n°5 – April 19, Video

Migrations. The artist videotape: from the analogue archive to the digital archive

Jean Otth, «Portrait de Laura Papi», 1975, Video Still. Archivio Storico delle Arti Contemporanee, Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia.


The process of obsolescence of recording and reproduction technologies, and the oblivion of the resulting works, do not define the only perspective from which we witness the risk of “cancellation” of the artist's videotapes, witnesses to the origins of the “video art” in the late 60s and early 70s. In other words, the fragility and the instability of the analog support exposed to physical-chemical and mechanical alterations (ie the irreversible wear of the magnetic tape which, passing through the readers’ heads, degrades the electronic signal and progressively “erases” the inscribed works in this support) they do not constitute, in fact, the only evidence of the risk of dissolution affecting the cultural history of this type of works. In the choice of the computer applications of which they are the object - with respect to the processes of migration from analogue to digital, of active conservation and restoration - a peculiar logic of “cancellation” acts here that we intend to investigate.

This article is available in ITA.


Cosetta Saba teaches at the University of Udine. His research orbits around the languages of art in all its forms and audiovisual manifestations; deals with visual aesthetics and cultures; of museography of movement images; of models of cataloging, documentation, archiving, preservation and digital restoration of artist films (reduced format), video and video installations; he is scientific director of the Camera Optics Lab (DIUM).