Van Gogh TV
“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.
The participants in Piazza Virtuale:
Concept & Management: Karel Dudesek – Benjamin Heidersberger – Mike Hentz – Salvatore Vanasco
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