Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathForerunners

icon: previous page

the «Stunde Null» (the zero hour), the moment of the fresh start after the war, artistic developments were at a zero point as well, and it was not until the 1960s that new developments started in what we now usually call media art. But even in the early 1950s it is possible to discern new attitudes to the audiovisual media that made this zero point into a theme. The artists were confronted with a firmly established media system whose technical resources developed more quickly than the corresponding media aesthetics, and it was a system that left very little scope for experiments. For this reason, these approaches relate implicitly or explicitly to the media as a counter-world to art. Using the three media radio, television and film, artistic models were introduced around 1951–52 that are already prototypes for all subsequent developments. Three strategies emerge clearly here in their early, radically pure form.

The utopian-emphatic strategy: Lucio Fontana and television

The introduction of television in Italy gave Lucio Fontana his first opportunity in 1952 to hold a dress


rehearsal for the artistic use of the medium with a program about the «Spazialismo» that he had founded. The «Spatialist Manifesto for Television» that arose from this welcomes the new instrument with similar emphasis to that shown by the Italian Futurists, but without their political ambition: «We Spatialists are broadcasting our new art forms to the world for the first time through the medium of television… Television is an artistic device we have been awaiting for a long time, and it will integrate our concepts. We are pleased that this manifesto, which is intended to revivify all realms of art, will be broadcast by Italian television. It is true that art is eternal, but it has always been bound to matter. We want to liberate it from these shackles, we want it to last in space for a thousand years—even if only a single minute is broadcast.»[16] But the manifesto was not followed by any other artistic realizations, and because this broadcast by the Spatialists, their only one, went out live, there is unfortunately no recording of it. And so, entirely in the spirit of the manifesto, this first television art event's eternal quality remains reserved for future viewers, who may some day receive the

icon: next page