This essay outlines the historiographic implications of the strange convergence between Berlin Dadaist Raoul Hausmann's Optophon (1920–1936)—a “synaesthetic” instrument designed to transform sound signals into light signals and vice versa—and Nam June Paik's pioneering 1960s television work. Hausmann articulated a new, “televisual” form of presence, which also implied a new form of tele-tactility. As his notion of tactility returns in Paik's work, the Optophon might be construed as the historical origin of the genre called “video art.” Yet, it could be argued that Hausmann's technological reasoning produced an interruption at the very site where such art-historical legacies are constituted.

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