W a l t e r z A l t e r
p o r t f o l i o

b i o g r a p h y

2010-15 Published two poetry books - "Engine of Didactic Beauty" and "Theater 
of Utter Charm" and a book of essays -"Panoply Ex Machina" available on Amazon.  
Created a half dozen GoPro videos on the Walter Alter YouTube Channel covering 
hiking trips taken in the Sierras and the California coastal redwoods.  Working on a 
series of video documentary about the week long "Inter DaDa 84" celebration held 
in San Francisco in 1984.  Began series of nature photographs taken on weekly 
hiking trips.  Making and repairing African drums for local drum community.  
Collating and converting various art videos for Gerry Fialka's lecture series on 
American underground art
1998-09   Composing new series of poems for self-publishing.  Created new body 
of computer generated graphics and new series of drawings in ink, colored pencil 
and water color.  Learned to to play didgeridoo and djembe drum. Founding member 
of Dragonfly Creek Drum Circle which evolved into Rhythm Village, an African dance 
and drum ensemble. Designing web pages and making ashiko hand drums for pocket change
1995-97  worked as computer technician and assistant to author David Talbott 
during his making of video documentaries about his work in comparative mythology 
dealing with a revolutionary interpretation of archaeo-astronomy and global 
catasrophe echoed in myths from all parts of the globe.
1991-94  Set up a computer bulletin board service (BBS) dedicated to ongoing 
discussions of politics, media  and technology.  Two page article "The List of 
Recalibrations" published in Fad magazine. Joined the Desert Site Works artist 
group and helped to plan a number of collaborative projects in the Nevada Desert, 
including the 1994 Burning Man Event. Published article on Las Vegas Comdex 
computer convention in Fad magazine.  Worked with Central Signs crew to 
assemble neon robot for a Mark Pauline, Survival Research Labs performance.  
Worked with Kronia Communications as coordinator of their International 
Symposium on Myth and Astronomy and to assemble and release a video 
documentary on this symposium. 
1987-90  Began series of large hanging murals painted upon rubber-backed 
canvas conveyor belt material.  Invited to write ongoing series of articles about the 
arts and technology, video theory and electronic music in Electronic Cottage 
Magazine, Retrofuturism Magazine, and Ylem-- a journal for artists using science 
and technology.  Began composing electronic music on computer keyboard utilizing 
a variety of programs along with series of pictorial compositions created with 
computer aided design program.  Continue to distribute a large volume of media 
theory literature throughout underground and mail art networks.  
1985-87  Represented by the Hatley-Martin Gallery, San Francisco.  Organized 
and participated in 3 person show "Our Friend the Electron", installed permanent 
TV  room sculpture, erected 3 large scale TV-sculpture pieces, displayed photo 
collage series, organized and participated in three electronic music programs at 
the gallery, Organized and participated in a panel discussion on the potential for 
creating a "San Francisco Renaissance" that included as participants Claire Isaacs, 
Director of the S.F. Art Commission, Fred Martin, Dean of Students at the S.F. Art 
Institute, Kary Schulman, head of the S.F. Fund for the Arts, Anne Walker, Trustee 
of the S.F. Museum of Modern Art, Modesto Lanzone, S.F. art patron, and myself. 
Formed and led improvisational experimental music ensemble which evolved 
into a performance group with vocalists, acoustic musicians, slide projection and 
film projection.  Appeared at numerous events throughout S.F. and elsewhere 
(see music performance list).  Appeared 3 times on radio KPFA.  Began audio 
cassette tape distribution company- Baby Brain Tapes.
1984   Began to write articles about media theory and the potential of video 
technology as a carrier of modern culture.  Published articles in Fad Magazine, 
Beef Magazine, Ylem Journal, Electronic Cottage Magazine, The North Mission 
News, Deadbeat Magazine, Wiring Dept. Magazine, The Sins of Coffee Magazine.  
Wrote and distributed a number of tracts on the state of the arts locally, the impact 
of technology on the arts, and the necessity for artists to see themselves in the role 
of creating renaissances. Helped organize the InterDaDa '84 event, a week long 
