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VIDEO IM MUSEUM

RESTAURIERUNG UND ERHALTUNG


NEUE METHODEN DER PRÄSENTATION
DER 0R1GINAIBE6R1FF

VIDEO ARTS SN MUSEUMS


RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION
NEW METHODS OF PRESENTATION
THE IDEA OF THE ORIGINAL

INTERNATIONALES SYMPOSIUM/INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM


MUSEUM LUDWIG KÖLN/MUSEUM LUDWIG COLOGNE
9. SEPTEMBER 2000/SEPTEMBER 9, 2000

Impressum/lmprint

Symposium
Idee, Planung und Durchführung
Idea, Planing and Execution Reinhold Mißelbeck/Martin Turck
Assistenz/Assistants Christina Nadlacen/Karsten Arnold
Sekretariat/Secretary Margit d'Errico-Reks/Yasmin Limbach

Publikation/Publication
Herausgeber/Editor Reinhold Mißelbeck/Martin Turck
Katalogredaktion/Editing Martin Turck
Assistenz/Assistant Jürgen Neumann
Sekretariat/Secretary Margit d'Errico-Reks/Yasmin Limbach
Übersetzung/Translation Gertraud Trivedi
Druck/Printed by Druckerei Locher

Texte bei den Autoren/Texts with the authors


Photographien bei den Autoren/Photographs with the authors

ISBN: 3-9807903-2-0

- 1 -
Erratum

Video im Museum
Restaurierung und Erhaltung
Neue Methoden der Präsentation
Der Originalbegriff

Video Arts in Museums


Restoration and Preservation
New Methods of Presentation
The Idea of the Original

Internationales Symposium/International Symposium


Museum Ludwig Köln/Museum Ludwig Cologne
9. September 2000/September 9, 2000

Impressum/Imprint

Symposium
Idee, Planung, Durchführung
Idea, Planing, Execution Reinhold Mißelbeck t /Martin Turck/Ulrike Lehmann
Assistenz/Assistants Christina Nadlacen/Karsten Arnold
Sekretariat/Secretary Margit dΈrrico-Reks/Yasrnin Limbach

Publikation/Publication
Herausgeber/Editor Reinhold Mißelbeck t /Martin Turck
Katalogredaktion/Editing Martin Turck
Assistenz/Assistants Jürgen Neumann
Sekretariat/Secretary Margit dΈrrico-Reks/Yasmin Limbach
Übersetzung/Translation Gertraud Trivedi
Druck/Print by Druckerei Locher

Texte bei den Autoren/Texts with the authors


Photographien bei den Autoren/Photographs with the authors

ISBN: 3-9807903-2-0
Vorwort 4

Einführung 5

George Legrady 6
Die Taschen voller Erinnerungen

Christine van Assche n


Konservierung von Neuen Medien: ein Paradox

Rudolf Frieling 16
Speicher - Platz
Anmerkungen zum Thema Sammeln, Archivieren, Präsentieren

Diskussion - Neue Methoden der Präsentation 22

Jochen Gerz 28
,Spurlose Kunst?'

Georges Heck 31

Jochen Gerz - Die einzigen greifbaren Spuren der Performances

Diskussion - Restaurierung und Erhaltung 34

Michael Wenzke 44
Original und Reproduktion aus der Sicht der Kunstversicherung
Wolfgang Ernst 51

Der Originalbegriff im Zeitalter virtueller Welten

Diskussion - Der .Originalbegriff' im Zeitalter virtueller Welten 80

Abbildungen 91

- 2 -
Contents

Illustrations 91

Preface 103

Introduction 104

George Legrady 105


Pockets full of Memories

Christine van Assche 109


New Media Conservation: A Paradox

Rudolf Frieling 114


Storage - Space
Notes on the Subject of Collecting, Storing, and Presentation

Discussion - New Methods of Presentation 120

Jochen Gerz 126


'Art Without Trace?

Georges Heck 129

Jochen Gerz - The only tangible Traces of the Performances

Discussion - Restoration and Conservation 132

Michael Wenzke 141


Original and Reproduction from the Point of View of Art Insurers
Wolfgang Ernst 148
The Concept of the Original in the Age of the Virtual World

Discussion - 'The Notion of the Original' 176

- 3 -
Reinhold Mißelbeck/Martin Turck
Vorwort

Ein Jahr nach der Durchführung des Symposiums zum Thema „Video im Museum - Res-
taurierung, Präsentation und Originalbegriff" liegt nun die Publikation der Vorträge und
Diskussionsveranstaltungen vor. Die Lektüre macht einmal mehr deutlich, wie wichtig sol-
che Treffen von Fachleuten sind, wie sehr sich auch die diskutierten Begriffe angesichts
der raschen technologischen Entwicklung in der Schwebe befinden. Der gegen Ende des
Symposiums vorgetragene Ruf nach einer Fortsetzung des Gesprächs belegt, dass kein
abschließender Bericht möglich ist, dass ein kontinuierlicher Dialog gefragt ist. Mögli-
cherweise entwickelt sich ja die Runde der an der „Enzyklopädie für Neue Medien" be-
teiligten Institutionen zu diesem ständigen Gesprächsforum.

Wir denken, dass bezüglich aller Themen interessante Fragestellungen formuliert


wurden: beispielsweise, ob das Museum überhaupt der richtige Ort sei, Medienkunst auf-
zubewahren, ob es nicht besser ein internationales zentrales Institut gäbe, ob nicht das
Internet die geeignete Öffentlichkeit liefern könne. Bezüglich der Restaurierung lieferte
die Präsentation von Jochen Gerz das geeignete Anschauungsmaterial, die Restaurierung
von Videokunst überhaupt in Frage zu stellen, Restaurierung klar von Kopieren zu diffe-
renzieren, aber auch Rückschlüsse für den Originalbegriff zu ziehen und den Gedanken
eines sich wandelnden Originals, aber auch der Idee der Existenz mehrerer Originale bis
hin zur Zuspitzung der Festlegung des Originals auf den Lichtpunkt, in Erwägung zu zie-
hen. So können wir selbstverständlich als Ergebnis des Symposiums keine einhellige Mei-
nung festhalten, jedoch bieten sich uns mehrere gangbare Modelle, die man sich zu ei-
gen machen kann, die vertretbar sind. Welchen man sich annähert, hängt sicherlich von
der Art der Institution ab, der man angehört, auch, ob man die Seite des Künstlers, des
Konservators oder der Ausstellungsinstitution vertritt.

Nun, da das Ergebnis schriftlich vorliegt verbleibt uns die Aufgabe, allen Mitwirken-
den Dank zu sagen: Gemeinsam haben wir die Konzeptidee erarbeitet und weiterent-
wickelt. Die Durchführung wurde schließlich möglich gemacht mit Hilfe der Sal. Oppen-
heim-Stiftung und der Axa Nordstern Art Versicherung AG. Den Verantwortlichen der Stif-
tung Oppenheim möchten wir auch an dieser Stelle für ihre Großzügigkeit unseren Dank
aussprechen. Besonderer Dank geht an Margit d'Errico-Reks und an Yasmin Limbach, die
bei der Planung und Organisation des Symposiums und bei der Redaktion der Publika-
tion mitwirkten. Dank geht an alle Teilnehmer am Symposium, George Legrady, Christine
van Assche, Rudolf Frieling, Pascale Cassagnau, Perttu Rastas, Heiner Holtappeis, Lysiane
Lechot-Hirt, Ulrike Lehmann, Marcel Schwierin, Rene Pulfer, Miklos Peternäk, Yvonne Gar-
borini, Bärbel Otterbeck, Jochen Gerz, Axel Wirths, Oliver Albiez, Wolfgang Ernst, Michael
Wenzke und Siegfried Zielinski. Sie alle haben aus ihrer Position und Erfahrung wichtige
Beiträge und Anregungen zur Thematik und den damit verbundenen Problemen geliefert
und die Diskussion darüber einen Schritt weitergebracht. Wollen wir hoffen, dass die Pub-
likation dazu beiträgt diesen Diskussionsstand einem breiteren Publikum zu vermitteln.

-4-
Wolfgang Ernst
THE CONCEPT OF THE ORIGINAL IN THE AGE OF
THE W1RIÜAL WORLD

Aura and Original (with, and beyond of, Walter Benjamin)


According to Walter Benjamin, objects with a magnetic aura are precisely those that, in
contrast to the ephemerality and repeatability of reproducible art, convey an aesthetics
of singularity and permanency: as a unique "appearance of the distant, however near it
may be."1 Can Benjamin's aura, then, not be linked with the technologically repeatable vi-
deo image? Let us consider an icon of video art, Nam June Paik's video installation
Buddha (circa 1989. ZKM/Museum für Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe). Indeed, the video Buddha
reminds us that from a cultural-aesthetical point of view, aura experiences can be in-
comparably authentic and irrefutable for the individual - "which brings them close to the
mystic experiences of Christianity or Zen Buddhism."2 Jochen Hörisch is also speaking of
an aura literally coming forth ex negative referring to Walter Benjamin's work Kleine Ge-
schichte der Photographie where he describes early portrait photographs: "There was an
aura about them, a medium that, penetrating it, gave their gaze fullness and surety."3

Here, aura still describes the substance itself (in the medical and religious sense).
In antiquity, medicine viewed the aura as indicating an imminent epileptic or hysteric at-
tack: in the 19th century, the psychiatrist Hippolyte Baraduc tried, "through photographs,
to objectify the aura of individuals which is invisible to the naked eye" - something of a
scientific-positivist opposite to Benjamin's meaning regarding the loss of the aesthetic-
mystic aura in the medium of photography, which he proclaims as a chance for the de-
velopment of an antifascist aesthetics in film.4

Benjamin's theories have been refuted by the reality of Pop-Art (Andy Warhol's se-
rial sculptures) and in particular by media art itself, where technology did not signal the
exorcism of the aura, but an added dimension. The art critic Michael Glasmeier calls for
a renewed study of Benjamin, "in which aura and reproduction will at last become se-
condary issues"5. The digital media are indeed diminishing the value of classic reproduc-
tion. The era when technological reproducibility was the foundation of the cultural eco-
nomy is drawing to a close. An economy of mindfulness that values immediate percep-
tion rather than storage media will affect culture as a whole and hence the arts - and for
the culture of the Occident this means a shift in emphasis from storage to transfer, from
the savings account to the volatile share portfolio. It has been suggested that world-
wide, fees for publications on the internet should no longer be based on the (actual) pu-
blication or programme (the original in television terms) but on the fact of its transmis-
sion, which need not be part of a framework.6 The internet is not interested in archives
(the build-up of storage as build-up of capital, the cultural prerequisite for claims of co-
pyright), but in distribution.

From the media change regarding the criteria material, space and time, Paul Valery
- to whom Benjamin is referring7 - has drawn his conclusions for "the whole of artistic

-148-
techniques" and has thus given a precise description of the television and video screen,
the principle of transmission, transfer and storage of technological images, the work of
art in the era of tele-presence:
Reproduction and communication of the works will undoubtedly be the first [...] to
be affected. [...] The works will achieve some kind of omnipresence. At our command,
they will obediently be present anytime, anywhere, or recreate themselves anew. No lon-
ger will they simply exist in themselves - they will all be wherever there is an individual.8
- "and the appropriate equipment", he adds. Contemporaneous with Benjamin, the
German Dadaists declared: "Art is dead / Long live the new machine art of TATLIN"; and
indeed, media art now is no more than art by the grace of technological grammar, in con-
trast to the concept of an also literally autonomous art (that is, art that is not defined by
the dash).

Aura and Authenticity


The authorisation of the original is considered both the genitivus subjectivus and the ge-
nitivus objectivus: It is the discourse that styles the object an original (since, viewed dis-
cretely, every reproduction is a unique object). Underlying it is not a metaphysical aes-
thetics, no pure love for the object, but a discourse on power: the will for a right, the
proof of a right, just as for a long time, archives were not built up primarily for historical
research (indeed, that would be a misuse of the archive), but to prove the legality of a
state's claims. In this sense, the term Urkunde (title deed) corresponds with that of the
archaeological original (and after all, the German "Urkunde" is pretty much a literal trans-
lation of "archaeoilogy"). But it is not just in the sense of the discourse that the original
has a special quality: with technological media, the equipment helps define the original
if the term is understood as a piece of information. "The proliferation and prospects of
digital media have drawn our attention to the question of how the authority of informa-
9
tion can and cannot be established in a new medium."
And thus it is no longer simply the physical reality that authenticates the repre-
sentation, where signs of age and disintegration induce historicity - analogous to the
changes in a work of art "that it has suffered over time in its physical structure". So, what
does authorise the original as opposed to the reproduction? According to Benjamin, it is
tradition and the notion of authenticity, physically endorsed in the form of a chemical pa-
tina or - analogous - through the archival proof of provenance:

The authenticity of an object is the sum and substance of all that can be traced
back to its origin, from its material duration to its historical testimony. [...] and thus the
historical testimony of the object begins to falter [...] in the reproduction. [...] but it is the
10
authority of the object, its traditional importance that is thus faltering.
Benjamin sees authenticity as a characteristic of the object, yet it is impossible to
"determine an essence of that which is authentic." Like Benjamin's concept of the aura,
the aesthetic category of authenticity is, in fact, oriented on both subjective experience
and the ontic nature of the (art) work. Let us shift the question from that of authenticity
to that of discourse strategies that define what is to be considered genuine. By analogy,
we can say:

-149-
In an age when the difference between original and copy becomes increasingly
meaningless, it seems appropriate to observe the cognitive process by which a pheno-
menon is perceived as authentic. This would be the transition from an authenticity of the
work (substance-based logic) to an authenticity of observation (process-based logic).11
And yet, authenticity is not just a category of observation, but also a function of
technological materials.

The Media Law of the Original


The other guarantor of the notion of the original is the law: the legal discourse is inter-
ested in the direct links between originality and contractual rights. One answer of the art
market, which has an interest in the continuation of an economy based on the original,
is the hybrid of the original edition: one of its institutional guarantors is the museum as
a medium for the systematic limitation of works and their reproduction. The trace of the
aura is inscribed on the juridical notion of the original when - as in the discourse of me-
diaeval reliquary cults - tactility becomes the authority of the reproduction - a criterion
that is itself technological: "Everything produced from the original plaster is a cast, an
edition; everything not produced from the original plaster is a reproduction."

But what makes a digital image an original, what a copy? Does the answer to this
question depend on the degree of digital resolution when scanning, comparable to the
television copyright category of transmittable material. Copiers, fax machines and scan-
ners were exempt from copyright fees when they managed less than two pages per mi-
nute, with the effect that computer manufacturers kept the output of their machines ar-
tificially low (so users went abroad to acquire faster drives). "Last week, these brakes to
digital progress have been removed."12 Digital sampling - whether in the area of acous-
tics or optics - makes the media-archaeologically radical difference between analogue
and digital obvious - with regard to quotation rights. We have to remember that it was
the magnetic tape (audio and video) which made it possible for radio and television, ori-
ginal media of broadcasting and transmission, to find their way into the cultural memory,
because it allowed storage. And this includes individual artistic practice such as the
Loops of the video artist Klaus vom Bruch:

I stole images from television and, from them I created my personal archive with
which to work iconographically. The archive is my resource for a picture machine. The war
pictures, for instance, reached back to a time before my own. I reached into the archive
for pictures full of history. 13
Thus, what is at stake is the cognitive difference between original and fake. Hans
Ulrich Reck describes the television effects of an aesthetics of video clips, using the
example of a video of the shooting of the Rumanian dictator Ceaucescu at the end of
1989, which suggested a real-time broadcast although they were actually a media fake.
But it is the fake which represents the reality of these media. And this is why the
accusation of non-authenticity is no longer justified. Where the genuine is missing, it ma-
kes no sense to speak of the false.14

- 150 -
In the age of industrial technology products, there was no need to record the co-
pyright since in all probability, the consumer was not in a position to construct copies of
artefacts with his own means (at best, reverse engineering was being undertaken by op-
ponents in espionage - e.g. the copy of a computer in the USSR). In contrast to digital
space where - for instance for music files - the user is able to download not only the
title, but the entire decoder, and hence the virtual machine for reproduction.15

Thus arises the question, what actually remains of the concept of the original work
in the light of the new media. What, for instance, is the smallest protectable unit in di-
gital sound? At which degree of fractal compression is the present formula still an origi-
nal? Is the law still able to guarantee data security or is this now the problem of infor-
mation scientists? Does a link on the internet represent a quotation, a reference, or the
appropriation of another's intellectual property?

