ARTE shows short films by video art pioneer David Hall

“Tap Piece”, David Hall, 1971 ©arte/screenshot

In its latest issue[1] , the short film magazine “Kurzschluss” on Arte focused on the theme of irritations and dedicated itself to the works of the British television and video art pioneer David Hall. Following the original conception, three of his “TV Interruptions” were embedded in the magazine program and the importance of David Hall as an artist was highlighted in a supplementary feature. hus, David Hall and his “TV Interruptions (7 TV Pieces),” which are little known to the public but have written television and video art history, were fortunately made visible again. Reason enough to draw attention to it here – especially since the show is still available in the online media library until June!



Shot on 16mm, the short films were commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council for the Edinburgh Festival in 1971 and broadcast by Scottish TV. As intermission films with irritating content, they interrupted the flow of programming and broke viewers’ television habits.


For Hall, video art was not a side product of television technology, but an integral part of the medium of television. With his video art works, he explicitly did not aim at the art market, but at a broad public through television broadcasting. His strategy was to provoke and disrupt everyday broadcasting. He hoped that these interventions would lead viewers to reflect on the conditioned expectations of television conventions and to think about the medium itself.

Hall’s works were conceived as mirrors in which the viewer, interacting with his or her image as a collaborator rather than a spectator, was “simultaneously the viewer in a process of self-referential consciousness.”[2]


One of the TV Interruptions (Tap Piece, 3:31) featured in Short Circuit Magazine begins with a white screen. A faucet is moved into the empty screen space and turned on. The water flows in real time into an (invisible) tank – until the water level seemingly fills the television set. This incidentally draws attention to a specific characteristic of the television image, in which the image space, in contrast to the cinema space, has the character of a window.



In addition to the media-historical classification of David Hall and his works by Margit Rosen (ZKM), the magazine issue includes contributions about and films by Johann Lurf, Stefan Panhans and Corinna Schnitt.


URL of the complete program in the Arte Mediathek (until 9.6.2022)

URL TV Interruption “Tap Piece” (direct)

Distribution: LUX

Exhibition TV Interruptions – The Installation (remade 2006): Tate Collection


[1] Kurzschluss – “Focus on Irritations, March 14, 2022, 01:15 – 02:15 a.m.

Focus on Irritations, March 14, 2022, 01:15 – 02:15 a.m.: Daniel Ebner, Uwe Winter, Katrin Mundt, Maike Mia Höhne; Editor: Catherine Colas

[2] David Hall, “The Video Show”, in Art and Artists issue no. 110,1975