‘This is a Television Receiver’ (BBC Arena Programme on Video Art) 1976


Hall, David


  • Ridley, Anna (Producer)
  • Producer Mark Kidel. Programme conceived by Anna Ridley. Artists include David Hall, Peter Donebauer, Peter Campus, Joan Joanas, Scott Bartlett, Ed Emschwiller.

  • This work is part of the rewind archive.

    Duration: 6 mins

    Year: 1976

    Media types:


    Broadcast: March 10, 1976

    Funding source: BBC

    Commissioned by BBC TV as the unannounced opening work for their special Arena video art programme. First transmitted March 10, 1976.

    ‘Richard Baker [the well known newsreader] describes the essential paradoxes of the real and imagined functions of the TV set on which he appears. The second shot is taken optically off a monitor, the third copied from the second, and so on, until there is a complete degeneration of both sound and image, removing the newsreader from his position of authority…’
    Tamara Krikorian, Art Monthly, February 1984.

    ‘This figure of authority is reduced to what, in essence, he is – a series of pulsating patterns of light on the surface of a glass screen. In this way, paradoxically, the verbal statement is realised by its own disintegration, along with that of the image. The illusion of both transparency and of power are shattered. This is deconstruction in its primary, irreductable form; only by remembering these important lessons have artists subsequently been able to venture out of the enclosure of self-reflexivity and into the perilous world of representation and narrative…’
    Mark Wilcox, Deconstruct, Subverting Television cat., Arts Council of Great Britain 1984.

    ‘This is a Television Receiver.. interestingly recovers Hall’s sculptural concerns. Unlike film, the video monitor is a discrete object. Film requires a projector and screen and the distance between them traversed by a beam of light. In watching This is a TV Receiver, the materiality or the very objecthood of the monitor is intrinsic to the piece..’
    Michael O’Pray, ‘David Hall’, Variant Magazine, Issue 11, 1992.

    The Arena video art programme was produced by Mark Kidel, conceived by Anna Ridley and presented by David Hall.

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