In July 2018, Argos initiated the research project 'Artists’ film and video in Belgium in the 1970s' in collaboration with several academic and cultural partners, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA), the Brussels university VUB, the University of Liège and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Argos is investigating and reconstructing how Belgian artists made use of film and video in the 1970s, through extensive interviews with artists as well as an exhaustive study of literature and sources in relevant archives. Argos’ own collection and archive, comprising more than 5,000 artists’ films and videos, will be the point of departure.
An important reason for the survey is the limited durability of videotapes and films. Therefore the project will combine art-historical research with a material-technical investigation. The artists will be asked to explain how the art works were installed in the past, and how that could be translated today to new playback equipment and contemporary modes of presentation. The number of tapes and their condition will be thoroughly inspected. In a second stage, a selection of the found material will be digitised and restored. Finally, in the last stage, the investigated material and the research conclusions will be shared with both a professional and a broader audience. It is our ambition, together with the project partners, to mount a publication, a conference and several exhibitions/screenings.
In the course of the project (2018-2021), a number of activities and events – such as Erfgoeddag 2019 (Heritage Day) – will frequently put a spotlight on Belgium’s rich archive of artists’ films and videos from the 1970s.