The possibility of linking and combining data from different sources [...] in an in-
stant that comes with the new information technology is an aliud compared to the col-
lation of the same data by hand in a searching and editing process that would take
weeks and months.16
In digital space, the notion of the original is no longer in league with the law. When
all theories and aesthetics are at an end, it is no longer the legal profession that is most
likely to determine the characteristics a picture must have for its creator to claim ow-
nership: henceforth, technology will play a part. For the first photographers, the question
was whether the photograph of a picture appropriated the originality of the latter. Are the
new media expropriating the arts of old-world Europe? In Germany, the copyright arose
from the notion of genius in the era of Goethe, in England from the interests of publis-
hers. The author is a figure of accountability (Foucault). When this law is applied to com-
puter programs, to machines capable of imitating all other machines, they become ab-
surd.

The digital media take on the notion of the original. Just as the administrative his-
tory of data protection is no older than microprocessor-based information technology;
and this contemporaneity will result in "no less than the reform of our legal system un-
der the conditions of the information age". Part of it will be a shift in space and time, i.e.
the core criteria of Benjamin's notion of the aura of the original work of art. The disposi-
tive of passing down a culture's memory, i.e. of memetics, does not lie in the archive of
originals, but in the nature of reproduction:

The preservation of the Platonic Meme by means of a series of copies is a particu-


larly obvious example. Although a number of papyri have been found recently that may
well have existed in Plato's lifetime, the survival of the Meme itself is virtually indepen-
dent of these. Today's libraries contain thousands, if not millions of physical copies (and
translations) of Plato's (Dialogue) Meno whilst their actual forbear - the original text -
has turned to dust centuries ago.17

The virtualisation of the original reveals the two bodies of a work of art in the me-
dia age. Who has the copyright of Europe's culture in digital space? The Association of
Computer Manufacturing (ACM) proposes to receive all date on the Net free of charge, but
to impose a fee for the physical printout.

- 151 -
Bill Gates acquires the digital pictorial rights of the European museum culture: the
real museum keeps the right of ownership, but not the copyright. In Germany, the notion
of the art original is based on the privileged position of intellectual ownership above all
other fundamental rights and is therefore conservative. In continental Europe, the perso-
nal copyright remains intact and irrevocable: the curse of the archive (since it expires only
after 50 years, or goes to the heirs). "Authorship is the foundation of culture", so com-
poser Wolfgang Rihm at the 41st CISAC World Congress in Berlin;18 This foundation is not
yet seen in the context of media archaeology, but of the arts. In the USA, however, the
author's copyright terminates at the moment of publication; whilst the Anglo-Saxon co-
pyright (since 1710: introduced to the USA in 1790) is oriented on the exploitation inter-
ests of the holder (transmitter) of intellectual property:

I hereby assign [...] with full title guarantee copyright in the Contribution and in any
abstract prepared by me to accompany the Contribution for the full legal term of copy-
right and any renewals, extensions and revivals thereof [...] in all formats and through
any media of communication.19
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has decided to apply the co-
pyright of literary works to software and mathematical formulae as well20 - a victory for
old-world European morals over calculation? The copyright makes no difference between
analogue and digital, and remains wedded to the occidental concept of the work of art;
so the media culture is lacking in this respect, the awareness of the difference made by
the computer, e.g. for the notion of a picture: The fractal picture compression produces
again and again a new original or, rather: a digital? Beyond the legal definition, the co-
pyright thus turns into a function of the law of hardware. There remains the question of
interim storage: is it ruled by a latent copyright, or a virtual copyright?

Rosalind Krauss has described registration, cataloguing and the depot as the basic
parameters of 20th century art. At the end of this century, however, the trend is from sto-
rage (back?) to transmission: instead of depot and storage there is the (seemingly) im-
mediate availability of music, text and image on demand. The standards MP3 for the frac-
tal compression of images, and MPG for audio data mean that the problem is no longer
with storage capacity but with transmission: what gets lost are nuances in colour and
sound that are outside the human perceptive faculty and can therefore be dispensed
with, but it is precisely these nuances that represent the signature, the mark of the ori-
ginal.

Who has the power to define the original in digital space: aesthetic, legal or tech-
nological agencies? And can the musical product of random-generating programs - as in
the case of the Decca record Music from Mathematics - still be regarded as intellectual
property? "To the art enthusiast who is not conversant with the matter, it appears im-
possible to express poetry, music and painting in figures."21; once expressed in numbers,
however, the original turns into algorithms and becomes measurable in telecommunica-
tions terms - for example in Max Bense's attempt at a cybernetic "aesthetics and pro-
gramming" in the IBM-Nachrichten.

-152-
The Currency of the Original
The economics of e-commerce sets it down: The real reserve in precious metals to cover
and authorise a currency is replaced by its virtual equivalent.
Up to now, there used to be a fundamental link between original and archive: for
instance the museum depot as currency (warrant) of the original which authorises the va-
rious reproductions. This is true particularly for the classical museum as the currency of
aesthetics: a function authorised through real purchasing decisions and depot values.
The Greeks knew [...] two methods of technological reproduction of works of art:
casting and striking. Bronze and terracotta artefacts and coins were the only works of art
they could produce in large quantities22.
That way, the originals may remain inaccessible, but like the gold reserves of a na-
tional bank, they are the stable reference in the circulation of their digital alter ego. Thus
the German Library (Deutsche Bücherei - the recipient of deposit copies), aims to keep
two copies, an archive and a user copy; the archive copy is the complete monument of
continuity against digital manipulability.23 As long as the data contain redundancies, the
system is able to correct itself and to compensate for losses within limits, namely: to
interpolate via the figures. It is a different matter for the "sacred texts or data that are
truly relevant culturally, where one is aware that a lot would get lest if one were to throw
out the objects according to the model recommended by Oliver Wendell Holmes [...], and
were to keep only the digitalised data as a memento of the objects."24 As soon as the
photographic record of objects appeared to make their materiality redundant, Holmes
announced Postmodernism in 1859:

In future, form will be separate from material. Indeed, the material is no longer of
much use in visible objects except where it serves as a model after which the form is cre-
ated. Give us a few negatives of an object worth seeing [...], that's all we need. The ob-
ject may then be demolished or set alight, if you like [...]. This development will result in
such a huge collection of forms that they will have to be sorted by categories and put on
display in large libraries.25

Thus, the data technology of electronic libraries does not do away with the physi-
cal book; indeed, each information still requires authorisation by reference to the real.
The reader or viewer looking for information easily forgets the materiality of the
text or image carrier. The photographic transfer of the object into the space of the picto-
rial archive seems to make the original redundant; take, for example, the early Roman in-
scription of Satricum near Rome which was discovered by Dutch archaeologists:
Once the position of the block with the inscription had been photographically do-
cumented and sketched [...] this and the two others displaying the same characteristics
were transported to the Dutch Institute at Rome for preparation of the publication and to
await placement in a museum.26
In fact, there has been a UNESCO convention for the Protection of the Natural and
Cultural World Heritage since 1972, which requires of all its member states to photogra-
phically document special edifices. Form the archive photographs, it should be possible
to interpret or, more precisely, compute the building plan in case of its "destruction which

-153-
is already taken into account by the protective measures".27 But with the material origi-
nal, the simulacrum "analogue or digital" loses its foundation in physical reality, and
therefore its authority. "I would not recommend this to anybody who has an archive."

Framework and Original (Martin Heidegger)


The first draft of Walter Benjamin's work Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen
Reproduzierbarkeit dates from the autumn of 1935. The near literal analogies to Heideg-
ger's work Der Ursprung des Kunstwerks, which was written at almost the same time, are
striking when Benjamin mentions the example of antique sculptures. The essentially dis-
tant is - entirely in the spirit of Heidegger, the unapproachable:

The original way of integrating a work of art into the traditional context found its
expression in the cult [...]. It is crucial that this auratic existence of the work of art is ne-
ver completely divorced from its ritual function.28
The English translation of Martin Heidegger's work Der Ursprung des Kunstwerks
into [The] Origin [of Art] demonstrates: arche, archive and the concept of the original are
onomastically connected. "All these terms - singularity, authenticity, uniqueness, origina-
lity, original - depend on the moment of origin."29 By contrast, "the modern framework
[...] appears, from a logical point of view, as something multiple: a system of reproduc-
tions without an original."

Is the Gestell (framework) - of the museum or of technology - the dispositive of


the concept of the original?
In ordinary use, Gestell refers to some kind of framework or apparatus. [...] Accor-
ding to Heidegger, Gestell is deeply connected to the modern concept of representation
(Vorstellen) [...]. Heidegger comments that the essence of technology, Enframing, is 'in a
lofty sense ambiguous', [...] we are always already 'in the picture'. [...] Thus the issue is
not [...] whether what is on view is authentic or a reproduction. Nor is the issue whether
the work is actually framed, as is Van Gogh's painting of the peasant shoes, or free-stan-
ding, as is the temple at Paestum. Finally the issue is not whether the work of art is or
is not on its 'own site'. For the temple at Paestum is just as much displaced as the tem-
ple of Pergamon.30

However, Heidegger did not see with his own eyes the Bassae temple scenery that
he describes (his visit to Greece took place only after the Second World War). What we
see here is a rhetoric of dissimulation, because Heidegger's insights into the nature of
the antique Greek temple were based on photographic evidence, and thus on discrete
units of media in-formation whose technological reproduction dislocates them perma-
nently.31 Heidegger may well have been using Walter Hege's photographs of antique tem-
ples. Hege insisted that photographs of works of art must not replace the "real encoun-
ter with the original", "and that is the way it should be, there has to remain a distance
between original and reproduction", an irreducible difference.32

On the other hand, it is the reproduction - entirely in the spirit of Derrida's Gram-
matology - that imbues the archetype with the aura of the original33; seen in conjunction
with the original, the duplicate practically generates "the pure uniqueness of the pri-

-154-
mary"34. With the camera obscura, the visual media had already made an attack on the
original; J Baltrusaitis reminds us that in the 18th century, Claude's Mirror, as it was
known, reflected nature as if painted by the landscape painter Claude Lorrain. "The mir-
ror image of nature was preferred to the original by far"35, just as for a long time, people
favoured the literary description over the photo-realistic image. A good example is a com-
mentary on Stackelberg's archaeological publication, Der Apollotempel zu Bassae in Ar-
kadien (1826). Here, the term 'description' keeps oscillating between image and litera-
ture:

Since he knew how to render the charms of the vivid marble figures in his sketch-
book with so much artistic sense and confidence, he went with equal artistic sense about
the description of the magnificent impression he had taken away from the solemn place
and from the halls of this sacred space. He [...] reproduces, as it were, the lost work of
art before our very eyes from the few bits and ruins that remain36
- and thus an imagecreating approach of an archaeological imagination that is lin-
ked to drawing techniques.

The Museum as a Place for the Original


Immanuel Kant's concept of the setting of the image, the parergon (which was taken up
by Derrida), points to the framework of the museum and the picture plane as vehicles for
the event called the original. "Whether public museum, official salon, world exhibition or
private collection: what partly constitutes the exhibition space has always been the con-
tinuous area on the wall - a wall that was more and more exclusively oriented towards
the presentation of art"37 and identifies the function of the museum: "to exclude every-
thing else and to constitute through this exclusion what we mean by the term art."38 It is
precisely this area that is now being dislocated onto the site of the video monitor which
no longer appears on the walls of the museum, but itself forms a museum space - diffe-
rent "frames of inscription"39 And indeed the electronic monitor continues what Benjamin
diagnosed for photography: that both in the technological and the museum sense of the
exhibition, the exhibition value will push back the cult value in the reproduction medium.
Perhaps originality is not situated in the original but in its museum context. Does the mu-
seum generate the original?

The subject of originality which includes the notions of authenticity, original and
origin, is the common discursive practice of the museum, the historian, and the produ-
cer of art. And throughout the entire 19th century, all these institutions were united in
their aim to find the mark, the guarantee, the authentication of the original.40
The museum and media condition for the original, then, is precisely the fact that
the artefact cannot be touched by writing as a meta- and control datum: With video, is it
auratic images that become storable, or just emanations of the memoire volontaire With
the pictorial media, a third entity comes between conscious and unconscious memory,
the technological in-between, literally a medium.

The ideal of modernist and functionalist museums was the ahistoric space, the neu-
tral dispositive, the white cube41, a sublime place where time is no more, that enshrined
an exhibition aesthetics beyond the urban context. But, a museum is no mythic place, no

-155 -
space of unending eternity: The aura of the museum behaves in keeping with a museum.
It is no longer possible to separate the framework from the contents, the exhibition: The
museum is no longer able to exhibit without putting itself (self-consciously) on show. In
the exhibition Les Immateriaux at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, its subject, the
increasing tuming-into-light (Verlichtung) in contemporary arts, questioned the materia-
lity of the gallery and the museum itself. The museum of the future - which has dawned
already - will no longer be the solid mausoleum of art and history, but a spatial abyss
punctuated by electronic screens. Sure, it still is a very material effort which results in an
immaterial materiality: Les Immateriaux was staged at substantial material expense, and
a reminder of this is the technological wear and tear of, say, a recorder in video installa-
tions; but here, the effect sublimely blanks out the technology. The museum will conti-
nue to deceive the senses. But where once it installed objects, there now immaterialism
is on the agenda, the relation without substance. There is an alternative in the radical ab-
stinence from narrative arrangement, the withdrawal to the concept of traces. In the Mu-
nich Kunstverein, Gerhard Merz put on show - apart from a painting of Saint Sebastian
being killed by arrows of looks - the questioning of the (art) history of the museum it-
self in the shape of the letters: DOVE STA MEMORIA?, flanked by mirrors that reflected a
gallery space structured by the play of light from the windows. Where is the place of me-
mory? In spite of an identifiable museum history, the isolated letters of this question for-
med an answer: the surrender of memory to its significants, the immemorial.

Walter Benjamin's theory of the age of the technological reproducibility of art is no


longer able to cope with today's electronic data flow. Whilst the photographic reproduc-
tion of objects still conveyed the illusion of an object, its electronic recording meant its
change into simulacra of the real itself. Not only is electronics recording the objects, it
also declares the age of the concrete, history: The era of material production is drawing
to an end and will disappear entirely42. Even historical documents amount to deception
since holograms of objects in museums still perfectly simulate the aura of the original.
Such holograms could be transmitted anytime via telephone lines: available anytime,
they undermine the hallowed status of the museum as a privileged place (store) of great
masterpieces, just as Andre Malraux's photo-based Imaginary Museum no longer exhibits
the individual work of art like the classical museum, but- in the spirit of Wölfflin - brings
out the style by facilitating comparative reading. This, then, does not require the singu-
lar work in the museum, but a repertoire of pictures, an archive. And that means: less
museum, more storage."3 Hal Foster takes this idea further and asks

whether-because in the age of electronic data processing, a system based on ima-


ges and texts equalises all the in-put data into digital units - Malraux's Museum without
Walls [...] will be replaced by an archive without museum [...], a system of images and
text, a database of digital terms44
- where aesthetic differences are simply functions of storage technology.

The Monitor Scene


Pictorial media art can be transmitted - indistinguishable in its appearance from the ori-
ginal - to every household. As a retro-effect, this circumstance is making inroads into
contemporary museum planning itself: A proposal of the Stuttgart Laboratory for Archi-

- 156 -
tecture regarding the German Museum of History in Berlin (DHM) involved a building
where real time of other museums or historically significant sites would be received,
made visible, or stored. The net of Eurovision, news services, airlines, cable connections,
telephone and telefax have long provided a different kind of cartography of the real,
drawn up a different kind of museography. And so this museum proposal for the DHM in-
cludes a terminal, an electronic ramp, an ISDN connection, the DATA BANK telecommuni-
cation beyond the black box of the classical part of the exhibition, and the "remote trans-
mission of holograms"45. Looking into the distance, once idealistically called "imagina-
tion", is now literally called: television. The museum no longer is the place of destina-
tion, the parcel office for historical or aesthetic objects, but becomes the relay of imma-
terial impulses which have long determined the perception of our present. And thus the
monitor takes the place of the museum exhibition.

