Computer-controlled automated programming

The digitised programme blocks took time to load

One of the technical aims of “Piazza virtuale” was that the programme should run automatically and without the intervention of the producers. Each programme format was a separate computer programme that had to be loaded at the beginning. In the video clip you can see the studio technology that was used to run the programme. The programme segment “Sarah und Daniel” is on. Two viewers can trigger short video clips with the telephone keyboard, reproducing the dialogue of a pair of lovers. On the different monitors you can see the coloured background and the film clips, which were shown as one picture on television. Also visible are various videophones and a waveform monitor. The PC, which can be seen on the far right in a rack, coordinated the various interconnected computers as a network hub.

The broadcasting manager in Kassel occasionally moderated the audience discussions, even though this actually contradicted the concept of basing the programme entirely on contributions from the audience. This can be seen in the second clip, which shows the studio situation in Kassel while a contribution from Piazzetta Lyon is being broadcast. The callers give stage directions to a group of callers in German, which Salvatore Vanasco translates into French. On the different monitors, you can see the different picture elements that were combined into one screen for the broadcast. You can see this on-air composite on the monitor on the right, which shows the television broadcast, which you can recognise from the 3Sat lettering that is superimposed.

At the top left of the TV picture you can see the live broadcast from Lyon, on the right faxes sent in and at the bottom the mailbox chat. At the end, a caller tries to disrupt the broadcast with music; he is thrown off the line and a stamp with the words “Censored!” can be seen briefly on the monitor.

Behind the scenes of Piazza virtuale (Video: Michael Aschenbrenner)

Behind the scenes of Piazza virtuale during a live broadcast of Piazzetta Lyon (Video: Michael Aschenbrenner)

Interview with Manuel Tessloff

Technical difficulties during a broadcast of Piazzetta Riga

During a computer crash, the desktop of the Amiga computer that ran the show became visible

Screenshot of “Piazza virtuale”: End of a digital programme segment

Screenshot of “Piazza virtuale”: The daily programme was repeatedly shown in during the broadcast

Broadcasting schedule of “Piazza virtuale”