Television Without Frontiers

Sammanfattning: Television Without Frontiers revolves around a TV experiment titled Eurikon, realized in 1982 in an effort to explore the possibility of developing a public service channel spanning the entirety of Western Europe and the Mediterranean region. The experiment was initiated by the European Broadcast Union and organised as a collaboration between fifteen national public service networks. The outset of the investigation is that Eurikon marks a significant shift in geopolitical media politics, where national boundaries of broadcast media in Europe began to dissolve. Furthermore, the project explores how this shift was part of a complex web of ideological, structural, and material conditions that partly converge in Eurikon. Through a genealogical inquiry, the dissertation seeks to shed light on the significance of public service in contemporary European society. The project consists of two corresponding elements: one is a film that can be described as a documentary performance that follows a tv format; the other is a text which seeks to bring the viewer to light, as well as the relationships and institutional structures which surround the documentary performance and the act of viewing. These two elements converge and diverge as they unfold. There is also a third element, consisting of an enactment which remains only as traces in film and text. The enactment is a complex composition of negotiations and experiences based on both the fictional and the actual. The legitimacy of liberal democracy to a large extent rests on notions of a cohesive public sphere, simultaneity, and a delimited geographical continuum defined by nation, national culture, and common language. Through its critical investigations of translation, community, and the role and status of the spectator, the argument of this dissertation is that changes in these conditions have led to a crisis of legitimacy of European liberal democracy. Eurikon’s attempt to test how these structures and institutional formats can be transferred or transformed into a transnational, European context can be read as an early response to this predicament.

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