"What is fundamentally new is that only the information is travelling; it needs to


be prepared for dispatch. The images need a place to arrive in after transmission, where
they can light up and be seen and (perhaps) understood. So it is about networks in
which to circulate the information: that part of the building, the station, the museum, the
warehouse, etc, where the connection to the 'intelligent net' is made, the ISDN socket."46
In the electronic musee imaginaire, the monitor surface takes the place of the museum
space (with the loss of three-dimensionality, until Cyberspace functions in a truly immer-
sive way): "The Interface, the 'transmitting' agent consisting of luminous dots on a thin
skin, is today's monumental medium, and perhaps also that of the museum - in an age
which perceives [...] movement at speed as an overriding value."47

Speed and disappearance: So far, it had been the function of the museum to es-
tablish the significance of historical objects by placing them on pedestals and investing
them with significance. This monumental way of giving meaning has long been undermi-
ned by the fleetingness of the images where history, once again in keeping with Walter
Benjamin's dictum, now quite literally flits past: "The past can only be captured in pictu-
res that flash up for an instant at the moment of recognition, never to be seen again."48

As Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari pointed out in Anti-Ödipus, the stability of tra-
ditional writing disappears in the electronic process, the transformation into luminous
dots on the monitor. Thus, chronography is turned into light. What happens in this ligh-
ting (Lichtung) - to speak with Heidegger - demonstrandum est. Even where a photo-
graph guarantees reality, its inventor Henry Fox Talbot saw a "word of light" - light ef-
fects that enter the image carrier as graphemes and are developed later. Which bears out
forcefully what was manifest in the dispute about the authenticity of Auguste Rodin's
casts of negatives for The Gates of Hell: multiple copies without an original. Benjamin's
essay on art reminds us that authenticity becomes an empty phrase where duplication is
inherent in a technological medium: "for instance, it is possible to produce a wealth of
copies from a photographic plate, so the question of the true print is meaningless."49 The
current culture about the photographic vintage print, by contrast, is seeking the re-entry
of the concept of the original by defining it as the print that is "almost concurrent with
the aesthetic moment" - which would make authenticity "a function of the history of
technology" the past future of the original (and its apparent re-entry in digital space)5o.

Today, the time difference between recording, latent storage and development is re-
duced to the speed of light, to luciferic (or better: luci- rather than metaphoric) real time.

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And this brings us to the latent representation of the document on the photoconductive
drum in the photocopying process:
The exposure lamp switches on [...] The lamp/ mirror unit scans the original [...] The
document is exposed to the light and the bright areas of the document reflect the light
via the mirror lens system onto the photoconductive drum so that in the exposed areas,
the negative charge is conducted via mass by the photoconductor. By the image areas of
the document, little or no light is transmitted to the photoconductor depending on the
colour intensity, so that the charge in these areas remains and a latent image of the do-
cument is produced on the drum.51

This gives the document that is defined as the original a virtual alter ego, in sha-
dow script. On the other hand, the electronic luminous dots on the screen, radically ba-
sed on time. The transience of these images deregulates the stability of any interpreta-
tion which used to be guaranteed by the museum in its monuments: "museums have [...]
capitulated in the face of the archival problems connected with these new ephemeral ty-
pes of art by completely ignoring the visual possibilities of electronic images"52. Instead,
the museum depot is increasingly reflecting the control mechanism of its successor me-
dium. Like the warehouse of the Benneton clothing company is organised and operated
on the random access principle, the museum depot is also adapting more and more to
the random access memory of the computer.

To the extent that time-based media have replaced immobile museum pictures and
objects, the organisation of the museum gets recoded. If the temporal order in the clas-
sical museum was outward, inscribed on the object by relationships ("the artwork is em-
bedded in a chronologically or thematically structured narrative mediating a specific ver-
sion of art history", it is now the time-discrete event character of media art that domina-
tes. And thus a conference on museum collections of video art in January 1999 at the
Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, was entitled Buying Time53; though Benjamin had already
attributed to the collector who charges his objects with the quality of the fetish, an er-
satz function for the once cultic power of the original.

Since electronic, time-based art is technologically founded on feedback operations,


social interaction takes the place of the one-too-many aesthetics of the classical exhibit.
With the options of zapping and recording, television and the video monitor have already
supplied the basics: for art on the internet, the "validity of a claim of originality is in-
creasingly losing out in favour of the new ideology of interaction".54

Since the dispositive of the exhibits, the exhibition space, is asymmetric to the ex-
hibition space, the exhibits escape being clothed with the aura of the museum. The mu-
seum framework is thus itself put on show.55 The aim is no longer - as in Italian Futurism
- to storm and demolish museums, to destroy. Instead, the museum space is subtly ques-
tioning itself. Not the exhibited objects constitute the essence of the museum, but the
network of their connections and relationships (the subject of discourse analyses), the
space in-between. Herein lies the immateriality of the museum, in something that is ge-
nerally overlooked by a view fixated on the object. The museum space is an in-between.
The artist Frangois Morellet installs neon lines in gallery rooms in a way that the edges
of the room become part of his object structures - a transformation of museum architec-
ture into that of a screen, the screen of a monitor: "early metaphors for television as 'ma-

-158-
gic mirror' and 'window on the world' refer to the transparency of the glass surface of the
receiver"56. "Actually, the whole edifice is just a display cabinet", it says in an architectu-
ral critique of the glass-dominated Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin. It is notable
what happened within this space: One part of the building (the Kaisersaal) of the former
Hotel Esplanade, which was situated on the company's property and a listed building,
was moved by 70 meters at great expense in order to make room for a road, and inte-
grated into one of the new wings. Still original, this artefact has now turned into a quo-
tation, into a copy of itself: and consequently, the wording for this hybrid in the space
between original and copy is Architekturmuseum.57

Indices of the Real


For the first time, optical media since photography make it possible to record the real of
light. In analogue photography, it is the index, i.e. the unique pointer to something real,
that authorises the medium. "In contrast to symbols, indices produce their significance
on the basis of a physical relationship with their referents."58 In that sense, the video
magnetic tape is equally indexical (if not iconic, since it entertains no visual similarity to
its model), the store of a real impulse track or "marking". In turn, the electronic video
image on the monitor is - like the television image - in the tradition of Kepler's eye
image theory, since it is not an image-producing process, but scans real impulses:

The pictura produced by light in the eye entirely according to geometrical laws [...]
is on the one hand, via the incoming rays [...] clearly related to the pictured subject in the
exterior world, its object of reference, on the other hand it acquires at the same time an
independent existence of its own.59
With the video disk, it is crucial for digitally encoded image and sound information
is scanned by the laser beam without loss, also with regard to time; "a linear time struc-
ture no longer exists"60. On this level, therefore, applies - in variation - Roland Barthes'
notion of the uncoded message of the photographic image: "that the relationship of sig-
nificant and significate is, as it were, a tautology: [...] not a transformation (which an en-
coding could be); [...] one is faced with the paradox ... of a message without a code."61
While the physical nature of the natural world is still expressed in the photochemical
emulsion, giving the photographic imprint its documentary, indexical status, this mark is
ephemeral in technological images. Because "photographs are produced under condi-
tions that force them physically to correspond point by point to the original," - as stres-
sed by Flusser's photo theory - they belong to the sign class of indices "which are signs
on the basis of their physical connection" 62 - and hence are not identical with the icon
whose effect derives from the similarity of the picture, not necessarily from its material
connection.

An Index is a sign which refers to the Object that it denotes by virtue of being re-
ally affected by that Object. It cannot, therefore, be a Quality, because qualities are what-
ever they are independently of anything else. In so far as the Index is affected by the
Object, it necessarily has some Qualities in common with the Object, and it is in respect
to these that it refers to the Object.

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Is this affection, which creates a relationship between sign (or rather: signal) and
object even in the non-semantic domain, also true for the impulse transmitted by an elec-
tronic medium? It is true that principal binary encoding also applies to the registration of
images. Anything that can be scanned enters the neutralising code of the digital. But
since images cannot exist without the excitation spaces of their presence, the interface
of representation, staging and reception including the contingent area of perception
whose special emanation used to be known as the "aura", the criterion of computed pi-
xels is obviously not saying much. Though they can be computed, digital images should
not be mixed with information data or simply added to the internal ramification logic of
the technological archive.63

The Materiality of Media Art


The auratic notion of the original constitutes a dilemma for the conservation of media art
in the museum: "Interference with technology frequently also means alteration of the au-
thentic character of a work", and it is necessary to "disclose which of the components
seem worth preserving in their original configuration in spite of their outdated technolo-
gical structure, and possibly because of their patina" - referred to by Benjamin - "or will
substantially benefit from the aura of their media history."64

Is originality, in the case of media art, no longer inherent in the nature of the work
of art, but in the physics of the apparatus? In the spirit of the cultural studies, David Mor-
ley insists on the "'physics' of television, focusing on the largely unexamined significance
of the television set itself (rather than the programmes it shows), both as a material and
as a symbolic, if not totemic, object"65. In contrast to research into television as a piece
of furniture, media archaeology employs the term 'physics of television' to describe its
technological conditions. In 1878, the Portuguese physicist Adriano de Paiva suggested
the use of selenium to transform the brightness values of an image into the correspon-
ding degrees of strength of the electric current. Video artists like Nam June Paik and Bill
Viola expressly emphasise the physics of their medium: "hearing sound and watching
movement and light is a very physical experience".66

The media artist Achim Mohne reminds us of the materiality of the video with his
installation MediaRecyding (video sculpture, Gesellschaft für aktuelle Kunst, Bremen
1999) where he put on show, as raw material, the tape that the recorder "spat out" du-
ring the television recording instead of rewinding it, "as the original in an artistic process
that sees the tape as material, body, symbol carrier, and sculpture"67. But after an epoch
of technological modernity that was forever trying to hide its technological conditions in
a dissimulatio artis in order to allow the audio-visual illusion in the perception of the vie-
wer to function at all, the discovery of this materiality is already a sign of its demise.

The video recorder is dead, killed by TV on demand. There will be no more recor-
ders, there will be no more cassettes, no shelves with lovingly designed covers, no video
libraries, no tape spaghetti.68
The Video-Scratching is a drastic reminder of the materiality of the medium; here
we find practised in the area of the visual what has long been familiar from the disk jo-
ckey world of Vinyl. Feedback produces images that hurt the eye. In Berlin, the VJ Safy

- 160 -
(Assaf Etiel, Israel) regularly shows Live Scratchworks with a number of damaged laser
players (picture and sound) that get stuck. This cancels the relationship between signifi-
cant and significate (video clips) - desemantisation work; here, meaning itself turns (me-
dia-archaeological) material: working with that which is found (namely the data manipu-
lation by the memory).

Archaeology in Cyberspace: Image Generation Instead of Reproduction of the Given


The place of reproduction is taken by the generation of virtual image, so in the electro-
nic reconstruction of the oldest neolithic city, Catalhüyük: There is no memory in the
sense that "memory" itself is now no more than a metaphor for synchronous processes,
a kind of translation of electronic conditions back into the tradition of our conceptual
world. The past is back via the video matrix, concretely visible, no longer tied to time and
space, to history. That is the true attack of a computer-generated presence on all other
time.69

But time is hitting back:


The virtual construction of Cluny Cathedral particularly demonstrates the problems
of the long term availability of digitally stored data. Already lost, they could be saved
from digital memory loss (for the moment) by means of expensive updating methods.70
In cyberspace, real and virtual space form hybrid alliances. The presentation of the
virtual reconstruction of the antique roman military colony Colonia Ulpia Trajana, which
will be exhibited at the Archaeological Park in Xanten, confronts us with a paradox: to
walk through the virtual reconstruction at the original site. There is an opportunity in
being able to bring out the difference between actual archaeological place and hypothe-
tical reconstruction. But this is not possible at a site that is itself a model.

Is there no further use for the original as an archaeological artefact in the age of
digital exhibitions? Archaeology has been virtual for a long time. It is not only now, in the
epoch of the digital media, that virtual archaeology has taken the place of immediate vie-
wing. Once - under the primacy of antique texts - archaeology worked more in the vir-
tual than in the original sphere; to a high degree, the medium-based, because text-com-
municated reception in antiquity operated as a virtual world, largely independent of the
subject. It is only with J J Winckelmann that seeing the original with one's own eyes re-
placed the study of reproductions in earnest. G Ε Lessing, for instance, was still able to
study the antique sculptural group of Laocoon in his 1766 polemic of the same title ex­
clusively from a copperplate reproduction of the subject. Not only did he believe thereby
to have at his disposal a more detached way of looking at it, but years later, when he
went to Rome in person, he made no mention in his notebook of a visit to the original
in the Vatican. "The original (the excavation, the find) serves as an aid for research which
does not have a quality of its own and can only be kept at the ready for those interes­
ted in the source" (Circular, Rieche, 26 May 2000). It is precisely the "right of veto of the
sources" that is being maintained (Reinhart Koselleck) as an authority analogous to the
original, and not on the basis of the artefact itself, but of its integration in a guaranteeing
infrastructure - such as the verifying archive.71 Free material objects from the discourse of
the original which, after all, has figured in this form for only 200 years, and what is left

- 161 -
is a natural rather than an arts view of that which remains, the relic, the remnant (Über-
rest) in Johann Gustav Droysens's sense.

Technology and Original: From Reproduction to Raster


Notions like originality were formed only after the Enlightenment with the evolution of
the modern system of fine arts at the expense of a split with the mechanical arts - a split
between idealist, sublimated aesthetics and sensuous aisthesis - which can now be cap-
tured with signal technology - that are rejoined only under the heading media art: "Areas
of perception of word, picture and sound, differentiated in their tendencies and screened
from one another, create new forms of multimedia reality"72 - but actually converging in
a single medium, the space of computation. So the opposite of the original is no longer
the reproduction or the copy, but rastering, the digital breakdown of a document into the
smallest possible discrete binary-coded elements - a process that is no longer arbitrary
but governed by strict relationships between points on document and image, and whose
way was prepared by the copying machine in the 19th century. Rodin's reproducteur, for
instance, was concerned - according to his letterhead - with the reduction and enlarge-
ment of "objects of art and industry" through a "process perfected mathematically" by
means of a "special machine" that produces "editions" of these "duplicates"73; Rodin, for
his part, accepted only bronze casts as authentic that he himself had authorised.74

Our concepts of originality and authenticity are confronted with media of repro-
duction and simulation that challenge our conceptual sense of history. [...] The question
[...] therefore is to what extent traditional concepts are able to cope with today's pro-
blems.75
Because technological reproduction breaks with the cultural technique of tradition
itself:
Reproduction technology [...] detaches from tradition what is reproduced. As it mul-
tiplies reproduction, it puts mass incidence in the place of the unique specimen.76 - and
thus the pattern/raster, in the sense of Rosalind Krauss, takes the place of historicity with
the result that artists "are condemned not to originality but to repetition". In painting,
the pattern of the canvas and the pattern painted on it diverge: "The pattern, then, does
not expose the area but hides it through a repetition"77 - an anarchaeological act.

The Inscription of the Original


Every inscription is made on a surface that has a texture, not just any texture, but a bi-
nary one (the cross-wise interweaving of strips of papyrus and of all textiles, canvases
produced on Jacquard looms). The archi(ve)texture of all history is its fabrication, the di-
gitality of endless variations. There never was a first text, for the preface to every text is
its carrier: "Not even a virgin surface for its inscription, and if the palimpsest requires a
bare, material support for an arche-writing, no palimpsest."78 And Barbara Johnson adds:
"In order for something to function as an act, it must be inscribed somewhere, whether
it be on paper, in memory, on a tomb-stone, or on videotape, celluloid, or floppy discs."79

- 162 -
But in the video image, infrastructure and representation coincide in the raster.
Technologically, this is due to the fact that what is to be reproduced can be stored on the
medium. But what happens when the reproduction technology itself is discontinued in
history or, rather, in media archaeology? For, according to a dictum of Marshall McLuhan,
the message of each new medium is the aura of its predecessor:
The invention of photography revealed that painting is so captivating because the
canvas does not show reality; the introduction of the motion picture revealed that the
photograph derives its beauty from the lack of movement; the sound film revealed that
the silent film is deeply moving because there is no noise. And colour film directors were
leaders in the aesthetics of the "film noir". Then, television made it clear that all those
film forms were borrowing their attractiveness from the black areas between the pictures.
And now, High Vision teaches us that the video offered something that is being lost at
the moment: the aesthetics of the raster line. In cyberspace, we will become aware that
the power of distant media was our abstinency on the screen. Then Simstim will show us
that cyberspace was so pleasant because it took place outside our nervous system.80

Thus, even cyberspace turns from media-archaeological distance into a space for
the original.

