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Sebastian Lütgert «rolux»
Sebastian Lütgert, «rolux», 2000
© Sebastian Lütgert

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Berlin | Germany | Edition / Production: rolux, twenfm, Kulturserver, Offener Kanal Berlin

 Sebastian Lütgert

«YOUR TV H45 833N H4CK3D» [Your TV has been hacked]—that was the message circulating on various Internet mailing lists at the end of March 2000. Since then, a coalition of artists (rolux), cultural organizations (cultural servers) and a pirate radio broadcaster (twenfm) has regularly been going on the air over Berlin’s access channel Offener Kanal Berlin (OKB) with «Live Interactive Netradio TV.» The programme, which consists primarily of DJ sets, presentation, chats and changing graphic interfaces, is streamed onto the Internet live from a ground-floor apartment (formerly a shop) in Berlin’s Mitte district. The OKB taps the signal from the Net, and distributes it over its TV transmitter. It is a logical enough step—if Net radio has always been a relatively elitist medium, then linking it up to the mass medium of television opens it up for potentially very large audiences.
The interface is made up of text panels, ad banners and the real-video image of the DJ. «rolux» disseminates its propaganda in the fashion of subliminal messages, namely via text flashed in and out at astonishing speed: «we’ve only seen the counterrevolution—the Internet revolution is yet to come. sell now - the net needs a crash», «quit aol amazon ebay msi geocities t-online,»«‘seattle n’est qu’un début - continuons le combat,« «reclaim the net.» The inserted ad banners promote befriended initiatives and campaigns such as RTMark, Silverserver, «Kein Mensch ist illegal» and «Pleine Peau,» and plead in favour of ‘downgrading the future’ and «63H 53L85T AUF 53NDUN6» [Geh selbst auf Sendung – take to the airwaves yourselves]. Some of the banners are appropriated and the content has been turned on its heads (e.g. «Partners Against Berlin»)—«rolux» accomplishes «virtual company fusions» by bonding into rushing hybrids corporate logos that are graphically and aesthetically compatible. Just some of the mergers so far: American Express and 3Com; Agfa and Dow; Hertie and Hitachi; intel and Mci; exxon and In the guise of bright and colourful Web TV, the rolux interface succeeds in transforming the appropriated corporate strategies, rhetorical modes, and aesthetics into media of cultural resistance against global commercialization.