Improved Tele-vision. Make your choice and become avant-garde (2001) – Cornelia Sollfrank

Cornelia Sollfrank

Is Arnold Schönberg’s string quartet Verklärte Nacht nothing but “Wagnerian rubbish”? That was how video artist Nam June Paik described it in 1977. He “improved” the music by pressing the 78-rpm vinyl record at 16 rpm: ¼ speed. The Swiss action and object artist Dieter Roth responded in 1979 with his own edition, the original tempo restored. Cornelia Sollfrank’s installation Improved Tele-vision adds a new dimension to the controversy.

The web-based part of the installation consists of a sound studio and a virtual gallery. In the studio, the user her/himself can control the music’s tempo. The gallery displays the “Schönberg, Paik, Roth, Sollfrank” geneaology. For the installation in real space, Cornelia Sollfrank composed her own music, titled Self-paced. The work’s title refers to a statement by Paik, in which he describes his Mongolian forebears’ question about what lies beyond the horizon: “To be able to see more, you have to go there –‘tele-vision’ in Greek means ‘seeing-into-the-distance’ = television.”

Sound sequence: Cornelia Sollfrank, Automatically Generated Authorship, Radio play, 37 min. (2004), collaboration with Timothy Didymus (UK)