Checkpoint 95

Checkpoint 95
Live satellite television production with telerobotic application
June 20th, 1995, 22.30 – 24.00 h CET
A “Stadtwerkstatt-TV” project, in cooperation with “Paper Tiger TV”, New York, and “Association of New-Screen-Technologies”, Moscow, on the occasion of the then 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Three simultaneous, interwoven TV shows from the STWST-TV studios on the Nibelungenbrücke, Linz; Studio RTR, Moscow; BMCC Media Center, NYC, connected by a multimedia satellite link: Moscow - Linz - New York.

After the end of the Second World War Linz became a divided city. South of the Danube was the American and north in Urfahr the Russian occupation zone. Checkpoints were set up on the bridge and passers-by had to show their identity cards to American and Russian soldiers at the checkpoints. A concrete indication of the Cold War: the soldiers were not allowed to enter each other's zones.

Checkpoint 95
The cities of Moscow, Linz and New York were connected in every direction by image, sound and data lines. The signals were transmitted via satellite from Linz to Moscow or New York, where they were fed into the TV studios and sent back to Linz after being processed with image technology. The television studio installed in Linz was given a kind of server function. In Linz, the signals and data streams from Moscow and New York were coordinated after renewed video and control technology processing, prepared for broadcasting and made available to the European television audience via 3sat. From Moscow, the signals and data streams were simultaneously broadcast live from the RTR (Radio Telivsion Russia) studio across the entire broadcasting area of the former USSR in a total of 11 time zones. From the NY studio, live cable broadcasts were made throughout the state and later, time-shifted via the “Deep Dish” satellite network, to TV operators throughout the USA.

The Encounter
The telepresence system P.R.D. (“Parallel Room Display”) developed for this application enabled the “Telenautinen” from their studios in Moscow and New York to have a real presence on the neutral floor of the Nibelungen Bridge in Linz - visually, acoustically and mechanically. Through a combination of control engineering as well as mechanical and opto-acoustic procedures, a connection between the interior of the cockpits in the studios and the surrounding space of the tele-mobiles on the Nibelungen Bridge, which are remotely controlled by the Telenautinen, was made possible. The rooms were, so to speak, moved parallel into each other.

Former soldiers, veterans from the Russian and American occupation zone, who had been here on the bridge 50 years earlier and were not allowed to make contact with each other at that time, were thus allowed to return to the bridge.
From their former bases they started a kind of “time travel” and moved from Moscow and NY through a course designed on the Nibelungen Bridge. Its individual stops reminded of the end of the Second World War and the subsequent beginning of the Cold War. On the middle of the bridge they met in Linz with their tele-mobiles from Moscow and NY. Such a meeting was not possible 50 years ago. It became a historical event, which viewers from all over the world could participate live via TV and which was dedicated by the people involved to the peace of nations.

The Telekonference
A further component of the worldwide media production was the teleconference. While the telenautes embarked on a journey of discovery through a parcours of room installations specially designed for the topics of the conference, further participants in the discussion were connected. The topics range from the Nibelungs and their saga, which gave the bridge its name, to borders of all kinds and the possibility of overcoming them through communication technology.
As the conference continues, the discussion will focus more and more on the topic of the dissolution of boundaries. Towards the end, there is a final condensation and superimposition of images and sounds from all three studios, up to the complete dissolution of spatial separation.

Checkpoint 95 ++ Fotos
Parallel-Raum-Display ++

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