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The ideologization of utopia

Fascism's aestheticization of politics, as described by Walter Benjamin, corresponds with an ideologization of utopias as seen in the earliest artistic ideas for television, which was still in an experimental phase at the time. For Vertov, film and radio are just intermediate steps towards a new art form, the «radio eye.» He was anticipating television as early as 1925: «In the shortest possible time now, it will be possible for man to broadcast visual and acoustic phenomena, recorded by a film radio camera, all over the world.» He used the media industry's dominance of film as a warning that this new technology should be devoted to the service of Communism from the outset: «We must be prepared to make this invention by the capitalist world into its own downfall.» For this reason, Vertov's art «aims to create a visual link between the workers of the entire world,» as that is the only possible way «of achieving a close, inviolable connection with each other.»[13] In the opposing political camp, the Italian Futurists see television in 1933 as an instrument of Fascist media power in the hands of the artists: «We now possess a television of fifty thousand points for


every large image on a large screen. As we await the invention of teletouch, telesmell and teletaste we Futurists are perfecting radio broadcasting which is destined to multiply a hundredfold the creative genius of the Italian race, to abolish the ancient nostalgic torment of long distances.»[14] And two years prior to this, their leader Marinetti imagines «screens for television suspended from their own aircraft,» to show all the spectators the distant flying presentation of the Futurist «areopittura.»[15] Soon after this, television made a major public début at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which were broadcast from twenty-five public television studios in Berlin. The National Socialists had already used the radio to exploit this possibility of extending the impact of mass events by broadcasting them simultaneously in the new medium, an idea that largely fits in with the Futurist utopia.

A fresh start from 1950 onwards

The utopias that the audio-visual media saw primarily as new artistic resources were overtaken by reality. It could be said that the mass media had finally lost their innocence by the end of the Second World War. After

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