|Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.|
German video artists also subjected the mass media to critical analysis in the late 1970s. Klaus vom Bruch and Marcel Odenbach both started in 1977 with the topically mediadominating subject of German terrorism, which definitively terminated the 1968 utopias. In «Das Schleyerband» (1977–1978), Klaus vom Bruch undertook a selective revision of television reports on the kidnapping of the industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer. «Sich selbst bei Laune halten oder der Spielverderber» (1977) juxtaposes scenes showing little puzzles with photographs of the key events surrounding the hunt for and death of the terrorists: «Doing puzzles as a symbol of the condition, position, attitude, etc. of the majority of our society. The other side, the second element, to which the word spoilsport applies … are the generalized terrorists … one link lies in the fact that each group reproaches the other with a senseless, irresponsible attitude, occupation—way of spending time.» The end of the 1968 utopias is stated factually, almost resignedly.
The juxtaposition of quotations from the media and images of their own, sometimes including the artist in
person, remains a key feature of the two artists' work for the next few years. The specifically German problem of coming to terms with the past is linked for both these artists with biographical elements to form a media analysis that does not just address the status quo of the media situation, but reflects comprehensively about the historical links between media power and historical image. In «Das Duracellband» (1980), Klaus vom Bruch uses a clearly structured, sharply edited media montage to link a false fascination with technology (embodied by a TV commercial for Duracell batteries) with its politically disastrous consequences (images of the atomic bomb exploding and its victims in Nagasaki).
Marcel Odenbach's videos are aimed above all at linking personal and social experience. His quotations from television and the images he creates are not sharply juxtaposed, but blended together almost to the point of unrecognizability. The sound often forms a counterpole to the images, investing them with a new significance. In «Die Distanz zwischen mir und meinen Verlusten» (1983), Goethe's poem «Der Erlkönig,» in the