In the meantime, we would like to share a selection of some of our favourite works from artists who have worked in television broadcast including Chris Burden, Katya Sander, Robert Ashley, Peter Greenaway and the TV series produced by CAC, Vilnius that was broadcast on a national commercial channel across Lithuania from 2004-2007. All these artists and filmmakers are working in different times and contexts but there are some common threads and issues which emerge from them which explore TV as a specific platform for distribution which creates a unique ‘space’ for artists to work.
“I would like to be the first artist to make a public financial disclosure – Chris Burden”
Starting with Chris Burden’s intervention in television commercials between 1973-1977, one of his most intriguing provocations is his attempt to position himself like a politician, wanting to be the first artist to make a public financial disclosure. It is done in a parodic style and the figures are comedic in scale but it raises an interesting question as to what an artist might have to disclose on television and what could an artist be accountable for in the commercial/public space of the television broadcast?
“Possible subjects of a program:What could be the role of such television? How should it be made? What kind of issues it should address? Can artists offer television anything except of a set of entertaining postures? How far do we have to believe in audience in order to have it completely open source? Is it possible to retain one’s agenda while collaborating with a commercial TV? Could it be an unpopular TV?”
Televised I: the Anchor, the I, and the Studio (2006) by Katya Sander
“Do you use the word “I” when you are on screen? Beginning with this question, each news anchor is engaged in a conversation about their own role in the news they present — whether they see themselves as a part of or apart from this news, as in the story or outside of it. If outside of it, then where exactly is this outside located?
Where is the “I” located?”
Although not a work made for broadcast, Katya Sander’s project explores the physical realm that television presents to its viewers. This work, which simply asks ‘Where is the I located?’ is an example of how unstable the relationship is between representation and reality when information is presented on television. Perhaps echoing some of the effects of Burden’s disclosure it is interesting to consider who is being represented and what space is the speaker inhabiting – if TV is already a distortion of a real space or an illusion then what does it mean for artists to work within this space? Are artists able to represent themselves on television, and if they work with performers, where is the author located?
“Know your own desires. Everybody works to be part of the industry. To be a part of industry is to be real. You are a part of the industry both due to your industriousness and the nature of your work. There is a chance that everybody will like your work because it is a part of the industry. Things that are not a part of industry are not possible to like.” – Robert Ashley Perfect Lives Episode 4: The Bar (1983).
Finally, this documentary on Robert Ashley’s television opera ‘Perfect Lives’ includes clips from the original broadcast alongside interviews with the team that worked to produce it. the quote above is taken from Episode 4: The Bar and responds to some of the idea outlined above. What is able to appear, be liked by others, and the context in which artists work is located is to be ‘real’. Realness is dependent on the circulation of the work within what Ashley refers to as the ‘industry’. But what about television as this unstable space? Is an artist or their work ever able to appear real, is the “I” authentic and, considering Auto Italia LIVE: Double Dip Concession is being broadcast over the internet, which industry is it circulating in?