Van Gogh TV

Prof. Dr. Tilman Baumgärtel

“Van Gogh TV”, an avant-garde group of media artists and hackers, presented the “Piazza Virtuale” as part of Documenta IX in 1992. The interactive television project used all the electronic media available at the time to involve the television audience, who were able to follow the programme via both the 3Sat television channel and the Olympus satellite, in the events on the screen.

The Research Project

By telephone, fax, mailbox, video phone and even the at that time still largely unknown Internet, one could influence the design of the broadcasts. Thus, depending on the broadcasting block, there was the possibility to discuss with each other, get to know each other, make music or paint together, move a camera in the Kassel studio, chat and much more.
The television audience of the time was enthusiastic about the interactive program, with up to 25,000 callers per hour trying to participate at times. In addition, artists from all over the world were connected via video telephone and live connections to create their own broadcasting formats and perform.

The “Piazza Virtuale” already anticipated many features and functions of today’s social media. For example, in addition to the direct exchange of users, it offered the possibility of offering goods on a virtual marketplace, which is reminiscent of the concept of current online auction houses. Furthermore, early forms of the phenomenon of trolling, i.e. the targeted disturbance and provocation of other participants in a discussion, were also evident.

The three-year research project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and started on 01.04.2018. The total funding amount is 636,000 €, of which 351,000 € will go to Mainz University of Applied Sciences. The project was applied for by Prof. Anja Stöffler (Institute for Media Design, Mainz University of Applied Sciences) and Prof. Dr. Jens Schröter (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn). The project is headed by Prof. Dr. Tilman Baumgärtel (Institute for Media Design, Mainz University of Applied Sciences).

The research project is a paradigmatic attempt to historically reappraise early online projects and communities and to secure them in the long term. There has been little research on the preservation and historicization of these highly fragile digital artifacts and media-cultural relics. In addition to media science publications, the project is to produce a medium-length documentary film and an art exhibition.

Click here for the project website

The participants in Piazza Virtuale:

Concept & Management: Karel Dudesek – Benjamin Heidersberger – Mike Hentz – Salvatore  Vanasco

Team Kassel:
Ali Altschaffel – Nicolas Anatol Baginsky – Katharina Baumann – Tim Becker – Indulis Bilzens – Julian Boyd – Kathrin Brinkmann – Wu San Chuan – Gérard Couty – Fritz Groß – Daniel Haude – Jan Holthusen – Kathy Rae Huffman – Cory McLeod – Kaspar Lüthi – Ole Lütjens – Silke Mauritius – Laurence Maury – Jendo Neversil – Insa Riske – Holger Rix – Axel Roselius – Hinnerk Schmidt – Karlheinz Schmidt – Dieter Sellin – Ludwig Seyfarth – Sybille Steinfartz – Manuel Tessloff – Michael Ulrich – Wolfgang Werner – Heinz Widmer – Laura Windrath – Sascha Windrath – Christian Wolff – Katja Zapadlová – Andreas Zierdt


Belgrad – Petar Luković
Berlin – Rudolf Stört
Bremen – Ronald Gonko
Earth – Andrew Work
Frankfurt am Main – Trust Corporate Culture GmbH
Freiburg – Micky Remann
Genf – Philippe Coeytaux
Göttingen – Harald Weisser
Graz – Gerfried Stocker
Hamburg – Frauen und Technik
Köln – Bernd von den Brincken
Litauen – Valdis Martinsons
Ljubljana – Marko Košnik Virant
Lyon – Rene Sanglard
Piazzetta Macworld Berlin – Eric Gersh
Milano – Giacomo Verde & Sabine Reiff
Moskau – Kirill Preobrazhenski
Nagoya – Eiichi Kubota
Paris – Christian Vanderborght
Poitiers – Jean Louis le Tacon
Prag – Michael Bielicky
Riga – Baiba Ripa
Salzburg – Wolf Dieter Aichberger
Santarcangelo di Romagna – Giacomo Verde
Siggraph – Brian Wallace
Stuttgart – Jan van Krogh
Wien – Rosa von Suess
Zürich – Hans Wermelinger