September 26-October 6, 1961

The beginning of video art in Germany can probably be located within the Cologne art scene around Mary Bauermeister's Originale performed at the Theater am Dom from September 26-October 6, 1961.

Stockhausen's score was interspersed with improvised actions by the performers, including Paik, experimental films by Wolfgang Ramsbott (we see the film with Paik's eyes, hands, and legs), and Harry Kramer's film Räderwerk from his Mechanisches Theater.

New experiences of time, particularly of duration, of music, sounds, and their manipulation; changes to texts, words, and structure; new dance and the inclusion of the synthetic possibilities of electronics in music: all these elements together, including film projections as well as painting and blurring actions, were the terrain on which Nam June Paik discovered the electronic medium of video and Wolf Vostell created his works.

Paik's experience with the radar experiments by K.O. Goetz, his collaboration with the WDR's electronic studio in Cologne, and particularly his engagement with John Cage's music after their meeting in Darmstadt in 1958 led Paik to create his first electronic works - the manipulation of and interaction with television sets - in the Cologne environment.

Vostell's encounters with the Nouveaux Réalistes in Paris, who - like Christo - exhibited in Cologne in the Galerie Harro Lauhus, Mary Bauermeister's companion at the time, then led to the exhibitions of manipulated TV sets in the Smolin Gallery in New York in May 1963.

Also present at these performances in the Bauermeister Sudio were Wolfgang Hahn, future collector of Fluxus artworks who owned several TV objects (today his collection is kept in the Vienna Museum of Modern Art), the DuMont publisher Ernst Brücher, and the architect Rolf Jährling.

Wulf Herzogenrath: Video art and institutions: The first fifteen years.
Intermedial, kontrovers, experimentell - Das Atelier Mary Bauermeisters in Köln 1960-62 (Cologne, 1993).

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