This work is part of the rewind archive.
Year: 1976Original formats:
Broadcast: BBC2, March 10th 1976, as unannounced opening work for their special 'Arena' video art programme.
Funding source: BBC TV
Commissioned by BBC TV as the unannounced opening work for their special Arena video art programme. First transmitted March 10, 1976. The work was based on a previous piece This is a Video Monitor, which was made on 1/2-inch B/W videotape and used Anna Ridley as the ‘presenter’.
‘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. Producer Mark Kidel. Programme featured work by David Hall, Peter Donebauer, Peter Campus, Joan Joanas, Scott Bartlett, Ed Emschwiller.
‘Media of now: An interview with David Hall’ – interview with Joanna Heatwole, from the publication Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, published by the Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, New York, Volume 36, Aug/Sep 2008
Around the same time in Britain, David Hall, an experimental film maker who founded the first department for video art in the UK at Maidstone College of Art, made a series for the BBC entitled ‘7 TV Pieces’. This series consisted of short black and white films, each of which playfully deconstructed the illusory space of the tv image whilst subverting the expectations of the television viewer. Some years later, Hall produced another work for the BBC, entitled ‘This is a Television Receiver’, in which the BBC’s most famous news anchor of the day read a technical description of what a television is and how it works. This short reading was repeatedly retaped by shooting the screen image, until both image and sound degraded to a point of almost total abstraction. Again in the late eighties, Hall was commissioned to make a work for television and on this occasion he reconstructed the first experimental tv transmission of the’ pioneer engineer John Logie Baird. Baird’s version of television was never commercially developed, and Hall’s work thus functions both as an archeological account of the early years of the medium and as critique of the linear history of technological development.
Extract from – ‘Exploding. Plastic & Inevitable’, Jeremy Welsh, web 3.02.02 – Written for the exhibition “Video Works” at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, 2002.