Museum Folkwang
  • Video Rebels – Klaus vom Bruch, Marcel Odenbach and Ulrike Rosenbach

  • Klaus vom Bruch, Ulrike Rosenbach and Marcel Odenbach were the first artists in Germany to broadcast their own TV show in 1977 – not on one of the public service broadcasting channels but illegally on one of the free channels. This pirate broadcast station was available in the immediate vicinity, up to a radius of 100 meters. Program schedules were distributed and there was a TV screen available on a sculptor’s base in the middle of the studio for any friends who were not able to receive the broadcast station. ›Alternativ-Television‹ was on the air.

    In 1976, Klaus vom Bruch and Ulrike Rosenbach had returned from the United States where they had discovered the ›guerrilla television‹ movement. Together with Marcel Odenbach they founded the video label ›ATV‹. Until then artists had had to rely on the goodwill of the major TV studios for post-producing their videos.

    After four years the label was renamed ›Videorebellen‹. In 1981 it collaborated with Rune Mields to broadcast ›Westprotest‹, a revolt against the exclusion of video art from the museums. But the group was unable to realize its hope of conquering the TV stations, even with the advent of the new private channels. In the course of the 1980s the presentation of installation videos became increasingly widespread and the video label produced its last film in 1984.

    The rebellion – ›ATV‹ and ›Videorebellen‹ 1979 – 1982
    ›ATV‹ boasted a playful program – alongside its own productions it also showed videos by its artist friends. Its schedules had TV parodies followed by documentary formats, performance recordings by TV quotes and a sound meditation by contemporary politics. It announced its program in 1978 at an exhibition ›Spurensuche‹ (Looking for Clues) at Kölnischen Kunstverein:
    The intention was for a fixed program of 12 titles to be shown daily as of 6 p.m. »Fade-ins of viewers must be possible at any time as ›pictures-in-pictures‹ via a back channel. Acoustic fade-ins are something that is left up to the viewers,« were the video rebels’ directions.

    Regime – TV and the power of images
    »Alternativ Television, Cologne, was born after thousands of hours in front of European and American TV.« (1978) The schedule’s pictorial language and content contravened the rules of the official media, they subverted and questioned its strategies. Unlike revolutions, this rebellion was not dependent on any concepts of a new system of power. Albert Camus interpreted the revolt as an individual form of resistance against a lack of freedom and as such he considered it existential. The revolt allowed for an process of understanding in society – the manifestation of a kind of suppression.

    Rebels, male and female – role models
    A number of the videos are characterized by a subtle irony. Their examination of clichéd male and female roles do not fail to include the modern artist. In the latter’s image, the youthful radical and the avant-garde warrior are superimposed on each other. The notion of the martial amazon is also significant. The contemporary insignia of rebellion are also reflected in the videos, the kind of insignia a guerrilla needs to fight blanket camera surveillance – a hood or balaclava with slits for the eyes concealing the identity of the rebel.

    The situation has not changed despite the rebellion – videos after 1982
    The artistic work of vom Bruch, Odenbach and Rosenbach, even after the ›Videorebellen‹ studio closed, is characterized by a wish to resist the constant flood of images from the media characterizes. In ›Azimut‹ vom Bruch has that global phenomenon of the satellite dish circling, Rosenbach questions the exploitation of nature, Odenbach takes issue with suppression and rebellion in the former colonies. With their concept of a guerrilla TV they anticipated current-day video platforms. The video rebellion lives on.
  • Exh_Title_S: Video Rebels – Klaus vom Bruch, Marcel Odenbach and Ulrike Rosenbach
  • Exh_Id: 1,821
  • Exh_Comment_S (Verantw): Painting, Sculpture, Media Art
  • Exh_SpareNField01_N (Verantw ID): 188
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