This is about 20 minutes of super 8 film that Stewart Brand shot in the winter of 1971. It documents the production of the January 1971 "Difficult But Possible Supplement" to The Whole Earth Catalog. Supplements were 60-page long magazine-like periodicals that appeared seasonally between the many-year cycle of the book-like Catalogs.
This films shows (briefly near the end) the simple tools used to make the catalogs: paper, wax, an IBM Selectric typewriter, and a Polaroid reproduction camera.
There were 6 staff from Whole Earth, and 2 from Ant Farm, an art collective. Ant Farm built the structures. The camp was centered around a beautiful wild hot spring. 70 miles to the nearest phone. They erected a dome in the desert and then battled the winds while trying to erect an inflatable structure. It was Burning Man 40 years ago.
The wind came up and blew away the production inflatable (bounding across the desert), and they had to move production of the Catalog into the Airstream that Stewart and his wife Lois lived in. Ant Farm lived in their little dome (seen trucking from one site to another).
I asked Stewart why they went to the desert to produce a magazine?
"Why did we do it? My excuse was to prove that production could be anywhere---an early Maker impulse I suppose. The real reason was the pure joy of doing something difficult but possible in the desert. The whole story of the making of the Supplement was printed in the Supplement."
Stewart adds a commentary (in case his comments disappear):
Sequence of events: random shot of Seal Rocks, San Francisco; a "New Game" I may have designed involving blindfolds; the hot springs in Saline Valley, 70 miles from the nearest telephone; burying the generator that would power the blowers for the inflatable production office and its equipment; grinding in the augurs that would hold the inflatable down; smoothing a pad for the inflatable; cooking lunch by the hot spring; Ant Farm's geodesic dome engulfing a truck for moving to a different site; rolling out the inflatable (I'm in some shots); the inflatable inflating; the Airstream trailer I lived in in those days with my then-wife Lois; snow on the mountains (it was January); inside the inflatable setting up production furniture and gear; building a geodesic darkroom for photo work; beginning production, page layout, typesetting, etc; wind shaking everything; Barbara DeZonia's side boob; pulling the loose canopy out of wind trouble; my truck anchoring one corner of the inflatable; production resumes in the Airstream; cavorting on top of the transparent inflatable; making photo halftones in the darkroom; visit from a small plane; then back to Menlo Park home base, where an airplane was being built; many dark frames. Cast: Hal Hershey, Barbara and Bud DeZonia, Fred Richardson, Stewart and Lois Brand; from Ant Farm: Andy Shapiro, Joe Hall, Curtis Schreier.