Richard Serra, Carlota Fay Schoolman

Television Delivers People


Werk - TV Delivers People
Artist / Artist group
Richard Serra, Carlota Fay Schoolman
Television Delivers People
video, Analog video
Material / Technique
Betacam SP, b/w, mono
Dimensions / Duration
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien

“You are the product of TV.”

“What television teaches through commercialism is materialistic consumption.” [1]

In his early years, the now world famous sculptor Richard Serra engaged with the then new media of film and video.

In collaboration with Carlota Fay Schoolman, he created the six-minute video »TV Delivers People« as a critique of the mass medium of television and of capitalist society.

Electronically generated, yellow text bands on a blue background run across the screen from bottom to top to the accompaniment of the typical supermarket or lift music of the time. The viewers are confronted with critical statements that force them to reflect on their own consumerist behavior of the mass medium of television. The effects of commercialism disguised as entertainment are made clear: “You are consumed.” Provocatively, these critical theses are set against cheerful instrumental music to underline the contradictory situation. In fact, this video work was actually shown on TV in 1973 – the two artists bought broadcast time.

The low-budget aesthetics of the video are also reminiscent of the information bulletins for viewers that were common at the time: It is not the content of the television program that is criticized, but rather the strategy of the television broadcasters that is deconstructed.

[1] see: Richard Serra, »TV Delivers People«, 1973 starting from 00:01:00 and 00:01:45.

Author: Jenny Starick