The Need of Technological Images for Reproduction


Since every technological image represents a coding, it follows Roland Barthes's defini-
tion of the real: to be captured, it always has to be "transformed into a painted (framed)
object" so that it can be depainted again:
Code upon code, says realism. Therefore, realism cannot be said to "copy" but to
"imitate" (it copies by a second mimesis what is already a copy).81
Travellers in the 18th and 19th centuries saw the landscape "with the eyes of peo-
ple who used to draw"82; Chris Marker says that much in his film essay Sans soleil:
I remember a January in Tokyo, or rather I remember the images I filmed in January
in Tokyo. They have replaced my memories, they are memories. I wonder how people re-
member who don't film, who don't photograph, who don't use tape-recorders.83
Copy (reproducibility) and archive, then, are in league with each other. At this point
Benjamin, too, diagnoses a media-archaeological disjointedness: The technological me-
dia are such - first with film (and before with photography) - that their reproducibility "is
directly founded on the technology of their production"84 - medium and arche. "To an
ever increasing extent, the reproduced work of art is becoming the reproduction of a
work of art made with a view to reproduction", and - according to a theory of Samuel
Weber85 - the linguistic suffix of the term reproducibility already contains the seed of the
virtual nature of the technological media. What is the truthfulness of technological re-
productions in comparison with the original?

Just as a computer giving inaccurate results does not falsify the physical laws of the
machine, semantic errors in the archaeological copy of an inscribed stone do not falsify
geometric statements (sc structural parity) about the comparison of original and copy. [...]

- 163 -
by analogy, it does not follow from a geometrically accurate description of original and
copy that the copy is semantically error-free.86
According to Benjamin, one characteristic of the original is its translatability; there
exists a relational connection (intimate) between original and translation as though the
need for translation were intrinsic to the original: "Translatability is an inherent property
of certain works."87 And for Benjamin, this relational concept does not refer to an inter­
pretative, but to a relational-formal connection between translation and original - a rela­
tionship that could therefore also be formalised in the sense of technological transfer (on
the lines of Shannon / Weaver's Mathematical Information Theory88). Whereby video en­
codes this real relationship technologically, not symbolically, and the difference between
original and (technological signal) translation / transfer ceases to exist altogether. For
Benjamin, truth is a given - in technology, these givens are data. At any rate, time-based
processes: "legibility, like translatability, occurs only with time".89 Could one say, analo­
gously, that video is the memory-based reproduction of a picture whose nature it is to be
recorded?

In principle, the technological function of the video recorder is to store television


signals by converting their frequencies into electromagnetic impulses, writing these onto
a magnetic tape by means of one or more magnetic heads, reading them off for repro­
duction, and transmitting them to the receiver, again in the form of frequencies.90
For television as a live medium in particular, this was not true for a long time, since
it was its nature to give out signals.

The Return of the Aura (Behind the Back of Technology)


Although Walter Benjamin denied that the reproducible medium of photography had the
aura of the original, the photo artist Hiroshi Sugimoto manages in his cycle Portraits re­
visit the function of the effigies against the backdrop of the legal fiction of the two bo­
dies of the King in the English Renaissance, described by Ernst Η Kantorowicz. In Ma­
dame Tussaud's London waxworks, he photographed the figures of the British royal fa­
milies in such a way that they are posthumously "charged with reality" rather than frozen
into media of transience.91 It is precisely at the threshold of the digital that the analogue
arts (painting) and media (photography) find their restitution:

In 1999, the video artist Yorck der Knöfel exhibited his Hommage to Painting at the
Berlin Gallery Wohnmaschine, consisting of six monitors arranged in a semicircle that re-
peated over and over, in staggered time, a scene of blown-up and bursting balloons. The
difference to painting thus becomes particularly clear in the hommage: "The digitally ma-
nipulated video image can scarcely be traced back to an unmistakable author"92 - or per-
haps this is a question of the media-competent, critical view, which tries to discriminate
against authors in the new media as well?

This enhancement of the analogue as a criterion of artistic authenticity surely is not


least due to a shift of the stigma of the "reproduction medium" onto digital image pro-
cessing. Furthermore, the appreciation of photography is testimony to the fact that the
old media are not, in Hegel's sense, simply "merging" into the new, but that it is preci-

- 164 -
sely the obstacles, anachronisms and reflections in the interaction between different me-
dia that fascinate contemporary artists.93
The genealogy of the media, therefore, should not be described as history but as
changing configurations, with new media simply allotting a different place to the old
(Friedrich Kittler), shifting their value, but not evolutionary.

Is there a Specific Videocy?


If video is merely used as a transmission device for electronically generated images, the
video is not the artistic original. This is precisely the dilemma of video (art) aesthetics,
as the jury of the 10th International Video Festival in Bochum experienced recently, in
A/lay 2000. From the jury's introduction to prize-giving in the competition:
With a number of works, we found a clear tendency towards film. This caused the
problem whether we should judge video [simply] as a medium for recording, production
and projection or [more strictly] the specific aesthetics and media quality of video.
Would the aesthetic delimitation of video against other optical media on the basis
of its formal-technological qualities be justified?94 Is there a specific videocy95? Is it the
techno-aesthetic pictorial untruthfulness of video compared with the apparent veracity of
television images whose constant broadcast criterion is that they must not be blurred?96
The initial fascination with the techno-properties of video - the "skandalon of the me-
dium" (Irmeta Schneider) - increasingly lost its importance compared to the (mostly nar-
rative) contents; once again proof of the rule that media archaeology ends where con-
tents - as a diversion from the medium in the sense of Boris Groys (the "submedial") -
begins. Where does that leave videomathesis, the specific knowledge and memory of vi-
deo images, the specific options for time-axis-manipulation in video editing, being and
time in time-based technological images?

The Analogue Document of the Original and its Differences to Digital Space
Instead of reproducing originals, originals are now sampled - a molecularisation, even
atomisation of the original. Digitally, there is no original at all: not even an "image". Let
us assume the difference of digital - basically photographic (Flusser's hypothesis) -, ie
discrete quantities of pixels to the physically analogue picture.
Somewhere between scanning a document that can be experienced haptically, for
example an oil painting, und the representation of the readings on a storage medium,
the original materiality of the picture or (simpler:) object seems to get lost. This is also
[already] true for analogue, electronic recording processes.97
In the medium of video, the coupling of original and archive is a given: in the sto-
rage medium video, although its stored images - in contrast to an oil painting on canvas
- can be detached from its concrete carrier (the magnetic tape). "The photographic can
only be determined from the reflection of the image carrier and the production procedu-
res that generate it."98; by contrast, the point with digital videocy is (and this is the me-
dia-archaeologically crucial difference between analogue and digital video) that it can be
transferred onto other memories without loss, and therefore extends, with Derrida (Dem

- 165 -
Archiv verschrieben), into virtual space. Does the seemingly identical media reproduction
of an original in analogue space, in fact, not mean its dislocation and deformation?
Reproductions [...] have to be counted amongst the misrepresentations of monu-
ments. [...] photographs [...] exaggerate their fusion with light and air, and in every case
distort the harmony, alter the colours, blur the proportions, and introduce visual-pictorial
elements. [...] even casts from antique moulds or prints from original wood blocks or me-
tal plates. Whichever reproduction one is using: each demands that one remains aware
of the type and degree of the distortion."
By contrast, digital space promises an undistorted, unfaded identical duplication of
the document. Benjamin exemplified this by means of the photographic plate; this tech-
nological model can be applied to the video tape copy: Where it is possible to produce
a large number of copies, "the question of the true copy [makes] no sense" (Benjamin
1978: 482) - unless with regard to the loss of data. The epoch of art in the age of its
technological reproducibility analysed by Benjamin is drawing to an end. Benjamin plays
the model of a memoire involontaire developed in Marcel Proust's novel A la recherche
du temps perdu off against media technologies "which he describes as a non-auratic me-
mory dispositive"100, and inasmuch as art is no longer drawing beauty "from the depths
of time" - hence archaeo-aesthetological - but simply reproduces it technologically101, dis-
crete situations affect the semantics of the original. The place of memory (in the sense
of Hegel) is taken by digital space where art is no longer reproduced but sampled, and
at any rate generated (imaging sciences) rather than reproduced. There is a marked dif-
ference between digital images and photography, unlike Flusser's hypothesis that they
have the same discrete pixels. What looks like a picture on the computer screen is in fact
a specific actualisation of data as data visualisation (imaging). The computer provides
data for viewing, on a temporary basis. And this turns the static - Benjamin diagnoses a
theoretical equivalent of static as having a "feel for the cognate in the world" - into a dy-
namic pictorial concept - something that results only when the equilibrium is reached in
electronic refresh circles.

This variability marks a fundamental change of pictures. In contrast to classical pic-


torial media such as photography and film, with a computer-generated picture, the data
is no longer immutably attached to a carrier, the negative, but always "flowing". Altera-
tions can be made to the digitally stored "picture" not just at the second step, starting
from the fixed negative, but at any point, and it is therefore impossible to determine an
"original" state. The state at the point of recording and subsequent changes which can
be distinguished in the photographic process, coincide in the digitally stored "picture".102

- and it is indeed no more than permanent cache storage. The absence of the phy-
sical original is the beginning of the virtual picture - if virtual refers to conditions that
don't exist anywhere but in electronic space; a difference, then, to the video or television
picture that may flicker just as electronically, but because of its referential nature de-
pends on light sources exterior to itself - except for noise. Digital images, then, are no
longer read as analogous to photographic documents, but as pictorial illustrations, visu-
alisations of a mathematical structure, of algorithms. They are indeed their image -
photographs of the inner state of machines, as it were, of the second order. The loss of
the original takes place as early as the process of electronic (tran-)scription, when eve-
rything between 0 to 1 is eliminated (Gotthard Günther sought to counter this with a mul-

-166-
tivalue logic) here, the technological difference between raster and vector graphics screen
comes into play.
In the digital process, [...] the components of a database are discrete states. For di­
gital images, this means: There is nothing between a pixel and its neighbouring pixels.
However, discrete states cannot be experienced by the senses, since the nature of the hu­
man perception mechanism and of the body itself is characterised by the analogue, and
by continual change. The digital, therefore, comes hand in hand with the disappearance
of the physical.103
Particularly at the (other) end of its expulsion, however, the physical re-enters: "Since
it is my intention to get to the bottom of the materiality of the pixel", continues Andreas
Menn in good media-archaeological fashion, each pixel has consequently to be produced
with my own hands - that is, with my body. I therefore work with my body in front of a
digital camera; my appearance in the picture corresponds to "one", my disappearance to
"zero". I am being scanned by the camera. And therefore, clocked. And thus the writing
created from the images of his body as a cluster of pixels reads, from a distance: "I want
to work only digitally" (that is, I would add, to live in discrete states) (ill. 15).

In view of the virtual - ie of something taking place in electronic space - the clas­
sical distinction between original and copy becomes obsolete. "Virtual means: visible,
but non-existent."104 And what does this mean for the archiving of video art? For Dan Gra­
ham's video installation whose hardware has been lost, it means that the computer is
now able to emulate it, the early reel-to-reel video-decks. The storage of media works of
art is one thing, to work with them again, another. Working and exhibition versions of the
museum as digital emulations are now conceivable105; the video original remains stored
as its authorisation. What will be done with artistically designed web pages in an age be­
yond the internet?

Time Shift
The delay between recording and transmission corresponds, for the recipient, to the time
shift in the transfer from television to video, of the (technological) broadcast. The media
artist Dan Graham used this technological difference for a perceptual aesthetics in the se­
ven variations of his 1974 Video Delay Rooms (initially at the exhibition Projekt 74 in Co­
logne):

On Monitor 1 a spectator from audience A can see himself only after an 8 second
delay. While he views audience Β (in the other room) on Monitor 2, this audience sees
him live on the Monitor whose image can also be seen by audience A. [...] As 8 seconds
have passed, the composition of the continuum which makes up audience B, has shifted
as a function of time.106
What gets lost in the analogue video image leads to an entropic dissolution of the
original or, better: to a time shift original, that is to the dissolution of the concept of the
original in video time, the specific videocity. With his video installation Present continu­
ous past of 1974, Graham demonstrated: The viewer sees himself on the video monitor
with a time-lag (closed circuit). In a host of vanishing points, the representation space
decentralises the view and distributes it in an ambiguous spatial field. The differentiation

- 167 -
between contemplation and usage is obliterated; each comprises the other in its entirety
(Ulrich Look). The oscillation of such a view corresponds to the deconstruction of the re-
presentational relationship through autorepresentation; here we find the representation
of representation, depiction without the depicted. In the picture, the monitor wall allows
a view of itself through itself. The result is a series of complex representations which, in
theory, continues as long as the video installation is switched on, but in practice soon
gets lost in the entropic density of image granularity. Such a representation decomposes
itself. Which is a radical reminder- entirely in line with the Institute for time-based Media
at the College of Arts in Berlin - that technological images are subject to the function of
time axis manipulation.

"Home video is overwhelmingly used as a 'time shift' phenomenon, moving a par-


ticular broadcast programme to a point where it is convenient to watch it"107; this time
shift (difference) "has to be seen in connection with the changes in the social organisa-
tion of time". "Archiv(ideo)ing and time shifting enhance the availability of time because
with the storage media, data are available anytime"; Beck speaks of time buffers (Zeit-
puffer).108 Let us coin the key word "dynamic memory".

In the early stages of programmed television, the aesthetics of live broadcast as a


technological fact and as aesthetics marked "not only the media difference with film, it
also stood for a convergence with traditional theatre which had quickly been rehabilita-
ted as a medium of art after 1945".109 Both media forms have the risk of (technological)
accidents or, rather, an "aesthetics of unpredictability". And at the same time, the whole
difference lies in the archival prescription as soon as TV switches to REC (when the me-
mory makes for the difference): For in contrast to the unrepeatability of a stage perfor-
mance, the recorded television broadcast of a theatre performance can be reproduced:
Every moment of the live broadcast is fixed on a magnetic tape (today digitally on a hard
disk). The seemingly unrepeatable of a purely theatrical presence is therefore, in techno-
logical space, already prescribed in iteration; hence there is neither original nor source,
along the lines of Jacques Derrida's Grammatologie, but also of Freud and Marx. Rosalind
Krauss writes of Multiples without Originals, a principle based on originality conceived as
repetition, on the original reproduction.110

The live broadcast of the coronation of Elizabeth II, the British Queen, on 2 June
1953 by means of telecine transmission was a relational combination of the difference in
time zone and cache. For the viewer, the qualitative authorisation is not in the technolo-
gical artefact: "From the pictures alone, he will be unable, at least after the introduction
of magnetic recording in 1958/59, to establish whether it isn't a recording after all"111; this
information is given outside the picture, parergonally - a temporised (time-distorted) va-
riant of the concept of the original.

From the transitory character of the television programme resulted the "aura" of ar-
tistic and journalistic products of this medium which is based on the "technological re-
production" of original events and, according to Walter Benjamin's theory, should have
no aura at all. The transience of the broadcast as a live event seemed well-placed to save
the aura of the unique and unrepeatable for television and, above all, for its artistic
forms. This "aura" was lost with the "film character" of the programme and with the
change to electronic recording as the basis for a stock of programmes.112

-168-
Photographic reproductions of works of art accentuate their ubiquitous exhibition
value; "free and easy contemplation is no longer appropriate to them" (485). Reprodu­
ced in magazines, they need signposts, that is, indices:
Now captions became obligatory for the first time. And of course they were of a
very different character from the titles of paintings. Soon the directives [...] would be even
more precise and demanding in cinema, where the interpretation of each individual
image seems determined by the sequence of all preceding ones."3
Here rules the archival regime of registration, though it is not reducible to a logis­
tic operation, as Benjamin explains in Konvolut Ν of his Passagen-Werk. The "historical
index" of a picture does not simply refer to its date, but implies that it is only readable
at a specific moment - the Now of its visibility."4
Benjamin is describing in cultural, but technologically non-specific terms what con­
stitutes, in precise technical terms, the twin temporal operation of the video recorder: on
the one hand the ability to record processes in time, which on the other hand are them­
selves time-based technological processes. In digital space, this situation is radicalised
because discrete entities can easily be stored and are thus available to time axis mani­
pulation."5

The temporality (as essence) of the original is replaced - particularly in the era of
digital text, sound and image storage - the synchrony of media-archival access. Benja­
min describes this "dialectics at a standstill" in electronic terms that should not be un­
derstood metaphorically but as a reference to their technological dispositives: in analogy,
a video image is the place where "what was" and "what is" come together in a flash in
one constellation. This flash is called electricity, and in it, the former original melts away.

