History of Art and Architecture

Paulina Pardo Colloquium

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 12:00pm

Room 202, Frick Fine Arts Building

“Lost Videocassettes and Reused Magnetic Tapes: An Early History of Brazilian Video Art”

The early history of video art from Latin America is punctuated by works recorded on magnetic tapes that were lost over time due to minimal preservation efforts and a generalized reuse of materials. Artists in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico usually recorded over used videocassettes, and mailed their master copies to museums and colleagues for their public exhibition during the 1970s and early 1980s, given their limited access to editing tables and the elevated costs of imported videotapes. This presentation will trace little recorded exhibitions that took place in Brazil during the 1970s, highlighting efforts for restoring lost works and regaining access to previously disappeared videotapes.Drawing from accounts of works produced in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, this presentation will discuss curatorial enterprises that have brought to life previously disappeared videos through research, restoration, and preservation efforts. Through key examples, this presentation will ask how lost, remade, and retrieved works have contributed to reconfiguring the history of video art in 1970s Brazil. When considering these works within exhibition networks, questions on the materiality of works on video help examining how the composition of Brazilian cultural institutions has determined the art historical approach to the medium.Reflecting on the Brazilian institutional preservation practices that have partially determined art history discourses, this presentation ultimately aims to revise how the history of Brazilian video art has been told and to propose a comprehensive approach that considers curatorial, preservation, and distribution practices.