Video Pioneer:    Performance as Protest   |   “Electromedia” Performances   |   Television Broadcasts 

Television Broadcasts



Black Gate Cologne was the first videotape made anywhere by fine artists for wide scale public broadcast. It was presented at WDR-TV, Cologne, Germany. “A Light Play” was done in conjunction with artist, Otto Piene on August 30, 1968. For my part, which followed Otto Piene’s, my intent was to experience television as a medium itself and to bring a direct relationship between audience and the characteristic elements of TV in a total involvement of the senses. The knowledge of a full professional TV staff, the facility of a well equipped studio, and the creative vision of the artist had come together for the first time to create a total experience. Over twelve monitors were set out in the studio, half of them suspended from the ceiling, the others on various parts of the floor, plus one oscilloscope which produced images created by the sound coming from several speakers. There were four cameras located in different floor areas and one on a balcony. The studio became an environment as all of the monitors were filled with various images plus movies from my “Black Film Series” and hand painted slides covering the entire studio.

The visual information came from an electronic image from a video film abstracted images from American TV, a videotapes and hand painted slide projections. As many as six different kinds of visual information were fed at once into the twelve TV monitors while a multitude of TV images were projected on the walls simultaneously with the slides. The studio TV cameras, with zooms , close-ups, panning moved from audience to monitors to films to slides to me who in the midst of the activity was filming the event. In the control room the simultaneous visual information was constantly mixed juxtaposed creating an intense continous experience of light energy and sound. The final mix, recorded as a videotape, was simultaneously seen on one of the four monitors, creating a total experience. Black Gate Cologne lasted 45 minutes. The tape from the live performance will be broadcast for “Program 3,” the cultural program in Germany. – Notes from notebook by Aldo Tambellini, 1968

Black Gate Cologne Broadcast Performance, Cologne, Germany,
August 30, 1968. Artists: Aldo Tambellini, Otto Piene



black gate cologne

still from black gate cologne
Still images from Black Gate Cologne: click on
either image to view video

THE MEDIUM IS THE MEDIUM – WGBH TV, Boston, March 23, 1969.
The Medium is the Medium was the first presentation of works by independent video artists aired on television. It was produced by Fred Barzyk, Anne Gresser and Pat Marx. And . The thirty-minute program included Aldo’s “Black” along with works by Allan Kaprow, Nam June Paik, Otto Piene, James Seawright, Thomas Tadlock. “Aldo Tambellini's work "Black" features images from slides, films, and television monitors, and the responses of children. The work, which is black-and-white, opens with abstract circular designs and moves into street scenes and images of children's faces. At one point the children are heard discussing blackness and racial identity.” WGBH

“Aldo Tambellini, blue jeaned and bandanna ascotted is sitting in the editing room at MIT talking erratically, in ltalian-inflected English. about his video piece on the screen entitled, Black. It is a staccato barrage of black-and white slides, random news footage, chanting, drum beating, and black children dancing. 'I did this at WGBH in 1969,' he says. 'I used about 1000 slides, seven 16-millimeter film projections, 30 black children, and three live TV cameras that taped it all.' Tambellini sits back. ‘I like the energy'.” Lifestyle, Boston Phoenix Magazine, August 18, 1981

The Medium is the Medium, Broadcast Performance, Boston, MA,
March 23, 1969. Artist-Aldo Tambellini

Aldo at wgbh
Aldo Tambellini in control room at WGBH