At last, here is a summary of my input to the “Short Shorts” or “Grand Finale” or “Wisdom and Wit” or “Messages with Meaning for our Tomorrow” at 40th International Features Conference.
In Leipzig I referred to a number of contributions with the following essence: “One of the strongest remedies for the survival of radio documentary will be the visualisation of radio”.
My point of view: This would mean giving up the main virtues of the non-visual medium. That is: creating images in the heads of listeners – as many different visual and intellectual associations as single human beings are listening to our programmes; making each of them to co-authors. In the end, to add pictures and other side-effects would mean to “to cut the branch on which we are sitting”, as Germans use to say.
I gave different examples for what I mean. For instance: In the last year’s spectacular exhibition of drawings and woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) I saw a series of prints, plainly black and white. But artists of that time – so the Dürer family too – survived by selling those sheets on market places, and in order to make them more attractive they colorized them, using base colours – Red, Yellow, Blue. They may have been successful. But the comparison of both series in the Frankfurt exhibition revealed: All the refinement of the originals had been eliminated by adding “attraction”. The result were flat Mickey-mouse-like comics, so to say. Artistic suicide.
Now draw your own conclusions …
To make a five-minute-lecture short: What I plead for, is the author and his voice (in the widest sense of course); his tone, his humour, his folly, his weirdness, his entire personality; a human message to human ears, which doesn’t need “visualisation”.
This plea is no form of nostalgia – not at all. I claim to have been one of the first independent producers working digitally in the Mid-Nineties and I’m using all benefits of the marvellous tool called World Wide Web every day. But the basics of our audio-phonic trade must be preserved – on which future platform ever.