The VARIA – Video ARte in ItaliA platform presents the results of the Survey of Video Art and Art Films Archives in Italy, promoted by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity and Urban Regeneration and the universities of Turin, Milano-Bicocca, Udine and the Sapienza in Rome, in collaboration with the ICCD. VARIA gathers quantitative data about private and public collections of artistic audio-visual material to advance a qualitative understanding of processes and issues of conservation and the cataloguing and preservation tools used to manage these collections. The online platform presents the descriptive and documentary information gathered during these months to the public at different levels of accessibility, in accordance with applicable legislation. In addition to mapping the situation in Italy, the platform also implements ‘sustainable’ and ‘scientific’ strategies for the management of such a particular legacy.
The platform is fed by information provided by the national mapping campaign, coordinated at a regional level by scholars and professionals involved in the study and archiving of audio-visual practices. The platform is updated constantly and structured to ensure the auto-implementation of data by offering public and private subjects the possibility to participate in the survey.
The project and the platform were created with the following objectives in mind: on the one hand presenting and valorising audio-visual artistic practices, also in relation to their conservation, in order arrive – last but not least – at a revision of the history of video art and artistic films in Italy. This field suffers from many gaps resulting primarily from difficulties in accessing archives and works conserved on supports that are either obsolete or threatened by obsolescence; on the other hand, there is a desire to identify a cataloguing methodology and relative protocols and models of preservation suitable to the inherent complexity of video and film supports and their relative forms of expression (mono- or multi-channel transmission or projection), video installations, video performances, etc.).
Finally, the project explores legal issues related to the management of orphaned works, or those whose legal status is not entirely clear, as many are copies whose origin is almost impossible to reconstruct.
The Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity and Urban Regeneration coordinates a team of participants from the Università degli Studi di Torino, the Department of Jurisprudence at the Università Bicocca, the Department of Humanist Studies and Cultural Heritage at the Università degli Studi di Udine, the Department of Planning, Design and Architectural Technologies at the Università di Roma La Sapienza, in collaboration with the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione (ICCD), one of the initial promoters and now in charge of the project.
The survey is open to all museums, foundations, associations, private collectors, families and artists whose collections contain artworks, artist’s films or other documentation analog or digital supports. Click here to participate in the survey: http://varia.beniculturali.it/my-account/