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Histoire(s) du cinéma (Godard, Jean-Luc), 1988Kassettenkataloge (Bódy, Gábor)

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unmistakable sense of the fact that media art, even behind the most glittering surface, always conveyed a critical anti-TV attitude, which ultimately culminated in the pointed slogan «TV ≠ VT»[27] at documenta 6.

In his 1980s publications, Siegfried Zielinski set out in detail how from the mid-1970s–and very strongly since the establishment of the VHS standard with its mass availability in 1975–the «story of the video recorder» had led to a whole new artistic appropriation practice.[28] The video recorder «kick-starts» classical television. It can deconstruct and defer television, and indeed first provided footage the artist could work with, or made it available to be offered for sale in pirated video form in the video store around the corner. Klaus vom Bruch's videotapes or Jean-Luc Godard's film work, especially in his «Histoire(s) du Cinéma,» (1988­1998) would not have been possible without private storage of media history through television and film. Consequently, the concept of «found footage » no longer entails laborious work in archives, but just programming the video recorder. A whole mass of cultural history becomes suddenly accessible as an everyday home production resource.


The broadcasters respond by ‹signing› their images with the channel logo, the mass media relic of an artist's signature–the use of the ‹watermark› is the equivalent for Internet images. Industrial mass production of videocassettes did not merely improve precarious open reel practice by substituting simple «plug and play.» As a consequence of the 1980s TV boom and diversification into commercial and public channels, it introduced a new breadth that led to equal diversification for festivals and forums on the art side. The U-matic cassette format guaranteed a de facto universal standard for a period of about twenty years. This was only occasionally questioned technically or ideologically–see «Choosing U-matic means choosing capitalism.»

The argument can be made even more pointed by saying that the cassette form promoted the exchange of information beyond the established markets and those closed to electronic experiments and also became the trademark of an entire art form visually–see the host of cassette catalogs, for example. The best example is the ten-year history of the Infermental «information store,» whose eleven editions can be

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