Van Gogh TV´s “Piazza Virtuale” – Report-In-Progress and Preliminary Case study

  • Tilman Baumgärtel (Author)
    Hochschule Mainz

    Dr. Tilman Baumgärtel is manager of the research project "Van Gogh TV. Critical Edition, Multi-media-documentation and analysis of their Estate", that is supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). He lives in Berlin and teaches media studies at Hochschule Mainz. Previously he was a professor at the University of the Philippines in Manila (2005 - 2009) und at the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (2009 - 2012). He has written or edited a dozen books on various aspect of media culture, including internet art, computer games, the aesthetics of loops and the director Harun Farocki. The website of the research project is here.

  • Jens Schröter (Author)
    Universität Bonn

    Jens Schröter, Prof. Dr., is chair for media studies at the University of Bonn since 2015. He was Professor for Multimedial Systems at the University of Siegen 2008-2015. He was director of the graduate school “Locating Media” at the University of Siegen from 2008-2012. He is member of the DFG-graduate research center “Locating Media” at the University of Siegen since 2012. He was (together with Prof. Dr. Lorenz Engell, Weimar) director of the DFG-research project “TV Series as Reflection and Projection of Change” from 2010-2014. He was speaker of the research project (VW foundation; together with Dr. Stefan Meretz; Dr. Hanno Pahl and Dr. Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle) “Society after Money – A Dialogue”, 2016-2018. Since 4/2018 director (together with Anja Stöffler, Mainz) of the DFG-research project “Van Gogh TV. Critical Edition, Multimedia-documentation and analysis of their Estate” (3 years). Since 10/2018 speaker of the research project (VW foundation; together with Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gramelsberger; Dr. Stefan Meretz; Dr. Hanno Pahl and Dr. Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle) “Society after Money – A Simulation” (4 years). Director of the VW-Planning Grant “How is Artificial Intelligence Changing Science?” (Start: 1.5.2020, 1 Year, Preparation of Main Grant); April/May 2014: „John von Neumann“-fellowship at the University of Szeged, Hungary. September 2014: Guest Professor, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China. Winter 2014/15: Senior-fellowship at the research group „Media Cultures of Computer Simulation“, Summer 2017: Senior-fellowship IFK Vienna, Austria. Winter 2018: Senior-fellowship IKKM Weimar. Summer 2020: Fellowship, DFG special research area 1015 „Muße“, Freiburg. Recent publications: (together with „Project Society after Money“) Postmonetär denken, Wiesbaden: Springer 2018; (together with „Project Society after Money“): Society after Money. A Dialogue, London/New York: Bloomsbury 2019; (together with Armin Beverungen, Philip Mirowski, Edward Nik-Khah): Markets, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press and Lüneburg: Meson (Series: In Search of Media); Medien und Ökonomie, Wiesbaden: Springer 2019. Visit / /

  • Christoph Ernst (Author)
    Universität Bonn

    Christoph Ernst, PD Dr., is a research associate with the DFG project "Van Gogh TV. Critical Edition, Multimedia-documentation and analysis of their Legacy“ at the Department of Media Studies at the University of Bonn. Main research areas are: diagrammatics & media aesthetics of information visualization; theories of implicit knowledge & digital media, especially interface theory; media theory & media philosophy, especially with regard future media and imagination; aesthetics & theory of audiovisual media (film & television). Last publication: Diagrammatik - Ein interdisziplinärer Reader, ed. with Birgit Schneider and Jan Wöpking, Berlin: De Gruyter 2016; Medien und implizites Wissen, ed. with Jens Schröter, Siegen: Universitätsverlag 2017; Zukünftige Medien. Eine Einführung, with Jens Schröter, Wiesbaden: Springer VS; Diagramme zwischen Metapher und Explikation - Studien zur Medien- und Filmtheorie der Diagrammatik, Bielefeld: transcript 2020 (forthcoming).

Identifiers (Article)


"Piazza Virtuale" was a ground-breaking art project that took place in 1992 during documenta 9. For one hundered days the artists group Van Gogh TV broadcast daily on the public cable television station 3Sat. It was seen by millions. The group tested models of what audiovisual media could look like if the public were involved in their design – a utopian concept that began to become reality with the advent of the WorldWideWeb from 1994 onwards. In addition to media artists and activists from all over Europe and Japan, the public was also able to participate in the program online, by telephone and fax, and help shape it. The result was a temporary "virtual community" that can be regarded as the predecessor of many contemporary net communities. A number of the phenomena that shape net culture today could already be observed in nuce at "Piazza virtuale": from chats to shitstorms, from smart mobs to cybersex, from collective creation to live video streaming. In this essay, we will give an overview of the project and outline the division of labor between the two project partners. This will be followed by an introduction into the theoretical framework of our research, before we describe in detail the archival approach and research methods that we have employed so far.


Academic discipline and sub-disciplines
media studies, art history, media history
Contributor or sponsoring agency
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Type, method or approach
text, images, video
Media Art, Net Art, Television, documenta
How to Cite
Baumgärtel, Tilman, Jens Schröter, and Christoph Ernst. 2021. “Van Gogh TV´s ‘Piazza Virtuale’ – Report-In-Progress and Preliminary Case Study”. International Journal for Digital Art History, no. 5 (February):5.2-5.13.