Originals Based on Time


What is the significance of the alliance between photography and the concept of the ori­
ginal as opposed to the time-based technological picture? The archive is the dispositive
of photography, in contrast to the technological picture which is not created with a view
to storage, but to transfer / broadcast: "In contrast to film, there is no relationship at all
between photograph and television image." Between (legal-historical) document and
(media-archaeological) monument:

Due to its optical/chemical genesis, the photograph is able to testify to the "past
presence" of a pictured object, but even the most recent photograph never reaches the
present: The time of the photograph is always the time of exposure, already past, which
furthermore only isolates and captures a distinct moment (however long or short) - and
thereby inevitably elevates it to the decisive, significant moment. "6

In the case of the photograph, the auratic hie et nunc in Benjamin's sense is repla­
ced by "a new category of space-time: immediate place, preceding time; [...] So that's how
it was: It allows us to possess a reality from which we are protected" - as by the moni­
tor."7 By contrast, the live broadcast on television has temporal immediacy and local
otherness (an alibi). Looking more closely, and at the live effect beyond the level of hu­
man, ie sluggish, inert perception, the "specimen" of the television image is successively

- 169 -
scanned and is therefore not based on an instantaneous moment (still in photo and film),
but on a time-based process, and hence "transitory by definition" and indeterminable: "it
is in constant withdrawal like the present itself"118 - a perception phenomenon that is fa-
miliar from perception in film (24 images per second) and even from reading - discrete
characters that form into words as they are read.
This is the other side of the coin that came into play with the genre of art perfor-
mance and the so-called "Gesamtkunstwerk" (total work of art): "at best, they can be do-
cumented in video recordings which are, however, only capable of capturing this one, sin-
gular event while the next performance probably looks different already.
Since with the technological media, what is stored can also be transmitted, the
concept of the original becomes radically temporal, discrete - temporary originals. This
is also true for the time machine video recorder, particularly at the lowest level of media
archaeology, because it stores the flow of television signals and thus discrete moments
in time, unique, dot-shaped moments of time; reproduction of (and in) time. In the tech-
nologically induced cultural shift of emphasis from storage to transmission, communica-
tion, once expressed, is always lost in the broadcast:

Where things are still put in writing, this is now seldom done in uninterrupted
ways; instead, the original is transformed, crosses space as an electronic signal and is
only reconstituted when it has been received. The result is something like a remote copy
which lacks essential qualities of the original document.119
How can the recording and replay medium of video be coupled with the discourse
of the original if its essence - contrary to the (seemingly) pure broadcasting medium of
television - consists in the interim storage of images, withholding them? After all, the sto-
rage, or interrupting, medium of the video recorder breaks precisely the flow of pro-
grammes that represents - according to Raymond Williams - "important elements of the
aura of the traditional communicative process of television". Or is this second component
of the aura of television, the live broadcast, a retroeffect of video recordability?

Particularly in the era of canned cinematic and electromagnetic television, live bro-
adcasts have great significance for the aura of the medium as a community-building com-
municative organiser. The time-shifted repetition of a programme that is broadcast live
cancels the temporal synchrony of the event and its transmission by television.120
With this radical individualisation of time, there also returns the discrete moment
in time whose loss Benjamin had lamented in his observations on the aura of the work
of art: "There is no more individual 'Now' that unequivocally refers to a 'Before' and 'Af-
ter'. The subject is no longer located in a point in time but knows only duration."121 Only,
the manner of sensory perception in human collectives is not so much a function of his-
torical change in the social conditions, but rather in the media - which is why there is no
need for historical, but for media-archaeological analysis. The originality of video - and
the storage medium film - lies in the fact that it is able to depict time, and that is, pro-
cesses (unlike painting, which can only condense them in symbols or allegories).

Nam June Paik's video art installations can be traced back to, among others, Les-
sing's Laocoon hypotheses: "Video art imitates nature, not its appearance or material,
but its inward time structure [...], the process of ageing (a particular type of irreversibi-

- 170 -
lity).122 Thus it shares a characteristic with music, but not with painting, that was noted
by Benjamin. He quotes Leonardo:
Painting is superior to music because it does not have to die as soon as it is
brought to life, as is the case with unfortunate music ... Music, which disappears as soon
as it is created, comes second to painting which, with the introduction of varnish, has be­
come everlasting.123
The video work possesses a uniqueness which - in contrast to Benjamin's criterion
for the auratic uniqueness of the original work of art - does not reside in the Here and
Now, but precisely in its temporal duration.
And the "time-structure" is not just a necessary "starting point" as in the organi­
sation of any cinematic movement. It can definitely be seen as the externalised essence
of video works of art.124
So much for the analogue video, in digital, virtual space, however, every single pi­
xel is a discrete event in time, and therefore an original. So, in response to the title I was
given for my talk "The Concept of the Original in the Age of Virtual Media", I would like
to modify this as follows: In virtual media space, only the discrete bit can be regarded as
a temporary original - as a "unique appearance" in the sense of Walter Benjamin, but de­
void of his 'Messianism', and no longer "in the distance" but in time - in the televisio­
n a l , time-based media of transmission: "Translatability, after all, comes about only in
time and for a time, and translation is not a mere transcription".125

ι Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit [second version], in: Ge­
sammelte Schriften, ed. Rolf Tiedemann/Hermann Schweppenhäuser, Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 21978-89,
Vol 1.2 (Abhandlungen) 1978, 431-508 (479).
2 Peter Μ Spangenberg, Lemma Aura, in: Karlheinz Barck u.a. (Hg.), Ästhetische Grundbegriffe. Historisches
Wörterbuch in siebben Bänden, Bd. 1, Stuttgart/Weimar 2000, 400-416 (402).
3 Quoted from: Jochen Hörisch, Ende der Vorstellung. Die Poesie der Medien, Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1999,
i85f.
4 Spangenberg 2000, 403ff.
5 In his review of Susan Buck-Morss, Dialektik des Sehens. Walter Benjamin und das Passagen-Werk, transl. Jo-
achim Schulte, Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 2000, in: zitty (Berlin) 15/2000, 58.
6 Stefan Krempl, Kommt die GEMA-Gebühr für den Computer? (in conversation with Peter Bartodziej),
http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/on/247i/i.html (27 Sept 1998).
7 Kunstwerk, version 2, 475
8 Paul Valery, Die Eroberung der Allgegenwärtigkeit, in: idem, Über Kunst. Essays [La conquete de l'ubiquite,
in: Pieces sur l'art, Paris, no year], Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1959, 46-51 (47).
9 Roger Blumberg, Contribution to the discussion at the Colloquium Excavating the archive: new technologies
of memory, Parsons School of Design, 3 June 2000, New York.
10 Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit, version 1 (prod. 1935),
in: Benjamin, GS, Vol. 1/2 (1978): 438t.
11 Spangenberg 2000, 406
12 Notice from Detlef Borchers in the column Online in: Die Zeit No. 30, 20 July 2000, 26.
13 Tilman Baumgärtel, Besseres Fernsehen, schöne Momente. Ein Gespräch zwischen Klaus vom Bruch und Da-
niel Pflumm, in: Kunstforum International, Vol 148, December 1999-January 2000, 98-105 (101).
14 Hans Ulrich Reck, Erinnern und Macht, Vienna (WUV) 1997, 151.

- I7I -
15 Cf Marc Poster, Des Kapitalismus' linguistische Wende. Die Ware im Zeitalter ihrer digitalen Reproduzierbar-
keit, in: Utz Riese (ed), Kontaktzone Amerika. Literarische Verkehrsformen kultureller Übersetzung, Heidelberg
(Winter) 2000, 317-333 (324 and 329).
16 Jürgen Ostermann, Datenschutz, in: Kurt G AJeserich, Hans Pohl, Georg-Christoph von Unruh (eds), Deutsche
Verwaltungsgeschichte, 6 Vols, Stuttgart (Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt) i983ff, Vol 5 (1987), Chapter XXI "Daten-
schutz", 1114.
17 Daniel C. Dennett, Philosophie des menschlichen Bewußtseins, Hamburg 1994, 271.
18 Cf Jörg Morgenau, Verwerter und Hervorbringer, in: die tageszeitung, 9 September 1998, 19.
19 Publishing Agreement with Routledge (Magazine Rethinking History), version 1998.
20 Cf Uwe Mattheiss, Krieg der Kopierer. Das Urheberrecht in Zeiten weltumspannender Informationsnetze, in:
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 28 September 1998.
21 Philipp Möhring (barrister at the Federal Supreme Court, Karlsruhe), Können technische, insbesondere Com-
puter-Erzeugnisse Werke der Literatur, Musik und Malerei sein?, in: UFITA 50 (1967), 835-843 (837).
22 Benjamin, Kunstwerk [second version] 1936, 474.
23 Cf Stefana Sabin (reviewer) on: Marc Baratin / Christian Jacob (eds), "Le pouvoir des bibliotheques". La me-
moire des livres en Occident, Paris (Albin Michel) 1966, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9 October 1996.
24 Cf Friedrich Kittler, Zeitsprünge. Ein Gespräch mit Birgit Richard, in: Kunstforum International Vol 151 Only-
September 2000), 100-105 (102).
25 Quoted from Wolfgang Kemp, Theorie der Fotografie I. 1839-1912, Munich 1980, 121.
26 CM Stibbe, The Archaeological Evidence, in: idem et at., Lapis Saricanus. Archaetogical, Epigraphical, Lin-
guistic and Historical Aspects of the New Inscription from Satricum, 's-Gravenhage 1980, 21-40 (27).
27 Harun Farocki, Die Wirklichkeit hätte zu beginnen, in the exhibition catalogue: Fotovision. Projekt Fotografie
nach 150 Jahren, Hanover (Sprengel Museum) 1988, 122.
28 Benjamin, 1978, 480.
29 Rosalind E. Krauss, Die Originalität der Avantgarde und andere Mythen der Moderne, hg. v. Herta Wolf, Am-
sterdam/Dresden, 2000, 210.
30 Kathleen Wright, The place of the work of art in the age of technology, in: Martin Heidegger, Critical Reas-
sessments, ed. Christopher Macann, Vol IV: Reverberation, London / New York (Routledge) 1992, 247-266
(255-7). See also Joseph Kockelmans, Heidegger on Art and Art Works, Dordrecht (Nijhoff) 1985.
31 "Die technische Reproduzierbarkeit des Kunstwerks führt zu seiner Ummontierung" (The technological re-
producibility of a work of art leads to a change of its emplacement): Walter Benjamin, GS Vol I 1978: 1039
(preliminary notes to Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit).
32 Quoted from: Angelika Beckmann, Ein "Wegweiser zum Sehen". Walter Heges Photographien von Kunstwer-
ken - Intentionen und Gestaltungsweise, in: idem / Bodo von Dewitz (eds), Dom - Tempel - Skulptur. Archi-
tekturphotographien von Walter Hege, Catalogue handbook Agfa Foto-Historama Cologne 1993,14-22 (20).
33 Jacques Derrida, Grammatologie [*Paris 1967], Frankfurt/Main 1973.
34 Rosalind Ε Krauss, Die fotografischen Bedingungen des Surrealismus, in: idem, 2000: 129-162 (154).
35 Klaus Bartels, Vom Erhabenen zur Simulation. Eine Technikgeschichte der Seele: Optische Medien bis 1900
(Guckkasten, Camera Obscura, Panorama, Fotografie) und der menschliche Innenraum, in: Jochen Hörisch /
Michael Wetzel (eds), Armaturen der Sinne. Literarische und technische Medien 1870 bis 1920, Munich (Fink)
1990, 17-42 (18), with reference to: J Baltrusaitis, Imaginäre Realitäten. Fiktion und Illusion als produktive
Kraft, Cologne 1984, 131.
36 Böttiger, in: Artistisches Kunstblatt No. 22 (1826); quoted from: Otto Magnus von Stackeiberg, Schilderung
seines Lebens und seiner Reisen in Italien und Griechenland, nach Tagebüchern und Briefen dargestellt von
N. von Stackeiberg, Heidelberg 1882, 402f.
37 Rosalind Ε Krauss, Die diskursiven Räume der Fotografie, in: dies. 2000, 175-195 (177).
38 Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, L'espace de Cart, in: idem, Zigzag, Paris (Flammarion) 1981, 41; cf Krauss 2000: 177.
39 Wolfgang Kemp: "The image must first be framed before it can be linked with another", quoted from: Gerald
Mast, On Framing, in: Critical Inquiry 11 (September 1984), 82-109 (82).
40 Krauss 2000, 211.
41 See Brian O'Doherty, Die weisse Zelle und ihre Vorgänger, in: Wolfgang Kemp (ed), Der Betrachter ist im Bild.
Kunstwissenschaft und Rezeptionsästhetik, Cologne 1985.
42 Cf Martin Groß, Ein neuer Buchtyp: das bibliographische Bulletin, in: Ästhetik und Kommunikation, issue
67/68, 18th year (1987), 5.

-I72-
43 Cf W Ε, Mehr Speicher, weniger Museum. Cyberspace als Datendepot und musealer Repräsentationsraum,
forthcoming in: Rosmarie Beier (ed), Geschichtskultur in der Zweiten Moderne. Vom Präsentieren des Ver-
gangenen, Frankfurt/Main / New York (Campus) 2000, 279-297.
44 Hal Foster, The Archive without Museums, in: October ~/j (1996), 97-119, paraphrased by: Wolf 2000: 22.
45 Memoire zum Entwurf für ein Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, 7 September 1987 (typescript).
46 LAB F AC, December 1987 (typescript).
47 LAB F AC, Competition German Museum of History in Berlin, Text 748707 (typescript).
48 Cf Helene Maimann, Das Wahre Bild der Vergangenheit, in: idem (ed), Die ersten 100 Jahre. Österreichische
Sozialdemokratie 1888-1988, exhibition catalogue (Gasometer, Vienna 1989), 13.
49 Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit, in: idem, Gesammelte
Schriften, Vol 1.2, Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1974, 482.
50 Krauss, 2000, 203f.
51 From the manual for the copier MINOLTA EP 450/450 Z.
52 Ursula Frohne, Old Art and New Media: The Contemporary Museum, in: Afterimage. The Journal of Media Arts
and Cultural Criticism, Vol 27 No 2, September / October 1999.
53 Cf Ursula Frohne, Ars oblivionis: Die Kunst des Sammeins im digitalen Zeitalter, in: Gerda Breuer (ed), summa
summarum: Sammeln heute, Frankfurt/Main / Basel (Stroemfeld) 1999, 109-128 (125).
54 Ibid., 117
55 Cf Ulrich Look, Dekonstruktionen des Kunstwerks. Zu Arbeiten von Daniel Buren, Michael Asher und Dan Gra-
ham, dissertation (Ruhr University Bochum), 124t, re Michael Asher's exhibition in the Mies van der Rohe
building Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld.
56 Joan Kristin Bleicher, Symbolwelten des Fernsehens. Anmerkungen zur spezifischen Raumstruktur der Narra-
tionen, in: Sabine Flach / Michael Grisko (ed), Fernsehperspektiven. Aspekte zeitgenössischer Medienkultur,
Munich (KoPäd) 2000, 114-132 (129), with reference to: John Fiske, Television Culture, London / New York
1987, 21.
57 Hanno Rautenberg, Der Kampf um die Lufthoheit [über Helmut Jahns Berliner Sony-Center], in: Die Zeit No 26,
21 June 2000, 45.
58 Krauss 2000: Anmerkungen zum Index: part 1, 249-264 (251).
59 Ulrike Hick, Die optische Apparatur als Wirklichkeitsgarant. Beitrag zur Geschichte der medialen Wahrneh-
mung, in: montage/av 3/1/1994, 83-96 (88), with reference to: Johannes Kepler, Johannes Keplers Gesammelte
Werke (KGW) 2, ed Max Caspar, Munich (Beck) 1938.
60 Maren Plentz, Medienkunst - eine Chronologie, in: Flach / Grisko (eds) 2000: 254-266 (263).
61 Roland Barthes, Rhetorik des Bildes, in: idem, Der entgegenkommende und der stumpfe Sinn, transl Dieter
Hornig, Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1990, 3if; cf Krauss 2000: Anmerkungen zum Index: Part 2, 265-276
(266Ο.
62 Charles Sanders Peirce, Die Kunst des Räsonierens, in: idem, Semiotische Schriften, Vol 1, ed and transl Chris-
tian Kloesel / Helmut Pape, Frankfurt/Main, 1986, 193.
63 Hans Ulrich Reck, Auszug der Bilder? Zum problematischen Verhältnis von Erinnern, Techno-Imagination und
digitalem Bild, in: Norbert Bolz / Cordula Meier / Birgit Richard and Susanne Holschbach (eds), Riskante Bil-
der. Kunst, Literatur, Medien, Munich (Fink) 1996, 103-116 (i09f).
64 Frohne, 1999b, 124
65 David Morley, Television: Not so much a Visual Medium, more a Visual Object, in: Chris Jenks (ed), Visual Cul-
ture, London / New York (Routledge), 170-189 (170).
66 Quoted from: C Darke, Feelings along the body, in: Sight and Sound (December 1993), 26.
67 Sven Drühl, Achim Mohne - Zeitverschiebungen und Beobachtungen zweiter Ordnung, in: Kunstforum Inter-
national Vol 151, July-September 2000, 146-151 (151).
68 Achim Mohne in an interview with Sven Drühl on 30 October 1999 in the Cologne Atelier, quoted ibid.
69 Martin Emele, Der Computer rekonstruiert uns die Zitadelle des Königs Priamos, in Kurt Denzer (Hg.), Cinar-
chea. Sichtweisen zu Archäologie-Film-Kunst, Kiel, 2000, 26-29 C26)·
70 Christiane Deußen, Preface, in: idem and German UNESCO Commission (eds), Geschichte und Erinnerung -
Gedächtnis und Wahrnehmung, Bonn 2000, 3-5 (4).
71 Ottfried Dascher makes a similar point in his contribution to the discussion (Nordrhein-Westfälisches Haupt-
staatsarchiv, Düsseldorf), in: "Ein kulturelles Erbe bewahren und nutzen ...": Vorträge und Diskussionsbei-

