In the 1960s, television became the dominant mass medium around the world, whose opinion-forming power trumped the press and radio. At the same time, today’s term mass medium emerged, as can be seen from the use of language even without a detailed etymological investigation. The press, radio and film are also regarded as mass media, but only television seems to embody the term comprehensively as a synthesis of their effects.
Indeed, television is the most hopeless medium from the point of view of the arts. Its emergence follows the lines of the well-established mass media of film and radio. There is hardly a phase of openness and creative search for the medium’s purpose. The only alternative that arises is between the private-sector principle of the film industry or American radio industry and the state-controlled model of European radio stations.
A medium without art
Television is the most efficient medium of reproduction and distribution in human history, but in the last half-century, it has hardly developed anything that could be described as an art form peculiar to the medium. The difference between high and low has never been anchored here as it was in the film. There is no form of high TV culture that would be viewed as a permanent cultural asset that should be preserved for future epochs.
The only exception is the music clip that has been created since the 1980s, which in selected examples has now also received the highest museum honors in the art context. This analogy, which is entirely justified in individual cases, should not obscure the fact that they are primarily advertising in the service of the music industry and therefore do not belong to the history of modern art unless its status of absolute autonomy would lapse with the dawn of postmodernity.
However, television is already an art today. Without a doubt, it will be the art for the future.
The social influence of television is also a central theme for the beginning of media theory in the 1960s. Art offers the model of a self-determined alternative to external control through the power of the media.
The television set as an art material
The development of intermedia art forms in the 1960s creates close connections between art, experimental theater, and film that has become expanded cinema. You can also use the television when Finding a Rental Property in your area.