Television as before, reworked. A talk format focused on the spoken word. Charlotte Roche, Jan Böhmermann and five guests converse for 60 minutes before an audience of 100. Entirely in keeping with the style of earlier discussion panels on public broadcasting TV (such as the legendary »Ende offen ...« programme), there are no big backdrops or plastered-on smiles. This is about simple, honest discourse in a stripped-back setting. The conversation touches on society, culture and politics. The main topics are determined by the configuration of guests and presenters.
Conceptually, the programme is on a quest for the »truthfulness« of TV, and so must first demystify the medium. The microphones, cameras and lighting are visible. It is clearly shown that this is a medium, that it is »produced«, that it censors, that it beautifies. Television is celebrated as a medium. What are the morals of those who create it, and of those who receive it?
The talk show set has been stripped-back to an empty, darkened space featuring only the most essential items, without any elaborate staging: a table and chairs, and a luminaire suspended overhead. The round table in the War Room of Stanley Kubrik’s 1964 film »Dr. Strangelove« was the inspiration for the concept. A large, circular pendant luminaire above the round table is the binding element in this film for a poker game involving 36 people negotiating the fate of the Earth. The cold and diffuse light from the pendant luminaire intensives the naked and grotesque irony of the movie scene.
The lighting set for the talk show also strives to achieve a somewhat comparable mood through the light design. The diffuse and intensive light of the pendant luminaire presents the »unvarnished« panel discussion and is a conscious stylistic device. The necessary light is decoupled from the pendant luminaire by means of a removable stretch ceiling film. Two contour light lines help increase perception of the large luminaire as a solid body in the dark studio. The luminaire with its solid sheet steel housing is suspended from the ceiling by four steel cables. A custom-made transport case was included during delivery to ensure the safe storage of the luminaire between the different takes.
The talk show was awarded the German »Filmförderpreis« (film sponsorship award). The jury said: »Philipp Käßbohrer and Matthias Schulz have visually and contextually shaped the much regarded ZDFkultur talk show.«
PHOTOGRAPHY: BTF, LICHTWERKE