Tate Modern Film

TV as Material 2: Broadcast Collaborations

CAC TV Thomas Manneke production shot

Alex Bag and Patterson Beckwith, Cash from Chaos / Unicorns & Rainbows

This screening and discussion will explore how artists have collaborated with broadcasters in both the public and commercial sectors, ranging from pioneers to contemporary practitioners. Featuring rare material from television projects by and for artists ranging from Jaime Davidovich’s early television experiments such as QUBE Project (1980),  Alex Bag and Patterson Beckwith public access television show Cash from Chaos / Unicorns & Rainbows 1994-1997 and CAC TV (2004–07) the weekly broadcast that provided a platform for young artists run by the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) and a commercial broadcaster in Lithuania. 

Illustrated talks will revisit the diverse histories of collaboration from key figures such as David Hall, Stan VanDerBeek and Aldo Tambellini to contemporary practitioners and consider how artists have responded to the changing form and context of television with the advent of the internet. With contributions from Koen Brams, curator of the Jef Cornelis exhibition at Liverpool Biennial 2014, Maeve Connolly, author of TV Museum: Contemporary Art and the Age of Television, and a presentation conceived by the CAC TV / ŠMC TV team and artist Olof Olsson.


QUBE Project, Jaime Davidovich, USA 1980, color, sound, 10 min 

In the late 1970s, Warner-AMEX launched the first interactive television system, QUBE, in Columbus,Ohio. This tape of a live broadcast documents artist Jaime Davidovich's effort to exploit QUBE as an artistic medium. He and co-host Carol Stevenson invited audience members to call in and ‘direct’ the show by instructing the studio operators on how to move the camera, focus and switch between feeds in the multiple-camera setup.

Cash from Chaos / Unicorns & Rainbows, Alex Bag and Patterson Beckwith, USA 1994-97, TV series [extract]

Alex Bag and Patterson Beckwith’s legendary late-night public access programme Cash from Chaos, later renamed Unicorns & Rainbows, aired weekly in New York City between 1994 and 1997. The artists filled their timeslots with prank calls, surreal, decontextualized clips from other television shows and late night tours of New York City. Television here is both the subject and medium. Cash from Chaos turns television against itself, creating punk-rock satires of the most pervasive form of mass media.

Screening courtesy of Sammlung Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst.

CAC TV, Lithuania, 2004–07 TV series [extract] 

CAC TV / ŠMC TV (2004–07), was a weekly series produced by the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius for broadcast on Lithuania’s channel TV1. This unique merger of commercial television and contemporary art has been variously described as ‘intervention into normality’ and a ‘meta-show meant to deconstruct reality and its programming’. The CAC TV Team that consisted of a diverse group of curators and artists, including among them Virginija Januskeviciute, Valentinas Klimasauskas, Aurelija Maknyte and Raimundas Malašauskas sought to reimagine the television with the founding principles that ‘Every programme is a pilot. Every programme is the final episode.’


Koen Brams

Brams is a freelance researcher, writer and curator. He is the former editor-in-chief of the Belgian art magazine De Witte Raaf (1992–2000) and former director of the Jan van Eyck Academie (2000–2011). He conducts a research project about art in Belgium since 1945. Recent publications: The Encyclopedia of Fictional Artists (JRP Ringier, 2010); The clandestine in the work of Jef Cornelis (together with Dirk Pültau), Argos/De Witte Raaf/Jan van Eyck Academie/Marcelum Boxtareos, 2010; Matt Mullican: Im Gespräch/Conversations (together with Dirk Pültau), DuMont, Köln, 2011. Recent exhibitions: The breakthrough of 'conceptual art' in Belgium. The case of Fernand Spillemaeckers. Part 1: Towards a 'marxist formalism' (together with Dirk Pültau), in: Museum M, Leuven, 2013; La morte addosso. The (anonymous) art of Alessandro and Schède (1966–1980) (together with Ulrike Lindmayr and Dirk Pültau), in: LLS 387, Antwerp, 2014; Jef CornelisTV works, in the framework of the Liverpool Biennial 2014: A Needle Walks into a Haystack (curated by Mai Abu ElDahab and Anthony Huberman), St. Andrews Gardens, Liverpool, 5 July26 October 2014.

Maeve Connolly

Connolly is a writer and lecturer with a focus on changing cultures and economies of art and media practice. Her publications include TV Museum: Contemporary Art and the Age of Television (Intellect/University of Chicago Press, 2014), The Place of Artists’ Cinema: Space, Site and Screen (Intellect/University of Chicago Press, 2009) and The Glass Eye: Artists and Television (Project Press, 2000, co-edited with Orla Ryan). She has contributed to journals such as Afterall, Artforum, Art Monthly, Frieze, Journal of Curatorial Studies, MIRAJ, Mousse, Screen and The Velvet Light Trap, and currently co-directs the MA in Art Research Collaboration at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dublin.

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

27 September 2014 at 16.00–18.00