A videoart glance on 1900s

The ‘100x100=900' project

Enrico Tomaselli
4 min readJan 31, 2014


Fifty years ago, Nam June Paik — versatile korean artist — realize in Wuppertal, Germany, that is consider the first videoart exhibition, showing the artwork ‘Thirteen distortions for electronic televisions’. Ever since, and for these fifty years, videoart don’t stop to grow, as pushed onwards — maybe like never other form of art — by technological progression: VHS, handycam, digital…
Visual arts are all along intimately connected to life of peoples, since the sight is the sense that more immediately relate us to external world. At the same time, intrinsic nature of art has always see that it simultaneously perform both a reflective role, of awareness of society, and an advancer role, of tomorrow anticipate. At this, videoart add an extra element of osmosis with social universe; along 1900s, indeed, moving image has represented one of characterizing elements under cultural and social profile — cinema, television, web…
Videoart is therefore intimately close at languages of the state of being contemporary, at their grammar and syntax. And the progressive passage to digital of any expressive form by image, make more thin the diaphragm that distinguish the artistic use of medium by any other.
In this sense, videoart can be rationally consider like the more internal at XXI century form of art, and then provided with communicative tools more appropriate for a contrast on this ridge between the first two millenniums.
And for the same reason, is even — potentially — the form of art that in prospect can exercise a more significant influence on communication shapes.
To celebrate the 50th of videoart, Magmart | video under volcano, international videoart festival, has launched the 100x100=900 Project (100 videoartists to tell a century).

The idea at the base of project is that to evolve is necessary to understand what in the past must be definitively archivied. In this sense, to call 100 videoartists to interpret each a year of past century, apart from constitute a real overall tale of 1900s, represent an attempt to elaboration of past, not accidentally committed to artists, and not accidentally to videoartists — for the reasons above.
Face through an artistic and plural gaze the story of 1900s, want be so — at the same time — a choral and visionary tale of century, its re-reading under an artistic key, its interpretation and elaboration. Shrinking from a historiographical or strictly political look, for its nature colored, and instead resorting at look of artists, subjective and incomplete but not partisan, the Project has the goal to stimulate a collective reflections on near roots of our present.
And the absolute freedom of each artist, with the only restriction to focus on their own work on a given year, bring itself a capability of upsetting, throw into disorder, and at the same time of re-alignment, of our vision of past century.
100x100=900 call even to experiment a different context for artistic production; indeed, even if interpreting freedom has been strongly solicit, is clear — at involved artists in primis — that overall view of artworks determine a meta-layer of reading, that include and go beyond that of each artwork. This awareness — even if in unpredictable shapes — surely reflect itself on creative process. At the same time, this is the first time that a project like this is experimented, at least in videoart field, and then is an experiment itself.

With the absolute awareness of enormous differences, the inspiring model of Project should identify with Terræ Motus, the project of italian gallerist Lucio Amelio that in the 80s call a group of international artists to intervene — in a total way — on the earthquake that has hit Naples. But even, once again, with the last show of Nam, the ‘Moving Time: Tribute to Nam June Paik’ that calls 30 international artists exactly to celebrate the Master (New York, 2006).
The Project is born in strong contiguity with Magmart festival, that along the years has devise a community of videoartists — and a network of international organizations that are mainly focused on videoart. In this perspective, the more natural choice has been to invite the 100 artists selecting chieffly (but not only) between the winners of previous editions of festival.
By this parterre has been extrapolate a list of one hundred names, that includes — within the limit of possible — the maximum diversity of styles, but above all of cultures, that is able to assure a look the more various possible. In any way, indeed, the final outcome of project must be scarred by a specific marked cultural imprint — even if in the awareness that, in the globalization era, many differences draw to blend.
The Project, finally, has launch an innovative expositive formula too, beginning an international partnership program, through which — and along all 2013 — is leaded around the world. This program ensure that the Project will reach many and many nations.
On its way, and without arrogance, the Project target to mark an important passage in the history of videoart, like was fifty years ago with the ‘Thirteen distorsions’ of Paik. And maybe, when will be celebrated the 100 years of videoart, even 100x100=900 will have its little part…



Enrico Tomaselli

Graphic + web designer / Magmart Festival Art Director / Management culturale