Mill Valley Film and Video Festival, the Film Arts Festival, the ZKM in Germany, the World Wide Video Festival (Amsterdam), Incident (Brussels), Taos Talking Pictures, Galerie Merida (Mexico), Dallas Film and Video Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the American Indian Film and Video Festival and many other sites. Through his association with Paper Tiger Television and Deep Dish Television, his collaboratory work has been exhibited at New Langton Arts, the Wexner Center, NYMOMA, the Walter and McBean Gallery, the Whitney, Camerawork, the SF Arts Commission Gallery and many other institutions.

He has taught the theory and practice of new media and audiovisual arts and communications technologies at the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State University, the University of Texas at Austin, the San Francisco Academy of Art, New College of California, California College of Arts and Crafts and San Francisco City College. For several years he was the head of the Digital Media Center at the San Francisco Art Institute as well as the Associate Dean of the school. He is currently Associate Professor and Director of Technocultural Studies at the University of California at Davis.

A consistent advocate for public access to media arts production and distribution, Drew is a founding member of the San Francisco Community Television Corporation, and in 1994, he was awarded a "Goldie" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian for his work in community media. Recently, he was active in bringing Low Power FM station KDRT (Davis Community Radio) into existence. His writings have appeared in numerous publications and journals as well as several anthologies, such as Resisting the Virtual Life (City Lights Press) and Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture (City Lights Press). A chapter in a book published by MIT Press, At A Distance: Art and Activism Before the Internet (Eds. A. Chandler, N. Neumark) investigates the evolving notion of networks and alternative communication practices that occurred before the popularization of the internet. A chapter in an anthology entitled Collectivism After Modernism by the University of Minnesota Press details the role of video collectives in contemporary arts movements.

Current projects include a book on the subject of recent media democracy activism and a documentary film on the politics of country music.


Contact Me