emergence of video art
in europe (1960s–1980s)


To date, there is no European-wide history of video art. It is this gap that the present research programme proposes to fill. Firstly by gathering data on the artists, the works and the events that enabled the emergence of this new artistic practice in the 1960s, or that were important in its development in the following years in Europe, and by bringing to light specific national conditions of production and distribution.

This programme is based on an initial mapping of video art on a European scale undertaken between 2016 and 2020 thanks to the organisation of research seminars at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), the Institut d’histoire de l’art in Paris (INHA) and the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL / HES-SO) in partnership with the Université Paris 8. This first research programme was jointly conducted by the Université Paris 8 and ECAL, co-financed by Arts-H2H laboratory of excellence and then EUR ArTec, in partnership with the BnF. This indexing should be continued with the aim of transnational rewriting.

The objective of this new research chapter (2021-2025) is twofold. On the one hand, it aims to re-evaluate continental production, to take the measure of its richness and variety, and to identify a European voice – mixed, plural, open, but nevertheless forming a cultural view – in the practice of video art. On the other hand, the aim is to rewrite the history of this medium on an international scale, offering an alternativ to the American specialised literature on the subject in order to draw other topographies (which also include Japan or South America), with Europe constituting a node within a wider network.

In order to carry out this project by renewing the approach to video art - both historiographically and theoretically -, the programme is relying on a network of some fifty national and international specialists, researchers, archive holders, artists, and witnesses that the previous research enabled to establish. By questioning the medium of video, the aim is also to contribute to the creation of an archaeology of new media in Europe through a series of publications and exhibitions.