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Die Fernsehgalerie (Schum, Gerry), 1968

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Open processuality can thus already be recognized in the videotape as a linear recording medium. It is thus not at all surprising that traditionalists questioned the artistic character of the first media art practices, either in the form of tape production, media-supported installations or performance. In fact, critics of technological exhibitions–from «E.A.T.» in the mid-1960s to the ZKM's «net_condition»[17] show in 1999­2000, the first major show to survey the artistic and socio-political aspects of the Internet–repeatedly raised the objection that a claim to art was being made, but not fulfilled. The dilemma runs through forty years of the history of media art: is it art, or is it ‹mere› technological experimentation with industrial formats? Given their fixation on the media, many experiments rightly seem in retrospect to be technical phenomena that reflect more the state of industrial hardware and software at a particular time than genuine artistic interest. On the other hand, electronics has now become a self-evident element in a widespread artistic practice, and art no longer has to place the media element in the foreground. The extent to which confrontations with a traditional


museum policy triggered their own dynamics can be seen in the following in the formation of a genre of media art.[18]

The closed format: Distribution/mass media

The loss of the traditional concept of the auratic original and the self-contained work–often described, beginning Walter Benjamin's famous essay «The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction»[19]–shook the foundations of the art market and art history. It has also become clear that an anti-institutional impetus and the crisis of museum representation were associated with media art from the outset. The power of this constellation can also be seen in attempts to get round this very issue using mass media. Again it is the era of 1968 that sets the paradigms for both delineating borders and overcoming them. Gerry Schum's «Fernseh- und Videogalerie»[20] is seen as a visionary model for a different kind of art distribution. After the failure of the television gallery, Schum attempted, with a great deal of media resonance at first, to reconcile limited editions and the mass distribution of the individual works of art via alternative

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