Now End Piece is over it’s legacy can be dissected into two distinct milestones: firstly the opening, when all 1001 television sets were receiving and broadcasting analogue signals, as the Ambika hanger resonating with cultural cacophony from cooking shows to news reels, golf documentaries to housing, End Piece’s sonic conception reminded us almost violently of the domestic television din.
Secondly the eulogy after the final analogue shut off- from the 18th April onwards. The din of life, the world’s media, is replaced only by white noise giving birth to an ironic meditation. The everyman expects the arrhythmia of white noise in the home environment to be tremendously annoying given it’s exceptional volume in the context of broadcast mixing. In cinema, white noise is used to represent catastrophe, disaster, and narrativistic apocalypse and even in the home it represents the chaos of uncertainty, a rocket ship of random spectrum.
Can End Piece be deemed ‘contemporary’? In some ways, no; it’s another- larger- chapter in his analogue experiments since the 70s but has managed to grapple hook 2012 ideology and I propose two main ideas attached to the first and second milestones respectively: 1) A psuedo-self-aware culture of popular television, and 2) the apocalypse phenomena.
One only has to read the comments book located at the entrance of the venue to realise a kind of mainstream analysis of the show: visitors referencing X Factor, and I even recall the term ‘excrement’ being used. End Piece seems to be some kind of alarm call to a subculture of televisionaholics who are openly resistant to corporate, voyeuristic British reality television but are hooked conversely to period dramas and David Attenborough documentaries. ‘Intellects’ partaking on the anthropological path television is taking- the living room lifestyle, a microbe in the immediacy culture chaosmos. The first milestone acting as a bold and obvious statement about the state of television culture.
I consider the above obvious connotations; create polyrhythmia with any number of television shows and we’re doomed to a sensory overload. More apt, is the second ideological encounter noted above. So far 2012 is the year of doom, albeit the possibility has lingered in history, no other year has been subjected to populist doom as much as any other. By December eschatologists will be on the precipice of annihilation or the bed rock of humiliation and much popular media- cinema, video games focuses on the possibility.
In December last year, I hosted a film night with a programme of works centred on ‘The Illusion and the End of the World’ arguing that the two themes are phenomenologically synonymous; either, it is the end of the world or will be for the individuals so rapture-minded and deluded.
The last week of End Piece is ideologically swimming in postmodern melancholy. If you’re like me and not infuriated by the sound of white noise, transcending beyond the noise is a step onwards in theoretical journey. On the day of my visit, if there’s one place the excruciating pain in my knee felt appreciated it was limping around the majority of the 1001 televisions in the main room of the space; this offered the opportunity to- as it were- ‘soak in’ the rhythm of the loud white noise and revel in the probability that David Hall was eulogising, not just the CRT monitor and analogue signals but western culture in its masochistic demise into reclusiveness and class separation.
It’s interesting that he chose TV Interruptions and Progressive Recessions to show alongside 1001 Television Sets as they bear there own reflections on the state of things; particularly Progressive Recessions in it’s interesting exposition of the reality of high-street CCTV. In a nutshell, the misconception that it exists to protect the members of public but rather to protect business and brand cleanliness- the front doors of Castle Capitalism. I was reminded of this by a small sign on the Metropolitan line about introducing CCTV onto the trains, and how there will be prosecution if London Underground staff and violated and/or the trains are vandalised.
As an academic descendent of Hall, I felt some kind of musica practica in experiencing End Piece. Artfully intoxicated by the installation of TV Interruptions- a first hand experience following hardcore studying in seminars and lectures; thinking comfortably that video art can remind us of political concerns about the well being and philosophical security of the citizen; and the- now- melancholic readings of Spooky Bill TV (which Hall snuck into a few of the 1001) that recall Dick’s sombre science fiction.
As part of my current research I was pleased to find useful names in the guest book and even a person who wrote “Maidstone Class of ’84” (obviously a student of Hall) whom I’ll be contacting shortly.
Hall’s piece as a whole has become a non-witty statement about the state of the television as a cultural object and a technology victimised by the conveyor belt of capitalist reinvention, and the state of human consciousness in the context of 2012 apocalypse sensationalism.
A recording of End Piece can be found here
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