TVE: primer intento fits within Muntadas' ongoing research into the process by which we read and assimilate information, and the mechanisms that the media employ to manipulate, limit and restrict this information. In 1988, Metrópolis, the most important art and culture magazine program on the second channel of Spain’s national television network (TVE), contacted Muntadas to discuss a possible monographic programme on his work that would coincide with his exhibition at the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid. The producers of the programme ended up accepting his counterproposal: Muntadas offered to produce a work about TVE.
Muntadas and a team of collaborators immersed themselves in the TVE archives for two years.
They found them in a state of total disorder: a huge amount of footage of a crucial part of Spain's recent history (from the fifties to the eighties) was piled up in boxes, in a terrible state of conservation, alongside shelves full of unused cameras and filming equipment. Muntadas filmed the state of neglect of the material, and at the same time recovered images from television programmes of the past. The result was TVE: primer intento.
When he presented the work, Metròpolis decided not to go ahead with the commission, without giving any reasons. Muntadas had put together a critical view of an institution that had grown under Franco's dictatorship and had remained endogamic and bureaucratic even after the advent of democracy. The footage also showed the parallels in the iconography and visual rhetoric of the image of Franco and that of King Juan Carlos.That experience led Muntadas to create a new work about censorship: The File Room, an electronic archive that documents the history of cultural and social censorship from the ancient Greeks up until the present. The first case of censorship that it looked at was precisely the refusal by Metropòlis to broadcast TVE: primer intento. Years later, on 20 January 2012, Metropòlis produced a monograph on Muntadas, in the form of a long interview that looked back over his career. It included images from TVE: primer intento, among other works.
Gold does not take on any dirt. And gold, just are diamonds, is an exalted material. It possesses such a degree of abstraction that it encounters you –if you use it artistically– on an already exalted level.