-I73-
träge, Symposium zur Film- und Videoarchivierung in NRW, ed Wolf-Rüdiger Schieidgen, Düsseldorf (Nord-
rhein-Westfälisches Hauptstaatsarchiv) 1996, 85.
72 Karlheinz Barck et al, 2000, Preface of the editors, IX.
73 Cf Albert Ε Elsen (ed), Rodin Rediscovered, exhibition catalogue of the National Gallery of Art, Washington,
1981, 256.
74 Albert Elsen, organiser of the exhibition Rodin Rediscovered at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, quo­
ted in: Krauss 2000: 221.
75 Karlheinz Barck et al, 2000, Preface of the editors, IX.
76 Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit, version 1 (1935), in: Ben­
jamin Vol 1/2 (1974): 438t.
JJ Krauss, 2000, 209.
78 Jacques Derrida, Scribble: Writing Power, in: Yale French Studies 58 (1977), 146t.
79 Barbara Johnson, Erasing Panama: Mallarme and the Text of History, in: A world of difference, Baltimore/Lon­
don 1989, 67.
80 Agentur Bilwet, Medien-Archiv (1992), transl G Boer (Bensheim / Düsseldorf 1993), 27; cf Spangenberg 2000:
410.
81 Roland Barthes, S/Z [1970], transl Jürgen Hoch, Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1976, 59.
82 jane Austen, Northanger Abbey [1818], German: Die Abtei von Northanger, transl Christiane Agricola, Zürich
(Diogenes) 1996, i24ff; cf Krauss 2000: 211.
83 Quoted from: Anton Kaes, History and Film, in: History & Memory 2, No 1 (autumn 1990), 121.
84 Benjamin, Kunstwerk, version 2: 481: my emphasis
85 Samuel Weber, Virtualität der Medien, in: Sigrid Schade / Christoph Tholen (eds), Konfigurationen. Zwischen
Kunst und Medien, Munich (Fink) 1999, 35-49.
86 Peter Janich, Die Naturalisierung der Information, Stuttgart (Steiner) 1999, 44f.
87 Walter Benjamin, GS, Vol 4, Part 1: Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers, Preface to: Charles Baudelaire, Tableaux pa-
risiens, Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1972, 9-21 (10).
88 Claude Ε Shannon / Warren Weaver, Mathematische Grundlagen der Informationstheorie, Munich (Olden-
bourg) 1976 [*i949]-
89 Christopher Fynsk, The Claims of History, in: diacritics 22 (autumn/winter 1992), 115-126 (120).
90 Siegfried Zielinski, Audiovisuelle Zeitmaschine. Thesen zur Kulturtechnik des Videorekorders, in: idem (ed),
Video -Apparat / Medium, Kunst, Kultur. Ein internationaler Reader, Frankfurt/Main et al (Lang) 1992, 91-114
(91)·
91 Jutta Schenk-Sorge, Sugimoto: Portraits, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, March-May 2000, in: Kunstforum Inter­
national, Vol 151 (July-September 2000), 3i4f (315).
92 Krystian Woznicki, Wenn Videokunst der Malerei huldigt, in: Berliner Zeitung, 19 May 1999.
93 Sigrid Schade, Zur verdrängten Medialität der Kunst, in: idem / Christoph Tholen (eds), Konfigurationen. Zwi-
schen Kunst und Medien, Munich (Fink) 1999, 269-291 (279).
94 For a negative reply, cf Slavko Kacunko, Feed Back und Feed Forth, in: Catalogue Videofestival Bochum 2000,
46f.
95 After a term coined by Meredith Mendelsohn, Vidiocy Prevails, in: ArtNet Magazine 1999.
96 Along these lines Irmela Schneider at the panel discussion "Video in der Medienkunst" in the context of the
Tenth International Bochum Video Festival, 24-27 May 2000.
97 Andreas Menn, Text supplement (Cologne, July 2000) for his digital video Workout (1999), presented in the
context of the seminar Ikonologie der Energie, Media College of Arts, Cologne, winter semester.
98 Herta Wolf, in: Krauss, 2000, 15
99 "Begriff und Methode der Archäologie", in: Handbuch der Archäologie im Rahmen des Handbuchs der Alter-
tumswissenschaft, ed W Otto, Vol I, Introduction: Munich (Beck) 1939, 184-198 (191t).
100 Cf. Spangenberg 2000: 407.
101 Benjamin: Charles Baudelaire, in: Benjamin Bd 1/2 (1974): 646f.
102 Claudia Reiche, Pixel. Erfahrungen mit den Bildelementen, in: Frauen in der Literaturwissenschaft. Circular 48
(August 1996), themed issue Science & Fiction, 59-64 (59).

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103 Andreas Menn, Text supplement (Cologne, July 2000) to his digital video Workout (1999), presented in the
context of the seminar Ikonologie der Energie, Media College of Arts, Cologne, winter semester 1998/99.
104 Klaus Kreimeier, Fingierter Dokumentarfilm und Strategien des Authentischen, in: Kay Hoffmann (ed), Trau-
Schau-Wem. Digitalisierung und dokumentarische Form, Constance (UVK Medien) 1997, 29-46 (44).
105 "An emulator is a program that makes it possible to run software on a computer that was originally meant
for a totally different type of computer. [...] Furthermore, entire new processors can be emulated as software
to test their functions. [...] For instance, they may reproduce old operating systems that have long been for-
gotten in order to enable ancient software to run at all on modern computers." Detlef Borchers, Der simu-
lierte Computer, in: Die Zeit, 18 February 1999, 35.
106 Dan Graham, Video - Architecture - Television, ed Benjamin Buchloh, Halifax and New York 1979, 11; cf Sa-
bine Flach, "TV as a fire-place". Dan Grahams Medienarbeiten als gesellschaftliche Analyse, in: idem / Grisko
(eds) 2000: 230-253 (234ff).
107 John Ellis, Visible Fictions. Cinema - Television - Video, revised ed, London / New York (Routledge) 1992,112.
108 Klaus Beck, Medien und die soziale Konstruktion von Zeit. Über die Vermittlung von gesellschaftlicher Zeit-
ordnung und sozialem Zeitbewußtsein, Opladen (Westdeutscher Verlag) 1994, 306.
109 Peter Seibert / Sandra Nuy, Live is Live is Live. Vom Theater und seiner Inszenierung im Fernsehen, in: Flach
/ Grisko (eds) 2000: 200-212 (200).
110 See Wolf 2000: 21, referring to: Rosalind E Krauss, Your Irreplaceable You, in: Retaining the Original, Multi-
ple Originals, Copies and Reproductions, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts Symposium Papers VII,
National gallery of Washington, Hanover, New England / London (UP of New England) 1989, 141-159 (154).
111 Knut Hickethier, Fernsehen, Modernisierung und kultureller Wandel, in: Flach / Grisko (eds) 2000: 18-36 (32).
112 Peter Hoff, Schwierigkeiten, Fernsehgeschichte zu schreiben, in: Flach / Grisko (eds) 2000: 37-57 (41).
113 Benjamin 1978, 485.
114 Walter Benjamin, GS, Vol 5 (Das Passagen-Werk), Part 1: Ν 2a, 6 (Aufzeichnungen und Materialien), Frank­
furt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1982, 577.
115 See Friedrich Kittler, Fiktion und Simulation, in: Aisthesis. Wahrnehmung heute oder Perspektiven einer an­
deren Ästhetik. Essays, eds Karlheinz Barck, Peter Gente, Heidi Paris and Stefan Richter, Leipzig (Reclam)
1990, 196-213 (204t).
116 Susanne Holschbach, TV-Stillgestellt: Fotografische Analysen gegenwärtiger Fernsehkultur, in: Flach / Grisko
(eds) 2000: 213-229 (215).
117 Barthes 1990: 39.
118 Holschbach, 2000, 215.
119 Volker Kahl, Interrelation und Disparität. Probleme eines Archivs der Künste, in : Archivistica docet: Beiträge
zur Archivwissenschaft und ihres intersisziplinären Umfelds, hg. v. Friedrich Beck, Potsdam, 1999, 245-258
(2549
120 Zur Geschichte des Videorecorders, 1986, 326t.
121 Heinrich Popitz et al, Technik und Industriearbeit, quoted from Siegfried Zielinski, Zur Geschichte des Video-
recorders, Berlin (Wissenschaftsverlag Spiess) 1986, 329.
122 Quoted from Zielinski 1992: 91-114 (96).
123 Leonardo da Vinci, Frammenti letterarii e filosofici, quoted from Fernand Baldensperger, Le raffermissement
des techniques dans la litterature occidental de 1840, in: Revue de Litterature Comparee, XVII, Paris 1935, 79
(Note 1), quoted from: Benjamin 1978: 498.
124 Zielinski 1992: 96, with reference to: Wulf Herzogenrath, Videokunst. Ein neues Medium - aber kein neuer
Stil, in: idem (ed), Videokunst in Deutschland 1963-1982. Eine Dokumentation des Kulturkreises im Bundes-
verband der Deutschen Industrie, Stuttgart, no year [1982], 15.
125 Fynsk 1992, i23ff.

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Discussions The Notion of the Originär

Axel Wirths: I would like to thank Michael Wenzke for giving an account from real life. I
found the talk very interesting, it is good to know that there is someone able to speak
so clearly and plainly about such a complex subject because that's the way he actually
treats it. I also found Wolfgang Ernst's lecture very interesting, and the way he sought
first to dismantle the notion of the original and then to rebuild it. I am curator for media
art and director of 235 media, distributors and agency for media art. Since 1982, we have
developed an active distribution structure of 800 tapes and an archive of around 3000
works. In addition, we represent a number of artists with installations and are actively
participating in the realisation of new productions.

Siegfried Zielinski: Until a few days ago, I was vice-chancellor of the Art College for
Media in Cologne, now I am once more travelling in the cause of an-archeology of the
media, my actual field of work. The first video recorder I could use in practice was a 1963
"Philips recorder". Under the oscilloscope, you could see the fine structure of the signals
Wolfgang Ernst was talking about.

Miklos Peternäk: I teach in Budapest at the media department of the College of Art
and am director of C3, Centre for Culture and Communication in Budapest.
Axel Wirths: I will start by summing up the various viewpoints. Eventually, we will
no doubt have to cobble together the three subject areas under discussion today. It has
become clear today that with the growing structural broadening of media art, i.e. from vi-
deo art to media art, the notion of the original is increasingly falling apart and this art is
becoming more process-like. The art is turning ever more immaterial and at the same
time more process-like. I see this also in connection with the role of the artist, the func-
tion of the artist, i.e. the artist is less and less this multitalented artist, but offers instead
a system of tools and interfaces controlled by algorithms or software programs. Works
that show this process-like structure are Bill Seaman's communication artworks and also
the large body of works on the Internet. So the notion of the original has to be viewed
in its function with reference to the role of the artist, and then the whole idea of the ar-
tistic work will change accordingly. Here, we are scratching at real manifestations of art
history. If the idea of the work of art is reduced to a database that has been compiled
and designed and in parts freshly conceived by the artist, and with a specific interface,
then the actual question of the notion of the work of art and of originality may well be-
come obsolete. In this context, I would like to ask Siegfried Zielinski whether he would
not agree that in the era of digital reproducibility, the notion of the original has become
obsolete. Has it not plainly become dated, belonging to a notion of art that has little in
common with the electronic media?

Siegfried Zielinski: No, I think that the opposite is true. Since it is clearly so hard
to part from the original, why not simply turn it round and say, we have an infinite num-
ber of originals, isn't that much better. I think that is the heart of the matter. Everything
we have discussed on various levels - and in conclusion, Wolfgang Ernst put it in a nut-
shell with the term "temporary original" - amounts to the fact that these new processes
and works can be originals only for a very brief moment. What makes them original is a

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particular performance or, to go back to Jochen Gerz's phrase, a particular interpretative
reproduction. We have to make every effort to bring this kind of originality into play in a
productive way and to reflect on what that means. I would like to bring a truly important
point of an ideological, philosophical nature up for discussion. The fine arts in the wider
sense were much too late in discovering the problem of originality. Physicists, who might
be said to be most closely involved with material reality, have long departed from one
single reality. At least since the fifties - as Everett's most famous text on the "many
worlds", the many worlds that exist, has shown. For the physicist, there isn't just one ori-
ginal world. Only fine artists, for reasons closely linked with the market, with history and
conservative art historians and critics, still believe in this one world that is to be measu-
red against an objective measuring stick. To me, that seems to be the crux of the whole
story. One also has to keep in mind that few of the artists working with the media come
from the tradition of fine or sculptural arts, but are much more likely to come from per-
formance, from the performing arts and from music, where they are much more involved
with time-based processes and art forms. I consider that a very important point, I find
those artists the most original that are working in this area of art with, or through, the
media. These are the artists that come from such a background and not those that did
some kind of'expanded painting' or 'expanded sculpturing'. To me, they are the most bo-
ring ones, but of course they are in good hands in the museum.

Axel Wirths: Thank you, Siegfried Zielinski, that was an interesting detour into per-
formance that after all goes hand in hand with the idea of the original of the moment.
Though that is a very poetic definition of the notion of the original, and I would there-
fore rather not use it. One could also say, okay, there are a hundred thousand parallel
universes that are all original. Perhaps that would be the right thing, particularly since we
have learnt today that it very much depends on what hardware is being used, what space
is available, and on the training of the technicians and the staff who will operate the
equipment.

Wolfgang Ernst: There is a fundamental difference between analogue pictorial me-


dia and digital space. Every point in the analogue picture still has the character of an in-
dex in the sense that it is still related to photography. It refers to a point of light in the
exterior world, which it represents. Every electronic image still has some kind of tangen-
tial contact with the sources of light outside the medium; in digital space or in virtual
space, on the other hand, there are things that exist nowhere else but in electronic space.
After all, that is what distinguishes the virtual concept from other concepts, so a point
on a radar image, for instance, still has tactile contact with the exterior world, but in di-
gital space, a pixel is nothing but pure calculation. The moment things consist of nothing
but pure calculation, they have lost that character and therefore their contact with the
physical world. And that is where I would draw the line between what can be an original
and what no longer is an original.

George Legrady: Let me contribute some anecdotes regarding the question of the
original from the perspective of the artist or the producer. First of all, I would like to
stress that in the production of digital media works of art, it is the job of programming
that is the creative act. Furthermore, this component of production, which we normally
view as rather technical, i.e. the job of programming, shapes the final product and gui-
des it in a particular direction. So the authorship is shared between artist and technici-

-177-
ans working together on the production and design. When I create a work of art, then
there are a number of variations, and it may be version 26 that I actually sell, or it may
be version 27. The original, in the end, is the work that I present to the public, and the
others are versions I keep for myself. Also, many of the works are a product of the limi-
tations of the medium, the periods of development in the media are changing very fast,
and it has happened to me that works I produced seven years ago no longer function in
the same way with the new equipment. The conventions, the production conditions have
changed. If I wanted to present something in fifteen years' time that I produced seven
years ago, I would probably have to redo the whole project.

