The New Grimme-Poster, epd medien Nr. 22, 23. März 2002, 2002-03-23

Hmm. Two green mineral water bottles stand in the left foreground. With their narrowing necks, they are reminiscent of the “¨Kölner Dom.” Without the nave, of course.

But even in miniature, the Dom would barely fit in this interior, ample as the space may be: “altbau” architecture, three and a half meter ceilings, plenty of room. Who lives here? The new Grimme poster, the 38th, doesn’t hazard a guess. Presumably not a family, though. Rather, one of those creatures discovered by the press in the last years (decades?), and so relentlessly followed: singles. The seating situation points to this likelihood: just one rather voluminous armchair. Covered in laundry. The owner of this chair can obviously let himself go.

What else does he have? Cushions for lounging. A hi-fi system, as they used to be called. Hastily slapped together against the wall. With hip-high speakers. Behind the chair are book shelves- black wood, tall, mostly art books and graphic design volumes. How often does one of these actually get opened? Hard to say. By the chair and cushions is another obligatory fixture: a remote control. For the TV? For the hi-fi system? The Grimme poster-maker leaves this question open. Only the bluish, shimmering light of the large room, seemingly cast by a television outside of the frame of the picture, hints at an answer. Television: no longer an inanimate dummy, but a roommate of sorts. Just call him TV. The most taken-for-granted thing in the world. A central pillar of ever-present but secondary media, and therefore not actually present in the picture. All we have to do is extend out imagination slightly out of the line of sight of the picture.

Those who want to state things more clearly might say: “yeah, well that’s what things look like when media alienation takes over, as naturally as inconspicuously- in actuality, everything you could want is there, and nothing in this room is governed by lack of space or money. In short, this is what a more decked-out version of normal life looks like. And mind you, you’ll see no of those kitschy-chic modern emblems here- no philodendrons, no antlers or Che Guevara posters on the wall. This apartment is for living, for just being there. The turn of the millennium and all other such modern agitations go unnoticed here. Staged struggles between right and wrong are no longer necessary. That ideology is as passé as the term “the tube.” These people take no part in long lasting projects, nor do they really even bother opposing them. It is fitting that the news magazine “Focus” just proclaimed a new revolution with the age-old tag line: “you gotta have the tube.” The magazine exposed the taboo-breaking nature of the sciences’ conclusion: “kids need a television to grow up competently.”

Chosen TV shows are now recorded in tables, broken down graphically and tabulated- kids shows, talk shows… How exactly can this be right, when that quote comes from the same text that claims that the person wielding power in the family is the person wielding the remote? The authors seem not to have seen an average family in quite some time. Today, second, third, and fourth TV’s have put an end to the skirmishes on the borders of age and space: each family member can have their own way. After all, on the daily news show “Ländereport,” (what are kids watching, anyways, and until when?) an eight-year-old bambina from the country with the world’s lowest birth rate (Italy!) was quoted saying: “On my own TV I can channel surf as much as I want. Until midnight.”

For Gavyn Davies, boss of the BBC-Governors, this is the nightmare-scenario. The man, a public servant from the country that gave us the teletubbies, just launched a blistering diatribe against the corrupting influence on children of, above all, the now customary violence in today’s cartoons. He doesn’t forget, however, to single out the super-dominae of audiovisual barbarianism: video games, in all their excess vulgarity.

We see none of this, however, on Grimme TV. No Sony Playstation 2, no knobby, joystick-outfitted remote control. Jens Komossa doesn’t take things that far in his casual demonstration of TV-world, on his journey of discovery through the modern age.

Maybe his own TV, his reference point, was just unlucky, and these cultural icons were all sold out. No game console, nothing, not even by the super-store “Praktiker,” whose motto: “all out: unacceptable” seems not to apply in this particular situation. But don’t worry about all of that, Grimme lets you just watch TV.

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