international meeting of contemporary DaDaists.  Served as translator for the 
patriarch of Neo-DaDa, Guglielmo Achille Cavellini.  Helped organize the 1987 
citywide two week Open Studio event. Participated in S.F. Poetry Festival Poetry 
Marathon event directed by beat poet Herman Berlandt.
1982-88  moved to San Francisco and set up motor scooter repair shop.  became 
headquarters of the S.F. Bay Area Mod scene. Interviewed for: KPIX TV Evening 
Magazine, KGO TV Entertainment News, S.F. Chronicle Style section, Fad Magazine, 
Image Magazine, City Bike Magazine, Road Rider Magazine, Scooter and Scooterist 
Magazine, British Scooter Scene  Magazine, BBC radio, US. NPR. radio, Prism 
Magazine, Calendar Magazine, Z Magazine Metier Magazine, The North Mission 
News, The S.F. Bay Guardian, and Photo Metro Magazine. Began collecting old TV 
sets, detuning the circuitry and assembling them in large scale installation arrays 
with screens treated in a variety of ways-- masks, gels and stencils. Began 
incorporating steel conduit into site specific, temporary sculpture pieces and 
mounting the TV screens into the sculptures. These were installed at a variety of 
events, performance spaces, galleries and dance clubs (see installation list)
1975-82  Began ongoing project assembling photo collages. Began the collection 
and restoration of motor scooters. Met and hung out with many young students, 
artists and punk musicians. My scooter shop become a gathering point for the youth 
sub-culture known as the "Mods", originally popular in Britain in the early 60's and 
now experiencing a revival in the US. Completed and published a book of poetry 
called "The Masters of our Disasters" (Hydraulic Press), Exhibited films on KQED TV's 
Frontal Exposure program and in the Canyon Cinematheque series.  Exhibited photo 
collages in local festivals and with the Nova Artists group shows and served as 
Nova's Assistant Director and Installation Coordinator 1982-83
1973-75  Attended City College filmmaking program on G.I. Bill. Completed 
requirements for Associate in Arts degree.  Completed cycle of 5 experimental films 
beyond course requirements.  Began interest in electronic music for use in film 
sound tracks and completed 12 units course work in electronic music composition 
also at S.F. City College
1972  designed and constructed houseboat on Napa St. pier in Sausalito, Ca. 
Developed interest in filmmaking and began self-study on film history and production 
techniques.  
1968  enlisted in US Navy, trained as Hospital Corpsman, Field Medic and Optician. 
3 year tour of duty at USMC. Supply Center, Barstow, Ca., as Base Optician and 
Director of Eye and Hearing Safety Program. Organized and maintained dispensary 
Medical Library.  Studied current literature on visual physiology and psychology. 
Began wheel-thrown pottery program at Base Hobby Shop. Travelled in local desert 
while drawing and painting. Studied local Indian archaeological sites, petroglyphs, 
mining camps, etc.  
1967  toured central Italy to study origins of Renaissance painting.  Particular 
attention paid to visiting artist's birthplaces. Studied original works in Florence, 
Perugia, Urbino, Arezzo, Sienna, Rome, Pisa, and Venice and marble quarrys at 
Carrara.  Studied Etruscan. Roman and Greek sculpture.
1964-66  2 years US Peace Corps service in Columbia, South America.  1st 
development program for export of native handicrafts. Directed Cooperativa 
Morasurco, woodworking and furniture co-op in Pasto, Columbia.  Taught 
cooperative bookkeeping and organizational methods and quality control.  Design 
supervisor at Instituto de Ceramica, Popayan, Columbia. Assisted at school of 
ceramics in utilizing unusual high temperature clay bodies and glazes found locally.
Education
1961	

College of Marin community college, Kentfield, Ca., major- art, minor- Spanish
1962	

St. Mary's College, Moraga, Ca., major- art, minor- Spanish, 
1963-64

University of California, Berkeley, major- art, emphasis- painting, minor- Spanish
1964-66

US Peace Corps service, Columbia, native handicrafts development program
1968-72

US Navy Hospital Corps school, Field Medical school, Dispensing Optician school 
1973-75

San Francisco City College, major- filmmaking, minor- electronic music
1975

San Francisco City College summer session, 12 units black & white photography

 

 

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