Reinhold Mißelbeck: When we decided to debate the notion of the original in this
forum, we were above all interested to explore what a museum is actually integrating into
its collection when it acquires a work of art. Are we buying something material or an idea,
is it just an artistic concept that, in view of the rapid technical progress mentioned by
George Legrady, has to be forced into ever new technological forms, into a technological
corset in order to stand out, to become visible? Or are we actually acquiring an object in
the traditional sense, just like buying a sculpture or a painting, where the original is clo-
sely linked with its materiality? If I understood Wolfgang Ernst correctly and follow his de-
finition that there is that point of light also in the digital film, and that the numerous fli-
ckering points of light define the original, then I have to conclude that according to this
definition, the original is still bound up with the object. A point of light exists where you
have something producing that point of light, so it depends on electricity, technology,
and a machine. This definition of originality is no doubt still tied to materiality, and if I
understood Michael Wenzke correctly, insurances are no longer able to cover non-existing
materiality. Nor can the pure concept floating on the Internet any longer be insured. I
have to part with the idea of the concept that is acquired by the museum and that is
open to analogue and digital presentation, for various forms and types of copies. In-
stead, I would have to pursue the idea that in video art, too, the notion of the original
is closely bound up with the film, with material things. So in the extreme case, the first
tape I bought would be the original, even if I could never play it again. Is that correct?

Axel Wirths: We have to be careful with the terminology. On the one hand, we are
talking of video art, of collecting and archiving videotapes. Wolfgang Ernst's definition is
of interest here, that is, the change from the analogue to the digital medium. The instal-
lation, by contrast, provides a very interesting aspect. I refer once more to the example
of Bruce Nauman. For the installation, there is indeed only a building plan in the shape
of a drawing. The artist does not care about how camera and monitor are used. Of course
there are artists who view the technical equipment as an aesthetic element of the instal-
lation or sculpture.

Siegfried Zielinski: A short comment on Reinhold Mißelbeck: this question of time


does help a little with the definition. You buy a work or a process in a certain condition,
and you have got to stand by that. What we have seen here from Jochen Gerz has very
little to do with the way he presented it in 1972. You buy something in a particular state,
and now - and that is the qualitative issue - how you handle the question of restoration
depends very much on the process or the object. If I am dealing with a sculptural work,
for instance a work by Fabrizio Plessi or a later work by Nam June Paik that he built from
junked television sets, then the crucial point is not that there is still something flickering

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somewhere. It is a sculpture signed by the artist. The situation is entirely different in the
case of a work by David Larcher that is currently in its eighth version. We have had the
fourth version on show in Berlin since 1983, i.e. over a period of 17 years. There we have
a particular state on day X. We have to make a contractual agreement with the artist set-
ting down what we wish to show and promising an adequate presentation. Here, the tem-
poral dimension is of great significance and we have to tackle it robustly. Or take an even
more complex example so we know what we are talking about, Yohero Kabaguchi's work
'Morpho Genesis' which we will show in Bonn. This work has been changing continually
since 1983. It is automatic and has no fixed state unless we stop it at a particular point.
We are interested in day X, and that is what we wish to put on show. The work is on-go-
ing, it will keep developing year after year.

Reinhold Mißelbeck: I do not see any problem with video sculptures; it is the vi-
deo art films that are problematic. In my view, the U-matic tape that is converted into Be-
tacam and then exists in digitised form does raise the question of the original. Is the last
Betacam copy still an original, or was it the first? In the end, they are all copies even if
they are of a better quality. That is the issue that should be discussed, the point where
the problems of definition arise.

Axel Wirths: It is not the first time that videotapes were discussed. As far as I can
remember, we have come to the conclusion more than once that even the master tape is
no original. If you can speak of an original at all in this context, then it must be the raw
material that served in the production of the master tape. But even the master tape is
second generation. At any rate, I refuse to speak of an original in this context, and I
would suggest, therefore, that we should try to develop strategies as to how we might
come close to this original form. It seems legitimate to me to proceed quite radically and
to ask whether it makes sense at all to restore and preserve these works. Perhaps one
should simply allow them to disintegrate.

Miklos Peternäk: Here we are faced with the difficulties of terminology: original/ori-
ginality. I see two aspects, one, that the opposite of the original is not the copy, but the
fake, the non-original. Second, it is a question of quality, value and identity. In this con-
text, quality is what was accepted and intended by the artist. Identity denotes a particu-
lar identity and not another, i.e. some sort of identification. Incidentally, we have heard
two very interesting terms today in this context: duplicate and original copy. I think they
are the same. Third, the value of the work of art is in turn to do with the market. With
video and time-based media, we are aware that they are transitory media. From the start,
video was such a medium in transition from black and white, open reel. Now it is digital,
and that means that the works have to be transferred to a different medium at least every
seven or ten years. Now we are in the kind of transition phase where stored data are
transferred onto servers and computers. As yet there are no standards, but it is already
clear that the analogue era of the videotape is about to end. That is completely normal,
we are able to analyse and develop strategies as to how we will survive those ten, fif-
teen years until new standards have been established in the digital world. Just imagine
how this happened in film, think back to the black and white films of the twenties and
thirties, or films of 1910. Those works have completely disappeared because the film ma-
terial has disappeared. The speed has changed, we are no longer able to watch these
films the way they were shown in those days. Today, all we can find is reproductions of

-179-
these films. We can think about them, we can try to develop strategies, but we have to
accept the fact.
Wolfgang Ernst: Let me try once more to clarify the difference between originals
that are defined by the process of ageing, i.e. by a temporal process, and the trace-like
notion of the original where something exists only for a fraction of time. On the one
hand, there is a terrible hardware-oblivion, something like an old tape of Jochen Gerz. If
we play it today and see these terribly faint images, then the tape possesses the struc-
ture of ageing that is a feature of this particular tape. No other tape, no digital compu-
ter program could ever simulate the ageing process, the process of disintegration, the
process of integration of these images, in the same way. That fulfils all the criteria of Ben-
jamin's classical notion of the original. The definition by Alois Riegl, who around the year
1900 described the value of art objects over time, can also be applied to the analogue
videotape. As long as something can decay, time is working on it, and that is the unmis-
takeable process etched into a work that can be neither multiplied nor imitated. And for
that long we are indeed dealing with an idea of the original that is bound up with the
material, with the physical. But the moment an image is written as a program, it is no
longer subject to this temporal process of decay and ageing. If in the world of antiquity,
a Greek geometer or mathematician declares: '2+2=4', then that is a formula, so to
speak, that still exists today without ageing process, without a trace of change over time.
And the images generated in digital space only exist because they have been pro-
grammed, they exist in a numerical space, in a mathematical, cybernetic numerical space
that even internally is no longer subject to an ageing process, but can only appear- and
there is the shift - when we plant it into hardware. The original is present virtually or la-
tently, but it becomes visible only when it is attached to hardware, which in turn changes
over time. That's where I see the difference to the classical original. Every Greek statue
exists in space, whilst the latent original in digital space which appears only for an instant
each time it is called up, will then disappear again.

Axel Wirths: But that would mean - to return once more to Reinhold Mißelbeck -
that museums and collections are indeed faced with a problem. And of course we have
come together here in order to work out a solution to this problem. I would like to sug-
gest once more that we organise a similar meeting to discuss issues of restoration and
adequate forms of storage. In this debate, I would like to see included the step from the
analogue to the digital mentioned by Wolfgang Ernst since the moment we restore a work
- just as the work of Jochen Gerz was restored - the point of restoration must be viewed
as the end of the obsolete notion of the original and a status quo has to be defined of
the idea of the original in the nineties or the year 2000, which ten years later will have
changed again.

Michael Wenzke presented several pragmatic and practical positions. While he is


talking more about installations and sculptures, I think his definitions are quite interes-
ting. He speaks of originality and rarity with regard to the insurance of sculptures and
media installations. In practice, in my experience, the artist possesses three copies plus
an artist-proof, so that when all three works have been sold, he can still show one, which
he is not allowed to sell. That ensures the rarity of the work. In this context, he also
spoke about restoration, and I was surprised to hear that an insurance would define the

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restoration of an installation, i.e. the replacement of individual components of the in-
stallation, as a reduction in value.
Michael Wenzke: Of course, the problem is to assess the reduction in value. We
have to gauge or evaluate the degree of interference with the originality of the artistic
substance. The viewpoint is essentially material, I did say that, and that is simply at the
heart of the insurance concept. That may be quite banal, but it is the reality and every-
day business of insurances. We do consult curators, restorers and possibly valuators.

Axel Wirths: Are there any attempts in the collaboration with museums and collec-
tors to limit media installations in principle to editions of three to five works?
Michael Wenzke: No, that is defined by the artist. Of course we are all aware that
the market price rises with the rarity of the work.
Marcel Schwierin: I would like to return once more to the notion of the original and
its definition. We have heard that we have the algorithm that generates an image in the
digital field. What does it mean when an image comes into being? After all, it does not
appear non-intentionally, but intentionally. So the image has a particular association with
an intention at a particular point in time. I won't go into the reconstruction of the author
now, but this is what happens, and so I have a particular output that resurfaces in the
context of the museum or the exhibition. And therefore I once again have a framework
for originality that goes far beyond this whole issue. Essentially, the question is whether
this picture point is the true original since ultimately it cannot be separated from the in-
tention.

Wolfgang Ernst: This is under discussion at the moment, and in America, algorithms
and mathematical formulas themselves have actually been put under copyright. The mo-
ment that happens, the classical notion of the author, including image-generating pro-
grams, would be restored. If we accept the model that even mathematical formulae that
generate images and are under copyright, then the public knowledge we produce, e.g. at
universities, would be in danger. Anybody can quote the debate we are conducting here.
Fortunately, not every word we are uttering here is spoken under copyright. Even the fact
that our contributions are being recorded does not pose a problem for us at the moment.
We have to be careful what we subject to copyright. One hypothetical note on the struc-
ture: the pixel in an image is the actual original. But de facto, I can only realise what I
am able to describe, otherwise it does not exist. Nor can I reconstruct the remaining re-
lations.

Axel Wirths: But the issue of the notion of the original is still relevant in this con-
text. I would like to refer to Siegfried Zielinski's contribution that the original is repres-
ented by the moment of broadcasting in a temporal continuum. In this context, I would
also like to touch on another aspect, namely interactive installations. Bill Seaman's work
"The World Generator", for instance, where he offers an endless number of tools; or
George Legrady's work which we saw this morning. That is, the artist increasingly with-
draws as the author of the original and basically only offers a working platform where the
visitor can create his own original. I think it is very interesting that in some areas - that
is not an isolated case - the artist is withdrawing more and more from his authorship,
enabling the public to get into the work, to change it and even to create his own original

- l8l-
in that particular temporal continuum. In the context of the development of media art, I
would like to put this aspect up for discussion.
Siegfried Zielinski: My answer to that is twofold: First, it is often the second-rate ar-
tists that operate in this way. Only, people don't dare talk about it, but they simply de-
legate to the viewers what they can't do themselves, and rely on a delirium of creativity.
Second, in the case of works where this is done genuinely and to high artistic standards,
we are indeed dealing with a development towards a very temporal, performing art that
is constantly recreated by the participants. Processes, then, that we are very familiar with
from improvised jazz, from free jazz. There is a number of participants constantly perfor-
ming something new, and there is a certain agreed basic structure. In every other aspect,
the performance is free. I think artworks will develop in this direction, and that means
that originality will have to be redefined again and again; and I am saying quite delibe-
rately that it is 'originality', not 'the original' that will have to be redefined.

Axel Wirths: There is one topic we have so far not yet examined in detail, the area
of art on the Internet. I would like to ask Bärbel Otterbeck how the Wolfsburg Museum
is handling that, and the question also goes to Christine van Assche. Is that still an art-
form that one should show in a museum? And is it an artform that should be preserved
there - and that is the job of the museum - in some way that may be questionable?

Bärbel Otterbeck: I think the museum has an obligation towards the artist who de-
als with Net Art. We have to integrate Net Art in some form independent of any material
interests. In my work, I try to distance myself more and more from the material viewpoint.
I am not sure at the moment in what form, there has been input as early as five years
ago, there is something in store for us, and we have to face up to it. As yet, I don't know
myself exactly how I will deal with this art form. But I am sure that I will do so and think
it is important that Net Art is allowed into the museum.

Could I ask Michael Wenzke once more how the reduction in value which is closely
linked to the material, actually works. When I make a copy of a video tape on a digital
medium - a principally restorative measure to preserve the work - does that constitute
a reduction in value?
Rudolf Frieling: May I add to this. Michael Wenzke earlier quoted Nam June Paik
who says there are, as it were, two objects: an original and a 'better quality copy'. Ac-
cording to this definition, however, the 'better quality copy' is of less value.
Michael Wenzke: According to the market definition that is true. Of course, one has
to ask what is meant in this context by 'better'. From the viewpoint of the market, the
copy is indeed less valuable, the object of less value. On the question of reduction in va-
lue I would comment that we have relatively little experience with claims, so there are
simply no rules of thumb for such cases.

Reinhold Mißelbeck: My comment refers to the editions, and to the question of the
number of copies and the original. Of course, we know this distinction from other media
such as photography where it is common practice to produce a much higher number of
copies than in video art. In photography, you have editions of up to 20 copies, yet pri-
ces remain high, but nevertheless it is usual even with these editions to speak of origi-
nals. It is not customary to describe as the original only the concept of the artist, the ba-

- 182 -
sis from which he develops his work, and to consider everything else a copy. I think the
approach to video art should be no different, so there should not just be copies on the
market but no original, with the artist himself keeping the original. If an artist produces
an edition and the buyer pays, say, $40-50,000 for a work by Bill Viola or William Ken-
tridge, then he has acquired an original, even if it exists in three copies.
Axel Wirths: I would agree to that. It is standard practice, and the buyer takes it for
granted that he has acquired an original. But in theory it could also be viewed differently,
and I think Wolfgang Ernst's talk made that point.
Lysiane Lechot-Hirt: Let me add something regarding Internet projects. In our ex-
perience, the URL, the Internet address, is the original. There are artists who own, and
want to keep, their URL as a basic artistic gesture.
Wolfgang Ernst: But of course the URL is not an object, and we could ask whether
the museum is the right place for collecting Net Art. If have no problem with the collec-
tions of video art, they are in good hands in the museum. But with Internet art, we need
another type of organisation. I am thinking of a topological structure rather than a spa-
tial one.
Axel Wirths: The question is whether the museum in its present form, as we know
it, is an adequate place for the presentation and collection of Net Art, a process art. I re-
fer you to the discussions we had in the last few years and that, oddly, have ceased.
There was a series of symposia and congresses on the topic of the "Museum of the 21 s t
Century". We are all in crisis, architecture does not function, and all these voices have fal-
len silent. We really do need a new type of place for presentation, we need new strate-
gies, starting with architecture. Rudolf Frieling could tell tales from his own experience
about the difficulties of working in the remodelled building of the ZKM. When I look at
the new museums such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or the Hamburg Kunst-
halle, I see the classical museum bunker of the 19™ century. These buildings were con-
structed to hang pictures on the wall. I doubt whether the museum is the right place to
show Internet Art which itself still has great problems to get out of this monitor box.

Wolfgang Ernst: For Internet Art, we don't need the museum, any monitor is suffi-
cient to present Internet Art.
Marcel Schwierin: I think it is a matter of time. At the moment, we do need the mu-
seum for this. But HTML in which Internet Art is currently written will probably be obso-
lete in a few years. Then nobody will know any more how that functioned at all, and
Internet Art will have to be made more like an object again. Then we will also have to re-
discuss the notion of the original because artists will once again limit their works. There
will be only three computers that will represent their Internet Art in HTLM4, the format
that will be current then, and all others would not be allowed to make a copy. That com-
puter would no longer be linked to a net, because the net would already be working with
totally different standards. Whatever the institution that will store this Internet Art, it will
be a kind of museum.

Reinhold Mißelbeck: It is true that the museum reforms stipulated in the seventies
have not fulfilled expectations, because they did not realise the demands made in the-
ory. The first house that actually realised this kind of reform was our neighbour, the Ro-

- 183 -
man-Germanic Museum, which developed the stroll through the museum, as it were, af-
ter the destruction of the temples. The last one probably is the Museum Ludwig, then
museums were once again built in the classical style. There are reasons for this: those
working in the museum had to see that visitors had largely lost their respect of art, and
there was a huge increase in damages. So new spaces were built whose atmosphere
demanded respect for the arts since there was no longer sufficient capability for conser-
vation and supervision. These are only two of the reasons that led to a renaissance of
classical museums in the traditional style.

Axel Wirths: But that would not contradict a search for an earnest and meaningful
art form of the new communication structure and the new form of presentation. It cannot
be realised within the existing buildings, however, from supervision to the lack of tech-
nological know-how. I know what I'm talking about, I have tried, and realised, that for six
years at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle in Bonn.
Reinhold Mißelbeck: I would like to thank all of you who have come here and gave
talks and participated in this debate. We have discussed important problems, and though
we certainly could not solve them, we may have come a little closer to a solution. In this
context, may I call your attention to the Video-Encyclopedia, a project that we are pro-
ducing jointly with the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Centre pour I'lmage Contem-
poraine St Gervais Geneve. This collaboration not only aims to work out a video ency-
clopedia, but a platform for regular meetings and debates. We meet twice a year for an
exchange, and I would like to invite more institutions to join this circle. The broader the
dialogue, the sooner we will arrive at authoritative decisions and agreements. Together,
we will be able to develop standards that are valid and binding for many.

