The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt
Cher Monsieur Godard,
Page 2 of 2
“Life is a powerful weapon” is the slogan of the new CAC TV season. Life has become a form of constant therapy: the sole purpose of which is normalisation, health and Prozac’ happiness. Therefore, it is essential to remember once more the purposes of CAC TV and the comments of its viewers: “CAC TV is an intervention into normality” (Vita Zaman) and “Beavis and Butthead are making Dogma in Vilnius” (an identifiable ‘anonymous’). Reality is programmable, but to travel through the labyrinth successfully, one must have Beavis and Butthead’s remote control. The labyrinth (or in other words time) is a straight invisible line, and the eye, following it, always slides across the horizon towards history. “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”[*]
(Marshal McLuhan, The medium is the message, 1967)
Marx states that a new chance for revolution could only arise in circumstances of new crisis. But revolution, like each rebellion, has become a strategy of corporate marketing. And what has become of the revolutionary May ‘68 slogans?
Here are some of them:
Happiness is the new idea!
Proletariat of all countries, have fun!
Be a realist, demand the impossible!
Boredom is counter-revolution!
Never work!
Let’s say we get back to 1968, to the beginning of CAC TV and many other things. Think about this - if 1968 has become a direction, it is no more a beginning. But what was the beginning of it all?
In a DVD “The first 100 years. And what before that?” released by CAC TV in 2072, the rhetorical question “When did CAC TV begin?” was changed to “And when didn’t CAC TV begin?” In other words, when did “an invisible television” start to exist as invisible and as television?
Wasn’t it in 1972, when Chris Burden arrived with own his camera crew to a TV program and after putting a knife to the presenter’s throat off-camera, took over the script of the program and demanded a live broadcast? Even though the demanded live broadcast time hadn’t been stolen (although the audience had been robbed of a show), it became clear that the phenomenon of television was not merely predicated on whether it was “live” or “pre-recorded”.
Or perhaps CAC TV didn’t begin in 1976, when Richard Serra naively remarked in his video that Television Delivers People, or perhaps when people didn’t notice that they had disappeared, and that CAC TV had appeared?
Isn’t it time now to not be a line, but a box, a tele-box, or a tele-barrel?
After all, in the history of television, the architecture of the TV-box or TV-barrel has been in constant flux. Creation, distribution and broadcasting schemes, as well as the architecture of CAC TV, resemble a tele-hotel, in which a barrel-studio can be fashioned from any room or any space, and then joined to any other space; whose visitors are often simultaneously creators, viewers and distributors; a life in which all is the content, form and workshop of the programs. The CAC TV hotel is a Rubik’s Cube in time, and the sequence of its assembling or deconstruction is a labyrinth of collective experiences.
And now we can list the critical questions that will help us: who believes in life more than in revolutions which perform collective revolution rituals? If a remote control is the symbol of contemporary ambient society, are active televisual experiences possible? How can you make a kind of television which isn’t a form of brainwashing therapy, but a personal catalyst, an atom smasher that would pull you inside, that would operate as an active time labyrinth or time stairs, a time machine that would function as a theme park of possibilities, creating personal and collaborative laughter and horror rooms, instead of treading the paths of centuries old habits; that would be a tele-polygon of the TV audience’s passivity, that…? And not the last doubt: does the slogan “life is a powerful weapon” allow us to believe not just in the existence of time, power, illusion, weekend and weapons, but also in the existence of life?
Regards from Vilnius,
Beavis and Butthead