Pirate Television

Pirate Television Timeline:

1968: in his manual for revolutionaries, Steal this book, Abbie Hoffman has a short subsection 'Guerilla Television' in which he launches the idea of "breaking into broadcast-tv signals with your own transmitter"
1970: Une expérience de «télévision sauvage» (télévision de quartier, dont le but est de lutter contre le monopole de l'ORTF) est réalisée dans l'immeuble Maine-Montparnasse à Paris, avec deux caméras vidéo et une régie, par l'ACT et l'Unité Pédagogique 6 de l'école des beaux-arts de Paris.
1971: Michael Shamberg publishes Guerilla Television.
Douglas Davis performs Talk-Out!, a three-hour interactive telethon co-sponsored by the Everson Museum and WCNY-PBS. "viewers participated in the creation of a collaborative text by phoning into the artist who, live, and on camera, literally typed their responses to his text onto the screen in a continuous, superimposed text roll."

April, 1986: Captain Midnight breaks into a cable television broadcast for 4 minutes.
November 22 1987: The Max Headroom incident - a "video pirate" wearing a Max Headroom mask breaks into the signal of a Chicago TV station for about 90 seconds.
1988 - 1992: Despite the difficulties, the group "Piratskoe Televidenie" (Pirate Television, 1988-92) in Petersburg produced alternative, eccentric and mostly illogical television programs which were to be fed into the state television channels with the help of military broadcasting equipment. (Arns/Broeckmann)
1988: Osnabrück: first Van Gogh TV event (pirate TV).
March 1990: In Leipzig, Kanal X, East Germany’s first pirate TV station, begins broadcasting.
1990: Ars Electronica: Hotel Pompino (live television project by Van Gogh TV).

Spring 2004: TV-HACKING! - Experimental TV projects by !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Zürich.
2007: StreeTV Fribourg, public TV project by Anyma.
2008: WWTV aka WatchyWalky.tv - upcoming project.

"Abbie Hoffman in 1968, in his manual for revolutionaries of those days Steal this book, had a short subsection 'Guerilla Television' in which he launched the idea of "breaking into broadcast-tv signals with your own transmitter", but he failed to explain how it technically should be done.

In Western Europe there was very little thinking about the potential of the new information technology, McLuhan was widely quoted, but more used to support a existing negative attitude towards the new media, especially in 'progressive' left circles. With this anti-technology attitude the imagination didn't go much further than the technical knowledge. So when proposals were made it was mostly for the use of pirate radio.

This is clearly expressed by the French Situationist movement that in a manifesto about 'New forms of struggle against politics and art' in 1967 speak about 'Guerrilla in the mass media', say it is "an extremely important form of struggle", but they come up with little more than the example of "Argentineans who seized the control deck of a giant neon sign' in Buenos Aires and "broadcast their own recommendations to society at large on it". The manifesto continues with "Anyone who was thinking of having a crack at radio or TV studios had better get a move on as it won't be long before they're actually guarded by the army". Practically the Situationist then propose to go into pirate radio and they gave an example of the use of pirate radio in Denmark. (...)

"Amplifying an idea is easy when the social space is ready for it, impossible when it's not", is a conclusion reached in the book Guerrilla Television), using central antenna systems in apartment buildings, video in meditation and therapy, setting up of a videocassette network, use of cable television." (Tjebbe van Tijen)


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Page last modified on Tuesday 05 of February, 2008 19:27:58 CET by 1.0.