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To conserve, not to incorporate, to demystify

I would like to deal with the issue of the archiving of audiovisual documents, a key theme of this encounter, by posing the following question: what is worthy of being handed down in order that its memory-document be preserved and conserved?

Has video art won the right to be archived, selected, analysed, classified and conserved? Digital technologies have produced a strong backlash against the very existence of video art, due to their tendency to assimilate differences and also because video art has been absorbed by more powerful disciplines such as cinema and the visual arts.
I hope in this contribution to re-identify the role which electronic-digital experimentation has played in the audiovisual family so as to reveal and pinpoint the aesthetic traits characterizing works produced using new technologies – the new media art – so that different issues may be correlated: what to conserve (criteria of selection, or what to hand down to history); what to preserve of the work (its specificity linked to the technologies used, to the production context, to the work of historicizing which the phenomenon has produced).
An example of paradoxical “ambiguity” is the law on registration of copyright of video works - which reveals the medley of incomprehension reigning in this field: where it would appear that the video auteur production is recognized and legitimated, it is in actual fact more often negated.
Here are just some of the many paradoxes of the law:
According to the Regulation, whoever produces videos – individual artist, company, university, local body, etc. - must, without consideration, deliver to the National Institute for Graphics “within sixty days of the first distribution to the public" 2 reproducible copies, which are to be included within the National Archive, and 2 copies must be delivered to an official in charge, which each Region is required to appoint within a short timeframe.
It is still unclear which videos are required to be registered, and whether selection criteria are applicable (suggested by the term ‘art’) to the categories identified in the Regulation.
If a video is to be considered an "artist’s video" whenever its author himself makes a declaration to this effect, then if a person declares that he did “not” intend to make a work of art, he would in this way avoid compliance with the law.




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