VakuumTV was founded in February 1994 on the initiative of Laszlo Kistamas and currently includes Dora Csernatony, Ferenc Grof, Laszlo Kistamas, and Attila Till. Its members presented weekly broadcasts on Monday nights at the most popular cultural club in Budapest, Tilos az A. Between February 1994 and September 1997 Vakuum TV broadcast 52 shows, and after 3 years of rest, started broadcasting again in 2000. Each show blended short films, interactive engagements between the audience and the announcer, and live performances but each used a very different content to create a parallel televisual reality.

During the VAKUUM TV AT THE VIDEOLOGY show (September 28, 1997), the context was the relation between computers and their users, and a VakuumNet multimedia choreography was composed for the show. Live performances on the stage, dialogues, as well as games complemented the associative system of VakuumNet which simulated net surfing. This gave rise to a kind of collage which unified three usually independent spaces: the space of the audience with the space of the stage and that of the net.

For PARALLEL OF HUMAN BEING (July 8, 2000) our topic was the evolution of robotics and the very near future of cyborgs. Connected to our "scientific theatre" project we made an attempt to mix the world of the conventional sci-fi movies and documentaries with our imaginary projections creating a montage of "low-tech futurology". In MECHANICAL TELEVISION (August 31, 2000), we focused on the early history of television. This media archeological topic was "re-mixed" on stage using video projections with live acts, interactive engagements with the audience, a re-built Baird Television receiver and some archive videos from the fifties about the "dawn" of Hungarian broadcasting.

Needless to say, the designation "VakuumTV" is not meant to refer to any kind of conventional television channel which could be received on TV sets in commercial circulation. Rather, its founders envisioned a live show in which a large frame separating the stage from the audience imitates the experience of watching TV for the audience. Thus VakuumTV can be received only where this frame is set up.

VakuumTV is a form of the modern cabaret, in which theater blends with video art, performance with television, and art with play. This combination bears some affinity to the earliest "café theatres" and to the Dadaist Cabaret Voltaire, founded in 1916, which also operated in an entertainment locale. In this detoured television, censorship is obliterated and everything desired by the body or the soul is permitted.

The broadcasts are a mixture of various, largely independent numbers or scores. Absurd humor and attempts toward greater permeability of the boundaries between different media are only two of the hallmark features of VakuumTV broadcasts. Many of the numbers take conventional television broadcast techniques as their point of departure in order to reinvent them in a distorted manual form.

Electronics and high technology are present in a different manner than in ordinary television. Everything takes place live, through a peculiar imitation of tricks normally associated with television, but in altered form. Broadcasts include videotaped material recorded and edited before the broadcast. Images are projected upon a tulle screen attached to the TV frame, allowing an alternation of video projection and live performance. When illuminated by stage lights, the tulle becomes transparent and those on the stage enter the broadcast; when the stage is dark, the tulle surface serves as the screen for projections.

The combination of live performance and projected images, the mobilization of the audience for active involvement, as well as the employment of a camera which can broadcast happenings and images occurring simultaneously on the stage or elsewhere enable VakuumTV to transcend the limitations of conventional television. With the viewers being simultaneously in the television studio and in front of their TV sets, interactive television becomes a reality.



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