WGBH Openvault

New Television; New Television, Episode 501; Berlin/Nilreb: Tourist Journal

Part of New Television Workshop.

Ken Kobland's "Berlin/Nilreb: Tourist Journal" depicts the city of Berlin, evoking the experience of the traveler and calling attention to the Berlin Wall, which was removed a year after this work was made. The video shows several events occurring in "real time," such as a film playing on an airplane, children playing soccer in a park, or a nude woman seen lying in bed as her image is reflected in a mirror. Street scenes of contemporary city life and architecture are incorporated with images from Walter Ruttman's 1927 film "Berlin: Symphony of a Great City." At one point, a speech John F. Kennedy gave in 1963 denouncing Berlin serves as a voiceover. The work ends with the clutter of a desk being cleared to reveal a miniature model of the Berlin Wall. Artificial snow falls, covering the model and the room that houses it. Approximate date: 1988

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New Television
New Television, Episode 501
Program Number



Berlin/Nilreb: Tourist Journal

Series Description

"New Television" began as a local pilot production of WNET (New York) in 1986. In 1987, WGBH signed on as co-producer, and the shows were aired in Boston and New York. In 1988 and 1989, KCET (Los Angeles) and WETA (D.C.) became producers in association. In 1991, PBS picked up "New Television," and it was broadcast nationally. The following year, the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, replaced WNET, WETA, and KCET as co-producer with WGBH. In 1993, WGBH ceased to be a co-producer for the series, and the "home base" moved to Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) in Hartford, CT.

"New Television" commissioned, produced, and acquired programming. In its early years, "New Television" broadcast works commissioned by The Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund. Increasingly, experimental films as well as video works were broadcast as a part of this series. Many of the later episodes of "New Television" contain works that play with and deconstruct the documentary genre. Series release date: 1986

Program Description

Includes Ken Kobland’s “Berlin/Nilreb: Tourist Journal” and Nancy Buchanan’s “Sightlines.”

Asset Type


Media Type


Kobland, Ken
Film and Television
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “New Television; New Television, Episode 501; Berlin/Nilreb: Tourist Journal,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 25, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_10E640ADFED84DF5B832FE5267D65D3B.
MLA: “New Television; New Television, Episode 501; Berlin/Nilreb: Tourist Journal.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 25, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_10E640ADFED84DF5B832FE5267D65D3B>.
APA: New Television; New Television, Episode 501; Berlin/Nilreb: Tourist Journal. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_10E640ADFED84DF5B832FE5267D65D3B
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