Van Gogh TV, an avant-garde group of media artists and hackers, presented Piazza Virtuale at Documenta IX in 1992. The interactive TV project used all the electronic media available at the time to include the television audience – that could watch the program both on the 3Sat television channel and the Olympus satellite – in what was happening on the screen.
It was possible to influence the design of the show by telephone, fax, BBS and videophone. There was the opportunity to discuss with each other, get to know each other, make music or paint together, move a camera in the Kassel studio, chat and much more.
The television audience at that time enthusiastically accepted the interactive programme, up to 25,000 callers per hour tried to participate in the show. In addition, for some segments of the show artists from all over the world were connected via videophone and live broadcasts, who performed and designed their own broadcast formats called „Piazzettas“.
“Piazza Virtuale” anticipated many features and functions of today’s social media. In addition to the direct exchange of users, it offered the possibility of offering goods on a virtual marketplace, which is reminiscent of the concept of today’s online auction houses. During the broadcasts early forms of net culture emerged, such as pranks, playful experiments with identity and technology, shit storms, trolling and other elements of contemporary net culture.
The three-year research project is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) and started on 01.04.2018. The project was submitted by Prof. Anja Stöffler (Institute for Media Design, Mainz University of Applied Sciences) and Prof. Dr. Jens Schröter (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn). The project is managed by Prof. Dr. Tilman Baumgärtel (Hochschule Mainz).
The research project sees itself as a paradigmatic attempt to historically process early online projects and communities and to secure them for the long term. So far, there has been little research on the preservation and historization of these highly fragile digital artefacts and relics of telecommunication projects. In addition to an academic publications, the project will also produce a medium-length documentary film and probably an exhibition.
The Participants of Piazza Virtuale:
Concept and direction: Karel Dudesek – Benjamin Heidersberger – Mike Hentz – Salvatore Vanasco
Ali Altschaffel – Nicolas Anatol Baginsky – Katharina Baumann – Tim Becker – Indulis Bilzens – Julian Boyd – Kathrin Brinkmann – Wu San Chuan – Gérard Couty – Fritz Groß – Daniel Haude – Jan Holthusen – Kathy Rae Huffman – Cory McLeod – Kaspar Lüthi – Ole Lütjens – Silke Mauritius – Laurence Maury – Jendo Neversil – Insa Riske – Holger Rix – Axel Roselius – Hinnerk Schmidt – Karlheinz Schmidt – Dieter Sellin – Ludwig Seyfarth – Sybille Steinfartz – Manuel Tessloff – Michael Ulrich – Wolfgang Werner – Heinz Widmer – Laura Windrath – Sascha Windrath – Christian Wolff – Katja Zapadlová – Andreas Zierdt
Belgrad – Peter Lukavic
Berlin – Rudolf Stört
Bremen – Ronald Gonko
Earth – Andrew Work
Freiburg – Micky Remann
Genf – Philippe Coeytaux
Göttingen – Harald Weisser
Graz – Gerfried Stocker
Hamburg – Frauen und Technik
Köln – Bernd von den Brincken
Laibach – Marco Kosnik Virant
Litauen – Valdis Martinsons
Lyon – Rene Sanglard
Piazzetta Macworld Berlin – Eric Gersh
Milano – Shake Decoder + Sabine Reiff
Moskau – Kirill Preobrazhenski
Nagoya – Eiichi Kubota
Paris – Christian Vanderborght
Poitiers – Jean Louis le Tacon
Prag – Michael Bielicky
Riga – Baiba Ripa
Salzburg – Wolf Dieter Aichberger
Sant’ Arcangelo – Giacomo Verde
Siggraph – Brian Wallace
Stuttgart – Jan van Krogh
Wien – Rosa von Suess
Zürich – Hans Wermelinger