Remote Control surveys the enormous impact that television has had upon contemporary culture through a range of artistic engagement with the medium and offers a look at how the next generation is responding to digital convergence. The exhibition includes many important works that reveal the power and influence of television broadcasting on politics and society. Remote Control coincides with the digital switchover in the UK and marks the end of analogue broadcasting, representing a milestone in the evolution of the medium.
The exhibition maps the continued influence and diverse potential of TV as a social tool and new art form. In the upper galleries, the works engage with the themes of politics, propaganda and identity. Adrian Pipers charged video installation Cornered (1988) confronts issues of racial identity, while Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujicas Videograms (1992) features edited TV footage of the Romanian revolution of December 1989 and the occupation of Bucharests television station. Richard Hamiltons Kent State (1970) uses photographs of a news broadcast of a series of anti-Vietnam War protests whilst Friedericke Pezold challenges notions of female identity with Mundwerk (1975).
Remote Control also looks at television as a physical object as can be seen in Matias Faldbakkens minimal tombstone-like concrete casts of televisions and Tauba Auerbachs hypnotic images of TV static and digital binary code (2012). Julia Wachtels A.K.A. (1992) combines hard-edge abstraction and daytime television, juxtaposing silkscreened images of faces from afternoon talk shows with monochrome panels. Concern with fame, pop culture and consumerism dominate in the work of Jessica Diamond, Mark Leckey and Martha Rosler. Diamonds wall painting T.V. Telepathy (1989) proclaims in bold black letters Eat Sugar Spend Money and takes the outline of a television screen, whilst Leckey weaves pop imagery such as Felix the Cat into his film collages, particularly symbolic as it was used in the 1920s as a test pattern for the first television broadcasts in the USA.
In the lower gallery the exhibition features rarely seen archive footage, a new installation design by Berlin-based artist Simon Denny which structures remnants of analogue transmission hardware from Arqiva alongside works made for TV by artists such as David Hall, Richard Serra and Ant Farm (an American artist collective). Serras Television Delivers People (1973) was a bold statement against the medium as was Ant Farms polemical work Media Burn (1975-2003). Working with Ira Schneider from the Radical Software publication, Denny will also create a vast wallpaper displaying pages from the journal and a diagram of Raindance Corporation's "Centre for Decentralized Television".
As the analogue form of television becomes obsolete, Remote Control will simultaneously unveil a ruin whilst gesturing towards the future with a live programme entitled Television Delivers People. Participants include Auto Italia South East, Bob Stanley, Experimental TV Center, Stephen Sutcliffe, Jonny Woo and Lucky PDF. The exhibition is the first of a brand new programme of major themed exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts
tackling Sound, Drawing and Sculpture over the next 12 to 18 months.