Challenging the Cultural Amnesia of Historical Video Art


With an increased presence of exhibitions focusing on video art’s history since the turn of the century there is a need to develop curatorial strategies that challenge the amnesic effects that time has had on this past which have been accelerated by the obsolescence of technology. For the curator of video art histories this presents a range of new problems relating to archiving - saving the work from extinction through restoration - and the re-presentation of the work - remaking the work for exhibitions because it needs to be played on new equipment in a different physical or virtual state. Currently, there are divergent approaches to the ‘remaking’ of historical video art works for re-presentation within the gallery space. On the one hand, there are those that strongly argue for the presentation of the video in a physical state close to its original staging while, on the other, there is an increasing number of artists and curators that take a revisionist approach that warrants flexibility and deviation. In this essay, I will examine the key issues relating to the restoration and re-presentation of historical video art works before presenting a range of case studies in which historical works have been reworked in consideration of new technology. My aim is to offer emerging perspectives on revisionist approaches to presenting historical video artworks and thus challenging the cultural amnesia of video art’s history.

Author Information
Matthew Perkins, Melbourne Girls Grammar School, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2020
Stream: Media History

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Video Presentation

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon