RECORDER: The Marion Stokes Project at Real Art Ways

Skip to main content


RECORDER: The Marion Stokes Project

95% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, New York Times Critic’s Pick

Marion Stokes was secretly recording television twenty-four hours a day for thirty years. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the dawn of the twenty-four hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on television as Marion passed away. In between, Marion recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today.

Before “fake news” Marion was fighting to protect the truth by archiving everything that was said and shown on television. The public didn’t know it, but the networks were disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history. Remarkably Marion saved it, and now the Internet Archive will digitize her tapes and we’ll be able to search them online for free.

"Intriguing from first minute to last... Relating this stranger-than-fiction tale with the narrative twists and turns of a well-paced thriller, 'Recorder' will make news junkies feel a lot better about themselves"

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

"The story is a bit ghastly but also, viewed from this remove, weirdly exhilarating...her taping of everything created an irreproducible archive that is enlightening and the stuff of madness."

Glenn Kenny, The New York Times