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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerception
Exposition of Music  Electronic Television (Paik, Nam June), 1963TV-Buddha (Paik, Nam June), 1974Black Gate Cologne (Piene, Otto; Tambellini, Aldo), 1968
Black Gate Cologne (Piene, Otto; Tambellini, Aldo), 1968TV Interruptions; 7 TV Pieces (Hall, David), 1971

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Nam June Paik, one of the pioneers of video art, had already in 1963 in the Wuppertal exhibit Exposition of Music—Electronic Television confronted television as a means of mass communication and the disturbance or breaking its conventional one-way character.[27] Ahead of his time, lacking video technology, he showed technically manipulated TV devices with electronically distorted images. The audience was thereby invited to undertake manipulations of their own and thus actively participate in the image process («Participation TV»). Later he developed «TV-Buddha» (1974), a closed-circuit video installation, today considered an icon of media art. A Buddha statue ‹meditates,› self-reflexively confronted with its own image. Not distraction, but a being absorbed in contemplation and the unavoidable confrontation with one's own image are the principle of this work—an early form of media deceleration and decompression. In large video installations, Paik also takes the reverse route, and emphasizes in a flood of information and irritations the redundancy of the media. He thereby uses the electronic medium as a means of unlimited reproduction and uses permanent self-citation as a principle of construction that can be seen throughout his entire work.[28]


In the 1960s, a drive towards a growing exchange between academic methods, technical executions and artistic approaches of experiential appropriation increasingly emerges. Technological renewals in the area of mass communication are seen as a chance to develop a mass culture. Aldo Tambellini, who in 1968 together with Otto Piene produced the live television art show «Black Gate Cologne,» expressed this in almost enthusiastic terms. «Technology and culture are mutually related to one another. We have changed from an industrial-electronic to a communication-information society. By way of telecommunication, we see one another from screen to screen, and we become one with the new perception of the world. The electromagnetic spectrum must be seen as a natural source of creative activities. Transmitted information is the new form of art.»[29]

Many artists in search of aesthetic forms of expression used the then current technological possibilities or even transcended them, thus helping to construct them. Since the 1970s, these included in particular the confrontation with habits of vision. Thus in 1971 David Hall broadcasts under the title «TV Interruptions» a series of visually irritating film

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