Video Library and Online Database (Mario Franco)

Video library and on line Database
Text by Mario Franco


Besides a traditional exhibition space, a modern museum structure can offer to the visitor a different range of supports and documents to explain the historical and existential contest of the works themselves and of artists. So the academic with a fine eye for enduring research and informed by testimonial documents will be able to give an interpretation of artists work, find models, paradigms and congruities in forms and in the ways of working.
An archive, planned to inform and document, as part of a museum is seen as a laboratory where the visitor will be actively involved. The archive itself is a system of relations able to give a sort of flash back of a current or of a period to which we are still trying to find a meaning. To remember means to pick past, present and future up together in a segmentation of social signification. But in order to turn a simple record into a deeper memory, a multiplication of the whole possible references is to be need.
So the idea is to preserve the historical memory through a library and an archive, available on line, and of a video archive.

1) Library/archive and on line database
The introduction of on line database or «structured collections of data which are managed to meet the needs of a community of users, the structure is achieved by organizing the data according to a database mode» signs the difference between managing information and documentation activity. Up to the 40s till their affirmation in the 70s, databases allowed an increase of technical information managing. The extreme heterogeneity of today available information (internet but not only) upraises its versatility and expands users reference. But it’s also important to remember that all what we call collective memory means that information is collected through original documents and traditional supports (i.e. papers, catalogues, leaflets, photos, posters, invites and so on; video-cinematographs in case of documentaries, interviews, inquiries).
The collection and conservation of authentic materials is still the main element for a rich and reliable Archive. In this frame collected numbered and signed art books (libri d’arte) and films and videos have to be bought and sorted as Archives’ collective weal. At the same time this material will be copied and digitalized in order to be available for students, researchers, critics, academics that need to approach the contents of this heritage than the objective side. The consultation will be possible through a client-station of the Museum thanks to a database, soon available on line, with a subscription by public companies, libraries, foundations and no profit institutions.

2. Media library
A media library is a physical place where information and documents of any nature and support have been collecting, conservation and available to users. The increasing use of audio-visual supports as informative material is a very important element for a media library settlement.
The Media library department aims to create through a multimedia room where new technologies will be experimented, a place for didactical and cultural learning and a platform for experimental supports such as the on line “Distance Learning”. To the Media library consultation rooms belong different working platforms from where it will be possible to surf into the so named Multimedia Found (databases, digital collections and audio-visual materials). Videos and images will be professionally recordable.

3. Media library activity:
– planning and realization of digital downloading and multimedia production that aim to inform and promote the Museum’s activity
– in this department will take place, previous public and private institutions requests, courses, lectures and other activities
– the Media library will promote educative courses supported by the museum
– to support research and studying activities related to the digital saving of material
The Media library is public and some projections of the XX and XXI art, especially avant-garde, are already planned to be shown in the next months.

4. The Video library
A video library is characterized by the quality of the conserved materials and for their specificity related to the referred themes. The video library is the main department that belongs to the media library. It’s at the same time a place where information is collected and shown to the public. The laboratory spaces might have the possibility to become a platform for stages, meetings and film screening.
– Before the purchasing of material for the database a calendar of projections will take place in the Video Archive in order to show the videos in their best format and to promote the other Museum’s activities.

– The Collection is composed of original material, copies, industrial products and art works.

Many contemporary artists works with videos as support for documentation of performances and actions and as expressive support for their art. At the same time cinema and videos are used to promote and document artists lives, art currents, schools, movements that are nowadays available on thematic TV channels (Cult, Raisat, Discovery, History, etc…), on international film sections, concourses and festivals. More and more companies are engaged in this field selling videos and artists DVDs (i.e. Italian Raro Video, international professional libraries as Treasures from American Film Archives, Electronic Arts Internmix that collaborate and support museums’ activities, artists, producers and festivals), so it will be constantly necessary to decide the best way to purchase materials. A well supplied video archive should be divided into two sections the first that will collect video art works and another for video documentation from the early Historical Avant-garde, Fluxus, Videoart and to the last contemporary productions. Especially it will host historical videos realized when famous international artists were in Napoli. Documentations and witnesses of artists, gallerists, curators, critics, journalists during the main art events of the past decades.
The deep testimonial value of these documents, aesthetics products of different periods and not only events documentation, need to be carefully saved and preserved in a professional Video archive.