Record > Again! 40yearsvideoart.de Part 2

Research project on video art

The first part of the exhibition project 40yearsvideoart.de examined the history and current situation of video art at five venues in Germany. These exhibitions presented a panorama of a relatively new art form which is just beginning to establish its own canon. The preliminary work on the project involved an extensive restoration of pieces made in the 1960s and 1970s that showed serious signs of deterioration. Unfortunately, much of the restoration work has not yet been completed.

Part 2 of the project concentrated on converting the video material from this early period to modern systems. The major problem facing the restorers involved the wide variety of tape and cassette forms used until the late 1970s which are completely unknown or obsolete today. To make matters worse, many videos cannot be viewed because the players are no longer available. The goal of the project was to assemble a large collection of old, functioning video systems and develop techniques to restore the unplayable material at a reasonable cost. The hope was to copy and re-master the video works in high-quality digital format, preserving them for the long term.

The project has restored and digitalized video works by a number of renowned video artists, such as Ulrike Rosenbach, Gerd Conradt, Michael Geissler, the Telewissen Group, Sotirios Michou, Christof Kohlhöfer, Rudolf Herz and HA Schult.

The results of the project were presented in an exhibition that illustrated the problems with viewing early pieces of video art with today's projection technology. For example, an old black-and-white video has a completely different feel when viewed on a contemporary flat screen monitor instead of the original television tube. Therefore, depending on when the pieces were made, the exhibition tried to present all the works on television sets from the 60s, 70s and 80s, in order to reconstruct the production conditions of video art over the years.

The project also published an extensive catalogue and DVD with around 50 video works from the past forty years which reflect the diversity of the German video art scene. These include Joseph Beuys's famous boxing match that he organized for the documenta V in 1972, the "Media Garden" by HA Schult from 1978, a practically unknown piece by Ulrike Rosenbach and Klaus vom Bruch from 1977, and an installation featuring Gerd Conradt's and Michaela Büscher's interview with Gretchen Dutschke from 1985. The DVD also includes works by Klaus Rinke and Ulrich Rückriem that were originally presented on Gerry Schum's "Television Gallery", a documentary about Anna Oppermann from 1977, and never before shown video material from the "Festival Genialer Dilletanten" (1981, Tempodrom, Berlin).

Artistic director: Peter Weibel
Project manager: Christoph Blase

Schedula and venues of the exhibition:
17 July 2009 - 06 Sept. 2009 ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
18 Sep. 2009 - 15 Nov. 2009 Ludwig Forum Aachen
28 Nov. 2009 - 14 Feb. 2010 Kunsthaus Dresden
26 Feb. 2010 - 25 Apr. 2010 Edith Russ Site for Media Art Oldenburg