- 184-
Jochen Gerz

Ich habe meinen kurzen Vortrag „Spurlose Kunst?" genannt. Mit diesem Titel möchte ich
darauf hinweisen, dass Künstler, die mit Video gearbeitet haben, nicht Ende der 6oer
Jahre und auch nicht später, in den 70er Jahren - dem Problem der Haltbarkeit von Video
gleichgültig begegnet wären. Andererseits sieht es jedoch so aus, als ob eine gewisse
Qualität der bewußten und gesuchten Auseinandersetzung mit der Dauerhaftigkeit um-
geschlagen wäre in einen etwas freudlosen Umgang der Museen und Institutionen mit
diesen undankbaren Objekten. Einige Museen wurden Anfang der 70er Jahre durch die
Auseinandersetzung mit diesem Medium, so überraschend es klingt, von einem fast ju-
gendlichen Elan ergriffen - es gab damals noch kaum hardware, es gab noch nicht viele
Apparate, aber es gab schon Symposien, die aus heutiger Sicht einen klassischen, fast
zeitlosen Charakter haben. Wie heute fragt man sich (wenn auch aus einem anderem
Grund), wozu sie dienen: gab oder gibt es eine Dringlichkeit für die Probleme, die das
Medium Video stellt? War es zu früh und ist es zu spät heute, oder ist es heute immer
noch zu früh? Was ist der Grund für diese Veranstaltungen auf denen man sich Fragen
stellt, um sie nicht zu beantworten? - Die inhaltliche Auseinandersetzung mit dem Me-
dium setzte sich vor 30 Jahren wie auch heute mit der scheinbar technischen Frage der
Haltbarkeit auseinander. Und heute wie damals scheint es ein ungeschriebenes Gesetz
der Innung Kunst, dass gute Kunst von Dauer ist.

Die technische Bedingung des Mediums führte zur Kritik dieser „Wahrheit" und wie
viele Wahrheiten, die damals befragt wurden, hat auch sie ihre Befragung überlebt. Zu
erwähnen ist aber, dass die Kritik überlebte und dass seither beide, Wahrheit und Kritik
der Wahrheit, koexistieren. Zudem ist das Video unterdessen abgelöst worden von digi-
talen Bild- und Tonträgern (CD, DVD etc.), die haltbarer sind. So dass inzwischen auch die
Emphase, mit der theoretische Fragen oft einherkommen, nicht mehr angesagt ist.

Was bedeutet es, ein Video anzusehen im Vergleich zur Betrachtung einer Skulptur
von Lehmbruck? Was ist-das Gemeinsame bei der Betrachtung unterschiedlicher Kunst-
werke? Wahrscheinlich/der Faktor ZeitJHier ist die Zeitder Betrachtung meine eigene Sa-
che, dort ist sie objel^^-aiTTncTTvon etwas sprechenTdäs ich nicht gesehen habe? Im
Durchschnitt verbrachten Museumsbesucher in den frühen 90er Jahren in den USA zwei
Sekunden vor einem Bild. Letztendlich ist das neue Medium ein, vor allem unkommer-
zielles Mittel Kunst zu machen, auszustellen und zu betrachten. So gesehen, ist Video
fast ein Rückschritt hinter die Zeit der Renaissance, in Zeiten, als Kunst etwas vollkom-
men anderes bedeutete als heute.

Eigenartig aber ist, dass seither in Bezug auf die Rezeptionsgeschichte von Video-
kunst nichts passiert ist. Es gibt eine Toleranz. Diese überträgt sich manchmal in Kurato-
renposten. Es gibt ein Dulden (es ist, wie es ist), aber man kann nicht sagen, dass in
irgendeiner Form - ästhethisch, rezeptorisch oder theoretisch - etwas geschehen sei. Sie,
die Videokunst gehört eben dazu, und ich glaube, in diesem Zusammenhang ist auch das
hier im Symposium vorgestellte Beispiel des Vereins „Video Les Beaux Jours" interessant.
Die Aktivität dieses Vereins gründet sich darauf, dass ein oder mehrere Museen „out-

- 2 8 -
wählen treffen. Die haben die Freiheit arbiträr willkürlich zu sammeln. Ein Archiv hat das
nicht. Deswegen ist das einzige Archiv mit dem wir konfrontiert werden, das Gesetz der
hardware. Da haben wir nämlich in der Tat keine Verhandlungsmöglichkeiten. An die müs-
sen wir uns halten, an die technologischen Gesetze der hardware. Aber die Sammlungen,
die die Videomuseen etwa darstellen, haben mit dem Wort Archiv oder auch mit der Insti-
tution Archiv und auch mit dem Archiv im Unterschied zu anderen Formen, nichts zu tun.
Deswegen möchte ich dafür plädieren, den Begriff nicht mehr zu verwenden oder aber in
einem strengeren Sinne.

George Legrady: Die Projekte, die ich in den letzten sieben Jahren durchgeführt habe,
hatten alle mit Archiven zu tun. Archive beinhalten Massen von Informationen und Doku-
mente historischer Quellen, die eine bestimmte Zeit und einen bestimmten Raum reprä-
sentieren. 1992 habe ich damit begonnen, ich kam ursprünglich aus dem kommunistischen
Ungarn und bin dann in die USA gekommen. Ich habe das Archiv benutzt in dem Sinne,
dass es ein Dokument ist, das objektiv ist im Gegensatz zu den Dingen, die die Leute als
subjektiv ansehen. Wenn es jetzt um die Idee von Präsentation geht, also den Begriff der
Präsentation, gibt es etwas, was wir noch gar nicht angesprochen haben. Das ist die Akku-
mulierung von Reaktionen des Publikums, der Besucher. Ich denke, ein Teil der Präsenta-
tion im Museum ist auch das Publikum. Das Publikum reagiert, doch das Museum bekommt
eigentlich gar kein feed-back von den Besuchern. Wir haben die Technik, die Reaktionen
des Publikums aufzuzeichnen. Wenn man sich einen Film mehrmals ansieht und mit wech-
selndem Publikum, dann kann man über einen längeren Zeitraum eine wachsende Bedeu-
tung des Filmdokuments feststellen.

Reinhold Mißelbeck: Ich finde es sehr interessant, dass Lysiane Lechot-Hirt das voll-
kommen offene System, d.h., jeder sucht sich das aus, was er will, ob er informiert ist oder
nicht, für problematisch hält. Sie bevorzugt die in gewisser Hinsicht erschlossene Samm-
lung. Mich würde interessieren, ob George Legrady sich sein Ausstellungssystem auch in der
Übertragung auf die Präsentation einer Sammlung vorstellen kann. Eine Sammlung, die wie-
der ganz anders zustande gekommen ist als die Exponate einer solchen Ausstellung. D.h.,
eine Museumssammlung, die von einem Künstler in der Weise kuratiert ist, dass er ein Be-
sucherzugangssystem entwickelt. Kann er sich das als offenes System vorstellen, also nicht
nur als statischen Bestand, sondern als einen Bestand, der auch Zuwächse hat, so dass sich
das System ständig im Fluss befindet. Ist das denkbar aus seiner Sicht?

George Legrady: In den 80er Jahren hat Joseph Kosuth im Brooklyn-Museum eine Aus-
stellung gemacht. Seine Aktionen bestehen darin, dass er ein Archiv aus Sammlungen, die
nicht neutral und objektiv sind, schafft. Die Selektion kombiniert bestimmte Kunstwerke
und Aussagen. Der Kurator wird sozusagen zum Künstler. Gestern war ich an der Universität
in Portsmouth. Dort habe ich mein Projekt vorgestellt und hatte längere Redezeit zur Ver-
fügung, um die Arbeit zu erläutern. Eine der Fragen, die gestellt wurden war, ob dieses Werk
z.B. von einem Museum aufgegriffen werden könnte für ein anderes Projekt. Ich glaube, es
ist so, dass meine Investition als Künstler im Aufbau der Struktur selber besteht, der Inhalt
ist damit kompatibel.

- 2 7 -
tuell zu sein als sich mit physischen Räumlichkeiten zu beschäftigen. Bei physischen Räu-
men geht es immer um die Größe. Dieses Problem haben wir im virtuellen Raum nicht. Wir
müssen also auf beiden Fronten kämpfen. Es ist sehr wichtig, dass Museen ihren Raum ha-
ben, gerade wenn es um neue Präsentationen geht. Es ist wichtig zu berücksichtigen, dass
nicht jeder online ist, es gibt immer noch viele Menschen, die keinen Computer besitzen,
und diese Menschen kommen immer noch ins Museum, um sich Kunstwerke anzuschauen.
Und die andere Sache ist, dass wir natürlich Anstrengungen unternehmen müssen, um die
Öffentlichkeit in größerem Maße an die Werke heranzuführen, die heute in großer Zahl zur
Verfügung stehen. Wir müssen Programmpräsentationen entwickeln und eine neue Auswahl
treffen, damit die Öffentlichkeit darüber informiert ist, was wir tun und wo unsere Stärken
liegen. Das sind Aufgaben, die wir leisten müssen, auf beiden Ebenen, der physischen und
der virtuellen.

Reinhold Mißelbeck: Der Kernpunkt ist die Frage der Präsentation. Wie kommen die
Archive ans Publikum und da haben wir einerseits sehr traditionelle Methoden, wie sie Ly-
siane Lechot-Hirt vorgetragen hat. Es gibt einen Raum, in dem eine Maschine steht, man
legt das Band ein und präsentiert das Kunstwerk. Da ist der Ort, an dem man es individuell
anschauen kann. Wahrscheinlich gibt es darüber hinaus noch Ausstellungen. Das Museum
Ludwig hat z.Zt. überhaupt keine Videothek, es gibt unsere Sammlung nur im Rahmen von
Ausstellungen zu sehen. Dann gibt es die sehr technisierte Präsentationsmethode des ZKM
oder auch die virtuellen Ideen vom Museum, wie sie Pascale Cassagnau und George Le-
grady geschildert haben. Ich habe eine Frage an Rudolf Frieling. Wenn sie jetzt noch einmal
die Möglichkeit hätten, ein Präsentationskonzept ihrer sehr umfangreichen Sammlung zu
entwickeln, wie würden sie entscheiden. Wäre es das sehr technologisch-fortgeschrittüche
Konzept oder würden sie eine andere Methode wählen. Oder würden sie eventuell zwei-
gleisig fahren, eine traditionelle Präsentationsform und eine virtuelle?

Rudolf Frieling: Leider bin ich nicht in der Lage hier etwas Neues entwerfen zu kön-
nen. Ich wollte deutlich machen, dass man solche Konzepte immer in einem vorgegebenen,
z.B. architektonischen oder finanziellen Rahmen realisiert. Eine meiner einschneidensten Er-
fahrungen war, als ich 1994 ans ZKM kam, dass die Architekten als erstes auf mich zuka-
men und fragten „wo sollen die Steckdosen hin?" Die sind sozusagen mit ganz anderen
Konzepten, ganz anderen Planungszeitläufen beschäftigt. Dagegen ist sehr anzugehen.
Wenn man einen Raum hat, der veränderbar, variabel ist, der z.B. eine neue Idee von Ar-
chivzugang präsentieren kann, der aber gleichzeitig - wie Lysiane Lechot-Hirt sagte - auch
andere künstlerische Konzepte der Bespielung ermöglicht, dann wäre das ein Fortschritt
gegenüber einem zwar technologisch avancierten Projekt, wie wir es geschaffen haben, das
allerdings relativ statisch ist. D.h., es gibt fest installierte Stationen, es gibt fest installierte
Wände, es gibt ein fest installiertes System, das in einem Intranet besteht. Ich habe von
den Intranet-Plätzen aus nicht den direkten Zugang zum Internet. Man könnte versuchen,
das ganze System aufzubrechen. Wir werden im nächsten Jahr in einem moderaten Rahmen
einen Umbau mit Nachbesserungen vornehmen. Das wird aber extrem schwierig werden.
Aus technologischer Sicht wünschen wir uns möglichst kurze Planungszeiten, weil sich die
Technologie so schnell ändert. D.h. wir möchten natürlich einen solchen Raum mit der ak-
tuellsten Technologie eröffnen. Aber ich glaube, es geht jenseits der Technologie auch um
das, was in unseren Köpfen passiert, nämlich die Idee, eine interessante .mixed reality' zu
finden. Zwischen dem Konzept der Bibliothek und dem Konzept einer rein kuratierten
Sammlung, wo ich eine oder mehrere Arbeiten aus dem Depot projizieren kann. Wesentlich

- 2 5 -
ist doch jetzt, dass wir jenseits des klassischen Museumsbegriffs einen Zugang zu unseren
Archiven, zu unseren Depots ermöglichen wollen. Dieser Zugang soll nicht in einer vorge-
gebenen kuratierten Form, sondern als interaktive Nutzung für das Publikum geschaffen
werden.

Ulrike Lehmann: Mit der Bedeutung, dass die Videos aus diesem kleinen Kasten her-
auskommen, aus diesem Guckkasten, der bei vielen dieser Archive, z.B. im Centre Pompi-
dou und auch im ZKM die Form der Präsentation ist. Heute werden aber doch Videos in den
Ausstellungen meist groß projiziert. Ist das vielleicht der,Hofgang' des zukünftigen Archivs?

Heiner Holtappeis: Da sollte man vorsichtig sein, wir müssen bedenken, das sind
Werke aus den 70er Jahren, die wurden für Monitore gemacht. Aus Entertainment-Bedürf-
nissen das Werk groß zu projizieren, heißt, seinen ursprünglichen Kontext zu verlassen. Das
sind wichtige Fragen, die gestellt werden müssen. Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass die Mu-
seen sehr viel unternehmen müssen, um Erlebnis zu werden. Wir bewegen uns von der In-
formationsgesellschaft in eine Event-Gesellschaft, eine Erfahrungsgesellschaft. Es muss
mehr sein. Einkaufen muss auch Spaß machen, also machen wir ,fun-shopping' als Frei-
zeitgestaltung. Genauso müssen die Museen, muß die Kunst agieren. Wir müssen uns fra-
gen, wie weit werden wir uns korrumpieren? Aber dass diese Entwicklung da ist, davon bin
ich überzeugt. Wenn das künstlerische Konzeot dp«; KiinQtiorc ^ , . , ^ , + ui~:u*. .--. -^
Nur
iißt.

igs,
ist,
cht.

hfrr^J/ rei-
In-

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L/ ng
ro-
tn-

., ~.. .1^1 mv.nl U C l I l l i a l L C I I.

Marcel Schwierin: Ich möchte ein kleines Veto gegen unsere Begriffsverwendungen
einbringen. Das d ritt häufigste Wort das wir benutzen, lautet „Archiv" .Ich glaube allerdings,
wir reden gar nicht über Archive. George Legrady hat uns eine Sammlung präsentiert. Es
gibt einen Unterschied zwischen einer Sammlung und einem Archiv und einem Museum und
einer Bibliothek. Archive entstammen einem autoritären Raum, Rudolf Frieling hat darauf
hingewiesen. D.h. jeder Archivar wird sagen, einem Archiv strömen ungefragt Text- oder
Bildmengen zu, etwa aus Ministerien, aus Verwaltungen. Solche Dokumente wandern in Ar-
chive. Die Archive haben überhaupt nicht die Möglichkeit zu entscheiden. Das ist der Unter-
schied zu einer Sammlung und zu einem Museum und zu einer Bibliothek. Die können Aus-

-26-
Abb. 7/ill. 7
Dan Graham: Present Continous Past(s), 1976
© CNAC/MNAM/Dist RMN Service de documentation photographique du Mnam/Cci
Abb. 8 + 9/ill. 8 + 9
Nam June Paik: Moon is the oldest TV, 1965-1992
© CNAC/MNAM/Dist RMN Service de documentation photographique du Mnam/Cci
© Nam June Paik, New York
Abb. 15/ill. 15
Andreas Menn: Workout, 1999, Digitalvideo
© Andreas Menn
Abb. 14/ill. 14
Marcel Broodthaers: Museum - Museum, 1972
Farbserigrafie, zweiteilig, 84 χ S9 c m
© Estate Marcel Broodthaers, Courtesy Galerie Michael Werner, Köln