Walter Radtke

Santa Rosa, CA, United States

About Walter



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 a video documentary about his work in comparative
mythology dealing with a revolutionary interpretation
of archaeo-astronomy entitled, "Remembering the
End of the World"

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 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.

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.

1985-87 Represented by the Hatley-Martin Gallery,
San Francisco. 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.

1984 Began to write articles about media theory
and the potential of video technology as a carrier
of modern culture. 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.

1982-88 Began collecting old TV sets, detuned circuitry
and assembled 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".

1973-75 Attended City College filmmaking program
on G.I. Bill. Completed requirements for Associate in
Arts degree.

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.

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.

1964-66 2 years US Peace Corps service in
Columbia, South America. 1st development
program for export of native handicrafts.


Italian, Spanish

Areas of Expertise

Media Theory, Art, Experimental Music, VW Repair, Drum Making, Futurology, History, Poetry (writing/readings)

An idea worth spreading

4 Ideas worth spreading:

1. We need to upgrade our capacity to handle simultaneous data streams. The world is complex and we don't have the cognitive skills to handle it. Any avenue of investigation on the creation of human genius needs to be aggressively engaged and examined.

2. One day humans will computer game themselves to higher university degrees from the comfort of their own media centers. Brick and mortar learning institutions are a thing of the past.

3. Comet and meteor impacts on Earth are far more common than admitted. 10k years ago a near extinction event (Younger Dryas Event) nearly wiped out all life on North America. We exist in a cosmic shooting gallery. No idea will bring the nations closer together than an awareness and programmatic defense against impacting Near Earth Objects.

4. Read your Marshal McLuhan

I'm passionate about

Increasing human I.Q., total field efficiencies, Nikola Tesla, scientific method divorced from ideology,


UC Berkeley

Talk to me about


People don't know I'm good at


My TED story

Came hear after investigating the autistic savant Temple Grandin and watching a YouTube video of her speaking before a packed TED house.

Comments & conversations

Walter Radtke
Posted over 3 years ago
create a wiki based website which will allow everyone to collaborate to solve the most important problems that face all of us.
Good points. Yes, yesterday's brain is a severe hindrance to progress in problem solving and that includes yesterday's Malthusian applications of Darwinian survival of the fittest notions to human affairs. Malthus' ideas on animal species' tendency to exploit their environments to the point of extinction simply cannot be applied to human affairs where the capacity for technological invention blatantly overthrows all Malthusian calculations about the inevitable scarcity of resources. In this regard humans are emphatically not animal-like and computations about animal populations do not apply. Humans have the _unnatural_ capability to discover or engineer new or more efficient methods of finding or creating necessary resources, and as such, are defined by their ability to expand populations regardless of the sustaining power of the "natural" environment. In short, we transcend nature to create our own environments with forms of lawfulness that don't appear in nature. The mind of a contemporary human being owes less to Mother Nature than it does to its enveloping culture and civilization. Nature throws numbers and time at the problem of evolution. Humans engineer their own evolution.
Walter Radtke
Posted over 3 years ago
To organize Global voting districts by watersheds
Watersheds are natural boundaries and as a demographic demarcation could work in a fully conscious society but it will be an uphill struggle against the demographic demarcation created by a common language. Language is a powerful organizing tool; you want to hang out with the people you can converse with. My take is that Marx's "withering away of the state" won't come via any struggle for justice, but because of information technology. Marshal McLuhan said sixty years ago that electronic communications will create a "global village" and that village's nervous system will be the communication media. Today's Internet is doing more to break down national boundaries than any ideology ever has or could. It's instructive to note which nations are censoring the Internet. If you want a global government, give every human a laptop and a high speed connection and let it evolve according to its inherent potential rather than by the artifice of propaganda.
Walter Radtke
Posted over 3 years ago
Would you eat "in vitro" meat?
Cool! If Ruper Sheldrake is correct, one day our "minds", which according to him are recorded into the fabric of the Universe, will be downloaded into a buff new body and we'll compare notes with the great thinkers of history who will also have been downloaded.
Walter Radtke
Posted over 3 years ago
Is there a stigma attached to positivity?
I see your point, but depression can also be subconscious and work to affect a person's interpretive framework and leak out into their attitudes. Subconscious phenomena remain poorly understood and poorly researched other than among the Freudians. Freud's "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life" remains a classic and explains how the little ordinary glitches we experience in our daily thought processes and subsequent actions have deeply symbolic motivation. Consider that you think at talking speeds with words mostly, yet electrical signals in the brain are ocurring 20,000 times faster- computations and anticipations and conclusions occurring in unperceived ways before the thought reaches consciousness. People can have depression but not show it except by a vague sense of unease about attitudes that are anti-depressive or situations that trigger a more overtly depressive response.
Walter Radtke
Posted over 3 years ago
Can computer games be designed to deliver education in an effective manner?
I read you loud and clear, and I'm aware of the dangers of a computer simulation game environment. But, as you observe, it's an option for education that has potential. Measuring that potential would be the first step. In trying to stir the masses from my Hyde Park soapbox, I'll be tempted to communicate enthusiasm in broad strokes. You noting that instant gratification can be faulty is good, but we really don't know what kinds of gratification are necessary during childhood in order to create a mentally sound human, because judging from the human condition today, there are not many of them out there. I worry that there is too little gratification for children, historically, inherently rather than as a symptom of a modern ill. Concerning gratification, there is this old canard that if something isn't earned by sweat and blood, it isn't valued. That may have applied in an age where brawn ruled brains, but today we have more finely distilled sensibilities and it is becoming apparent that smarts always wins, gives us more control over our individual destinies. Ask anyone, would you rather be smarter or stupider? The answer is obvious. I just want progressive society able to provide its children with the gratification of more intelligence, of seeing themselves growing better able to comprehend the complexities of the world and take control of their lives in a hurricane of artificial appetites. My take is that the modern electronic world is so overwhelming with info overload, immersion and broadsides, that we simply must engineer more intelligence into handling the modern world more humanely, with liberty and justice for all. It's either that or the machines take over, the authoritarian machine men. We need to get smarter faster, or those who have and do, the power hungry narcissists will have their way with us.
Walter Radtke
Posted over 3 years ago
Can computer games be designed to deliver education in an effective manner?
Your educational dilemma is very common and something has to be done about it. The solutions will wobble this way and that and will certainly evolve into a hybrid of some sort. Training teachers, of course, is key as is evaluating teachers. Trouble is so much of the curriculum is dictated that it drives out creativity. I also think that being with students for an hour is not enough. We may want to convert to a classroom system where high school kids havethe same teacher all day as in grade school. With all the teaching aids available, the teacher doesn't need to be a specialist and teach only biology or math, but can be more of a facilitator and create a sense of team involvement and devote more time to the social needs of the student rather than parroting a text book. Miss Julie sounds like one of those rare angel teachers. I had only a couple of those, but they were foundational. It's too bad that teachers can't be of uniform quality. Imagine the disappointment your kid feels, the sense of betrayal and stunting of his love for learning. It can only be termed a trauma. I'm not sure a bad connection is any better than no connection or a digital Skype type connection.
Walter Radtke
Posted over 3 years ago
Can computer games be designed to deliver education in an effective manner?
I know, the digitization of learning is a bit scary and has issues. But the power of simulation training is evident and could become an educational paradigm soon. If the Japanese or other techno savvy people get a leap on us, we'll be playing catch up for years. Maybe brick and mortar schools can be cut back into "lab sites" where kids can come together in field trips to get hands on experience. But keep in mind that simulations can be extremely realistic. They are used to train surgeons and jet pilots.