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Jan Dibbets «TV as a Fireplace»
Jan Dibbets, «TV as a Fireplace», 1969
Videostill | © Jan Dibbets

Germany | Archive / Collection: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Cologne

 Jan Dibbets
«TV as a Fireplace»

On the last eight evenings of 1969, WDR 3 television marked the close of transmission by broadcasting in colour the picture of a burning coal fire. There was no mention of the artist or the art character of the broadcast – and precisely this reticence enabled 'TV as a Fireplace' to blend into everyday life almost as if it had always been part of it. Dibbets demonstrated that TV is a collective experience. Even if lone viewers and families were in separate living-rooms, they were united, like prehistoric cave-dwellers, by a communal fire. The relaxation and diversion the piece offers is not dependent on this cultural-historical background, however, and it is hardly surprising that videotape cassettes of open hearth fires were commercially available 20 years later.