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ZKM Presents Part 2 of Exhibition Dedicated to the History of German Video Art
Typical former half inch video device of the 1960s © ZKM. Poto: Franz Wamhof

KARLSRUHE.- “RECORD > AGAIN! – – Part 2” is dedicated to the history of German video art from its beginnings in the 1960s and 1970s through to the early twenty-first century. Shown will be numerous discoveries, unavailable for viewing for decades. Many tapes had to be laboriously restored in the ZKM Laboratory for Antiquated Video Systems in order to make them at all playable. Another special feature will be the presentation of the material on screens from each video’s original era.

“RECORD > AGAIN!” presents about fifty videos from the past forty years that exemplarily reflect the diversity of the German video scene. Shown, for example, will be the famous boxing match that Joseph Beuys fought at the documenta 5 in 1972 the reconstruction of the work Schafe by Wolf Kahlen, shown on six monitors, which was last screened in 1976; early video synthesizer works by Walter Schröder-Limmer; Medienhaus by HA Schult from 1978; a virtually unknown work by Ulrike Rosenbach and Klaus vom Bruch from 1977; and an installation with a Gretchen-Dutschke interview by Michaela Buescher and Gerd Conradt, expanded with current material.

Several works, providing evidence that videos were also produced in East Germany, present an art historical sensation. For example, the exhibition will include a small film document, showing a half-inch video device with which an art performance by Michael Morgner was recorded in East Germany in 1981. The video tapes themselves, however, remain missing. Also screened will be the video action “Achtung Kamera,” that Wolf Kahlen carried out together with A.R. Penck in 1980 in East Berlin, the reconstruction of a video object by Jörg Herold from 1988, and the tape Herakles, that Lutz Dammbeck produced in East Germany in 1984.

Researching video history today means, primarily, making audio-visual material from past decades once again visible. There is a great deal of stored material forgotten in museum depots and artist’s studios, that has no chance of being watched. The video players for the content stored on reels in one-inch, half-inch, or even quarter-inch formats, on strange square or even pentagonal cassettes have disappeared or are broken. And the tapes themselves are barely able to be played as they have begun to gradually dissolve and stick together. In order to put a stop to this decay, the Laboratory for Antiquated Video Systems was created at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in 2004. In the meantime, the lab has a large, functioning historical equipment park paired with modern digital technology, making it possible to again view more than fifty video formats from the 1960s to the 1980s, to digitize them, and thereby preserve them for posterity.

The famous work Objekt zur teilweisen Verdeckung einer Videoszene by Reiner Ruthenbeck from 1974 will be shown in a version three-times longer than the hitherto screened version, and the merely rudimentarily preserved tape Wir malen mit dem Rot des Kohls by Claus Böhmler, likewise from 1974, was completely reconstructed in an elaborate process from several fragments coming from different collections. Two tapes by Wolfgang Stoerchle, an important figure in the Californian video scene in the early 1970s, who died in 1976, and whose work later became entirely forgotten, present an important discovery. The early German closed-circuit work Der Magische Spiegel, which Herbert Schuhmacher realized in 1970 with the group Telewissen, and whose reconstruction can already be seen at ZKM, will be shown as a documentary, supplemented with a remake done in 2008, thirty-eight years later.

Also presented will be works from the television gallery of Gerry Schum with Klaus Rinke and Ulrich Rückriem as well as a documentary about Anna Oppermann from 1977 or an early, two-channel work by Ursula Wevers. And shown for the first time will be the complete version of Holger Czukay’s Jahresrückblick 1982, and previously unscreened video material from the 1981 “Festival Genialer Dilletanten” in Berlin’s Tempodrom.

ZKM | Wolf Kahlen | A.R. Penck | Ulrike Rosenbach | Klaus vom Bruch | HA Schult |

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