Laura Leuzzi, Stephen Partridge – Rewind Italia: Early Video Art in Italy


John Libbey Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-0861967216, English, Italian, 352 pages, 2015, UK

Media art in the second half of the twentieth century is closest to the current post-digital situation, but curiously it is still not properly documented. This is particularly the case in the transitional years from the end of sixties to the end of eighties – the “analogue heroes” years as they might be called. These form the hinge between the pre-digital and the globally interconnected digital world. The ephemerality of both video equipment and video storage formats decide the fate of original materials; there is no legacy with younger generations and work of the time experienced difficulties with communicating and sharing. These all pose serious problems when it comes to reconstructing this fundamental period in the history of media art. That is why major research, such as that documented in this book, is particularly valuable. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), UK,, it reengages often rare documents about the lively Italian video art scene of that period, including local production studios, venues, curators and artists, but also the relationship with international guests and their guest interventions. The inability of any comparable Italian institution to embrace this task says a lot, together with the problem of having a “foreign” methodology accepted. This adds value to this impressive anthology, mostly unique in its kind, which surely benefits from a non-local perspective. And even if a lot has been included, there are still a few areas that haven’t been explored yet, which hopefully will be covered in a future volume.