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Samtida konst på bästa sändningstid: Konst i svensk television 1956–1969
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Contemporary art on prime time : Arts programming on Swedish television 1956–1969 (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation investigates the mediation of art on Swedish television during the 1950s and 1960s. The aim is to examine how the new medium of television was put to use in the dissemination and promotion of contemporary and modernist art during this time. The primary research question concerns the significance and consequences of television as a media form for the practices of art popularization and art education. The introduction of the new medium coincided with the post-war emergence of the welfare state and ambitions of governmental and non-governmental organizations and initiatives to make modern art an integral part of modern society. This dissertation investigates the role and significance of television in these endeavours from the point of view of Sveriges Radio/TV, by focusing on the actors involved as well as the form and content of arts programming at the time. The study makes use of mediatization theory and the concept of remediation, in order to capture and analyse the dynamics as well as the conflicts between television and art at the time. The study uses the method of media-specific genre analysis, inspired by cultural theory, asserting that arts programming is a cultural category made up of practices and processes and interwoven with ideological structures and power relationships. The dissertation is divided into three chapters investigating different aspects of the phenomenon of art on TV during the specific historical period.

 The dissertation shows how the 1950s and 1960s witnessed great hopes for television as a way of disseminating art and educating the public on matters of art, aspirations closely connected to notions of art distribution as a way to achieve cultural democratization. First and foremost, however, the close study of the practices of arts programming shows how the relationship between television and art at the time was also characterized by problems and conflict. Using the terminology of mediatization theory, it is possible to speak of conflicts between distinct logics. These conflicts can further be understood on several levels, adhering to the twin logics of remediation: transparent immediacy and hypermediacy. The actors involved all shared a view of television as the great medium of the future when it came to disseminating and promoting art to the wider public. However, they also shared notions of television’s limitations when it came to the matter of ”doing justice” to a work of art when broadcast. This was first and foremost considered to be purely a matter of technical limitations, such as the lack of colour and the small screen size. It is however also evident that the actors’ view of their task and that of the medium with regard to arts programming, to represent works of art to the viewers as honestly as possible, delimited the form and content of shows and programming. On another level, the conflict between art and television was a matter of art’s supposedly critical and societal value. According to the actors, art was considered something other than regular programming, in the sense that art constituted different ways of seeing and perceiving the world. The function and importance of arts programming, then, was considered to be in the ways it differed from regular programming, making possible to educate the TV-viewing public in critical thinking towards the manipulation of media as well as providing ways of developing the form and aesthetics of the television medium.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Mediehistoria, Lunds universitet , 2016. , 304 p.
, Mediehistoriskt arkiv, ISSN 1654-6601 ; 31
Keyword [en]
Television, modern art, Sweden, arts programming, mediatization, remediation, cultural history of television genres, Sveriges Radio, Kristian Romare, Lennart Ehrenborg, Torbjörn Axelman, Moderna Museet, Multikonst
National Category
Art History
Research subject
Art History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128838ISBN: 978-91-981961-5-3ISBN: 978-91-981967-5-7OAI: diva2:917111
Public defence
2016-05-13, Auditoriet, Humanistvillan, Frescativägen 24 E, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-04-20 Created: 2016-04-05 Last updated: 2016-04-06Bibliographically approved

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