TV IS GREAT
(Title based on reply by elderly Texas lady to CBS poll of American attitudes toward a new medium in 1951: "TV is great because when you close your eyes it sounds like radio")
Why it happened: I have always loved the backside of tv sets more than the front side. I learned from a 1971 installation, Images from the Present Tense 1 (The Backward Television Set ) that the public loves the back,too: tho I placed it in a now defunct Soho gallery to protest the jailing of innocent friends, the visitors decided to sit on the floor inside a long, darkened room watching (and clearly loving) a backward TV set playing pure light reflections off the wall, to the tune of non-broadcast sound. worse (or better), big bulky old tv sets began to appear as trash on the streets over the next decade. I developed a profound sentimentality about them, even tho I often hated the content they displayed. when I was finally invited to do an installation by the Texans--in those days I was considered in New York a totally live performance video specialist--I leaped at the chance. most of all i hoped to turn the field around, as well as the medium. away from dazzling electronics to something more subliminal.
D.D., Jan. 18, 1999
TV is Great, Douglas Davis, 1985.