Aldo Tambellini b. 1930
Black TV (1969)
Duration: 9 minutes
"Videotape is used here as a personal and artistic medium: documentary television images of today's violence are distorted into rapid-fire, black-and-white abstractions, Robert Kennedy's assassination, police brutality, murder, infanticide, prizefights, and Vietnam become blurred insistent symbols of today's horrors.
— Amos Vogel in "Film as Subversive Art"
“Tambellini’s BLACK TV is a great work on video tape. Of Tambellini’s work so far this is his masterpiece. The impact of the dynamic movement kept the audience constantly tense and lead the audience into Tambellini’s personal cosmology. Here Video TV has become a personal and artistic media.”
— Takahito Iimura, Eiga Hyoron, Japan Film Review, Tokyo, June 1968
“One day, Aldo’s Black TV will be considered a classic.”
— Nam June Paik, 1969
“Black TV is the title of Tambellini's best-known videographic film, which is part of a large intermedia project about American television. Compiled from filmed television news programs and personal experimental videotapes, Black TV has been seen in many versions during the four-year period in which Tambellini constantly re-edited it. ‘Since my interest, is in multimedia and mixed-media live events, and in experimental television, I think of film as a material to work with, part of the communications media rather than an end in itself. In the future we will be communicating through electronically transmitted images; Black TV is about the future, the contemporary American, the media, the injustice, the witnessing of events, and the expansion of the senses. The act of communication and the experience is the essential.’ As Tambellini's remarks indicate, Black TV is about perception in the intermedia network. It generates a pervasive atmosphere of the process-level perception by which most of us experience the contemporary environment. Since it involves the use of multiple monitors and various levels of video distortion, there is a sense of the massive simultaneity inherent in the nature of electronic media communication. Black TV is one of the first aesthetic statements on the subject of the intermedia network as nature, possibly the only such statement in film form.”
— Gene Youngblood, Expanded Cinema, 1970
“Tambellini’s Black TV also takes a subversive, collagist approach, but with a contemporary darker edge. Utilizing ‘60s news footage of race riots, police brutality and Vietnam. Tambellini describes the film as ‘being about the future, the contemporary America, the media, the injustice, the witnessing of the events, and the expansion of the senses.’ It was this notion of expanding the senses that preoccupied most of his work. While Tambellini was vitriolic in his opposition to mainstream television (he once called TV ‘the assassin of reality’), he also saw in it immense possibility as an abstract form of aesthetic communication. Since the technology was here to stay, and as Tambellini saw it, was ‘affecting all social and human interaction as we have previously known it to be.” It was imperative to find ways to appropriate it artistically.”
— Donal Foreman, Experimental Film Club Blog