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He, Joe (Beckett, Samuel), 1966

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but here it is up to the visitors themselves to create new constellations. But the most important model for future cooperation between artists and broadcasting institutions comes from literature and the theater. In 1966, Samuel Beckett produced his first television play, «He, Joe,» which was later followed by others with the south German television station (Südfunk). Beckett both wrote and directed the piece, which shows only a slow tracking shot up to the only performer in a bleak interior. The formal resources of his television plays are reduced to a minimum. They are entirely comparable with the equally minimalistic early video performances of the 1960s, however Beckett's route to television has no connection with contemporary video art, but is based on a much older genre, the radio play.[40]

Summary of the first time-window—from intermedia to multimedia

Nothing much remained in the 1960s of the utopias of the first half of the twentieth century as designed by Bertolt Brecht, Benjamin, the Futurists and also Lucio


Fontana, who saw radio, film and television as a universal extension of art. Television and the other mass media became economic and political power factors of a magnitude that went well beyond questions of aesthetics or cultural significance. Rather then a source of utopian hope, most 1960s artists saw television as unduly powerful and as an objective for attacks whose widespread media effect made the pictorial world of art seem insignificant. And yet there were an astonishing number of attempts to redefine television, and there are various approaches to demonstrate this, going back well before the beginning of video art. Alongside the critical and aggressive positions (Vostell, Isou, Uecker) and the neutral and contemplative ones (Wesselmann, César, Friedlander, Richter and Lueg), Gerstner and Paik in particular design models for work with the electronic image as artistic material. Paik is the first and only artist to intervene in the electronics at this stage, so that an image can be formed as it emerges. His vision is: «As collage technic replaced oil-paint, the cathode ray tube will replace the canvass.» [sic][41]

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