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Video8, video, television, analogue, analog, satellite, 19, 19.2, east
15 December 2013
Ricardo Cedeño Montaña
Analogue television is dead. 19.2ºE is a video gravestone to the direct-to-home European analogue television. High above the Earth's equator in the Clarke Belt, at 35,786km orbits a cluster of communication satellites known as Astra 19.2ºE. The Astra satellites started broadcasting analogue direct-to-home television to Europe in 1988. The switchover to digital broadcasting started in 2001 and lasted 11 years. This change faced no resistance and nobody lamented the demise of analogue TV. On 1 May 2012 at 01:30, the last analogue TV-signal was transmitted on the ASTRA 19.2ºE. Afterwards all TV broadcasting in Europe has been completely digital.
19.2ºE shows the warning left on the analogue channel to the German TV audience. The message is as laconic as promising: “Digital television offers more programming in better quality.” In 14min that image is aggressively dissolved and damaged through analogue video editing techniques. I inserted a series of texts that report when and which channel left its analogue frequency. Eurosports, one of the firsts to broadcast on satellite, was the last to close down its analogue transmission. At the end noise and blackness are on the screen.
This work mixes technical media of the same kind but stemming from different times: a 1984 VCR, a video mixer and a character generator from the end of the 1990s, a 1998 TV set, and a recording of a broadcast from 2012. This mix produces a technical art assemblage that spans over 28 years.
Text by Ricardo Cedeño Montaña MSc. PhD candidate Institut für Kulturwissenschaft Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.