Interview with Guy Jungblut by Lou Jonas, June, 2014
Could you tell me where you got the idea for the event Artists’ Proposals for Closed-Circuit Television (1971)?
The Artists’ Proposals for Closed-Circuit Television originated from yet another event, which took place at Jacques-Louis Nyst’s brother’s house. One of our friends collected films from the “Wet Dreams Festival,” an Asian porn film festival in Amsterdam. We decided to host a special evening and we invited Otto Muehl. Movies were shown. Then, when the lights came back on at the end of the session, Otto Muehl and his naked accomplices would be seen coming down the stairs. They performed a rather pathetic and lousy happening: they slaughtered a chicken. There was a guy filming, Tajiri Shinkichi. He was a sculptor who lived in Maastricht. He filmed using the Sony Portapak, which had just arrived on the market. This was in 1969–70 and the Portapak dates back to 1966–67. So it was very recent. The guy filmed the happening and showed us straight after. Jacques Lizène and I said to ourselves: “We have to do something with this! We need to invite people to work from this.” We searched for the equipment, which was not easy to find or to hire. It was too expensive. Then I talked to a friend who worked at Philips and who said, “We sell surveillance cameras. If it interests you …” And I thought: “Well, yes! We’re going to have a camera and a monitor. We’re going to do something from that.”
Then you called on a whole series of artists.
Exactly. We sent out a paper: artists’ proposals for a TV circuit.
How did you select the artists at the time?
DuMont, in Cologne, had published a book called Projekte, Concepte, Aktionen (1971), with Walter Aue. It was a kind of compilation. We did that a lot at that time. We asked the artists to send a page and we would publish them. We asked Walter Aue for the file and we sent the file to goodness knows how many people. Sixty of them responded.
And out of those sixty who replied, did they all come?
No, no. That was the principle of Conceptual Art as well: dematerialized art, art of the idea. This information could be sent from a distance. We received proposals from Douglas Huebler, Dan Graham, and so on. The aim of the event was to work on the process of information, to work on the specificities of the proposed material. The equipment was a black-and-white TV tuner, a microphone, a diffuser, a black-and-white camera. The environment for the exhibition was the gallery, a closed space. The projection was directed outwards, towards the window. I introduced a technical team, which was there for the artists. The technical team was basically me, who knew nothing about it, Jacques Lizène, and my wife. The equipment died on us after a day and a half. So we didn’t do everything we had planned.