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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathMassMedia
Reverse Television (Viola, Bill), 1982Monodramas (Douglas, Stan), 1991Shoot (Burden, Chris), 1971
TV Hijack (Burden, Chris), 1972Rape (Lennon, John; Ono, Yoko), 1969

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Bill Viola's 1983 «Reverse Television» shows forty-four television viewers for half a minute each. These were shown by WGHB in 1983 in the form of unannounced inserts, and Stan Douglas' 1991 «Monodramas» place short, poetic yet meaningless events between the blocks of commercials.

Without going into all the examples of such intervention here it is possible to say that some of them capture television's influence very precisely, and even anticipate its future developments. Export's symbolic transfer of everyday family life into the medium became reality two years later when the Loud family were accompanied by a TV crew for seven months, thus allowing the American public a glimpse of their lives that provided enough material for a mini-series.[60] The move on to today's Reality TV shows the consequences of this breaking down the barrier between private and public.[61] Television advertising has also adopted the strategy of unexpected intervention for itself. And an electronic fire of the kind that Dibbets gave his television as an ironic touch is now available on video as a completely normal product.


Radical intervention—Burden

The above-mentioned acts of artistic intervention dating from 1971 were all made in cooperation with the television station concerned, which allocated slots for them in its program and also took over part of the production. But this interventionist strategy became more radical, and indeed illegal, a year later. When Chris Burden was invited to appear on a talk show because of his sensational action «Shoot,» in which he had himself shot in the arm, he took the hostess hostage while the show was on the air and threatened to cut her throat if the broadcast was broken off. Following the current pattern of terrorist aircraft hijacking, Burden's «TV Hijack» action took control of a live program.[62] Just as the sense of a fresh political start in the 1960s ended in radicalization after it was disappointed, here we have a clear rejection of any utopia involving peaceful symbiosis between art and the mass media. John Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1969 film «Film No. 6, Rape» is equally radical. It was produced and broadcast by ORF, and shows a camera crew following a passer-by down the street. She tries to get away, but finally they follow her into her home.

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