Visitors to Tethervision may notice that the website hasn’t published any new content since the beginning of 2011. Rather than Tethervision coming to an end with Black Swans Episode 3, we have been working and developing ideas to progress towards an artist run television channel.
The initial aim of Tethervision was clear: frequent, short videos on or around contemporary art in all its manifestations. Over time, this has developed into other areas but in taking it forward, we intend to explore several methods. In the coming months, we hope that the Tethervision website will evolve into an informal resource that will provide information about the books, articles, films, lectures and conversations we have around the ideas of artist television.
One early question in response to some of our current reading on the subject is in relation to power and control. Television ‘reduces viewers to mere consumers’…. ‘doesn’t allow you to talk back’…. ‘we have no right of reply anyway, no real opportunity to take part in the debate’. These statements were written in 1979, in a book entitled ‘Local Television: Piped Dreams?’. The internet revolution, Web 2.0, Twitter, interactive television – all these things have created the impression of a real change in media control but is this an illusion?

In developing Tethervision, we don’t want to get caught up (purely) in the technological advances of the medium; the way it might mutate, evolve or hybridise into something entirely different. Rather, we are interested in exploring the kinds of programming that can be placed within this context, within the Idiot Box.
Watch Something New (Folly), San Francisco, 2011
There are some questions, perhaps obvious, that we would like to explore and if possible, answer, in no particular order:

What is the role of the artist in the world of internet broadcasting?

What is YouTube and internet television?

Years ago, an incredible exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester showed how in the future we could pause and rewind live TV. In many ways, we are living in the future that we imagined! Is this what we expected?

With the potential introduction of YouView, internet and television broadcasting will have the opportunity to evolve into a new product with the capacity to act a platform for new models of interactions between producers and the viewer. Or will this new hybrid existing across the two mediums merely serve as a reincarnation of the established corporate power dictating to the consumer, what they want and need and expect from their existence?

As a society becoming consumed by the expectation of having information immediately at our fingertips, everything is reported, everything is recorded and everything is replayed. Is there too much? Will we hit a tipping point? What will happen to the 2 days worth of video content uploaded to YouTube every minute? As more and more documents are produced and fill more and more datacentres, will bankrupt countries become data islands, huge 100 mile long warehouses filled with redundant documents that people thought would give them their 15 minutes? Who decides what’s important and what should survive? Do we need to have a spring clean?

Somebody once told us about 2026 being the year that everything will change and humans will bond with machines. Are we destroying ourselves?


There will be several outcomes to the current research, one of which will be a series of three Pilots for new programs that we will produce and commission, part funded by Arts Council England.