Data sheet (Research project):
|Rewind/Fast-Forward: A Commentary on REWIND: Artists' Videos in the 70s & 80s|
|Title of research project|
REWIND: Artists' Videos in the 70s & 80s
|Location of research project|
The University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
1- Conservation of media art
Observer: Dina Vescio
The longevity of video art produced in the 1970s and 80s in the United Kingdom is the focal point of REWIND, a four-year (2004-2008) research project that was awarded £433,350 (~$864,297.15 CAD) in funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council. By addressing issues regarding the conservation and documentation of video art, REWIND seeks to develop the historical knowledge of the evolution of media arts in the United Kingdom.
Consisting of administrators, archivists, art historians, curators, writers and film and visual media professionals, the REWIND Advisory Panel determines which artists/artworks will be examined, documented and migrated through a series of case studies performed by the REWIND Research Team, supervised by Stephen Partridge (Professor of Media Art and Associate Dean of Research & Enterprise at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, the University of Dundee).
The project is divided into three stages. First, in order to properly conserve each artwork, all of the technical components are assessed. The research team re-masters single screen and installation works on Digital Betacam and consequently, archives these works at the University of Dundee and the Scottish Screen Archive. Additionally, the team produces DVD copies of the works and makes them available to the public through the Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts and CARTE; this facilitates the future access and research of these works.
Second, the team assembles pertinent written documentation on the history of each artwork. The REWIND website acts as an archive containing the research team’s case study findings on approximately 50 artists. Artist bibliographies and interviews, photographs, exhibition invitations and reviews, lists of artworks completed and exhibited, and published articles can be perused by the general public through a searchable database.
Lastly, REWIND seeks ways to exhibit the artworks once they have been conserved and documented. Two exhibitions of the re-mastered works have already taken place:
1) Rewind Soft Launch at the Visual Research Centre and Dundee Contemporary Arts in April 2006. This exhibition showcased project findings, re-staged several installations, presented a video/performance that had not been seen for nearly 30 years, included a lecture and roundtable discussion involving REWIND participants and featured access to the REWIND database and website; and 2) Lost and Found: Recovered Video Works from the 1970s at Dundee Contemporary Arts in November 2007. This exhibition showcased video works unseen since the 1970s that were recovered and preserved by REWIND.
In its final year, REWIND hopes to realize two major endeavors: 1) an academic publication, edited by Professor Sean Cubitt, archiving the project’s research methodology, documenting the case study findings, and recapping the journey of the project in its entirety; and 2) a touring exhibition showcasing the collection and research project as a whole.
The completion of the research project looks hopeful. In a recent email correspondence with REWIND’s Media Archivist Adam Lockhart, it was confirmed that research is well-advanced and upcoming events have been secured; updates to the database are constant, lectures have been given at international conferences such as FACT in Liverpool and the University of Sunderland and scratch video works from the 1980s will be shown at Dundee Contemporary Arts cinema in the spring.
Through its case studies, database and website, REWIND confronts the ephemeral and unpredictable state of technology, emphasizes the importance of the archive and maintains an efficient tool for researchers facing similar media challenges. As REWIND digitizes video artworks of the 1970s and 80s in the United Kingdom the original condition of the artwork – including the deterioration of the image, color or sound – is preserved, thereby enriching the history of video art and expanding its future.
REWIND:Artists" Videos in the 70s & 80s
Visual Research Centre
Dundee Contemporary Arts
[Online] (Pages consulted January 29, 2008)