34 MIN

Revisiting Video-Nou
Polyphonic memories for a shared present #2

Revisiting Video-Nou

In the second episode of this series we pick up where we left off in our conversation with Lluïsa Roca, Luisa Ortínez, Xefo Guasch and Carles Ameller. With them, we explore Vídeo-Nou’s working methodologies, which were developed on the go, in the field, by doing things: because video was a new medium at the time, and because, together, they were inventing a system of transversal collaboration through which to capture the views and demands of a society eager to express itself after forty years of dictatorship, censorship and repression. Vídeo-Nou saw video as a mechanism for social engagement and intervention, making space for listening, conversation and debate as creative tools. Through video, the group became actively involved in neighbourhoods, community centres and associations, trade unions, and cultural spaces, opening up platforms for dialogue.

Between 1976 and 1979, the Video-Nou collective experimented with and applied the potential of video as a tool for social intervention, horizontal communication, and collective creation. In 1976 Franco had just died, and the foundations for what was to be a new democratic coexistence were starting to take shape in the Spanish state, with difficulties and enthusiasm in equal measure. Everything was yet to be done and said. Against this complex backdrop, video—a portable new medium unburdened by tradition—offered new spaces of freedom for creation and communication and an invitation to conversation.

In its three years of existence, Video-Nou generated projects in close collaboration and dialogue with many groups and grassroots social and cultural movements throughout Catalonia. These interventions thus became forums for communal debate, reflecting the voices, struggles and circumstances of ordinary people, which the mainstream media ignored.

In March 1979, some members of Video-Nou founded the Servei de Vídeo Comunitari. This new project preserved the spirit of collective creation but shifted the focus towards video-related community training on the one hand, and producing documentaries by institutions such as the City Council on the other. The Servei de Vídeo Comunitari was active until 1983.

In this three-podcast miniseries, we sit down to talk to four members of the Video-Nou collective. Hand in hand with Lluïsa Roca, Luisa Ortínez, Xefo Guasch and Carles Ameller, we weave a polyphonic narrative that offers a direct, experiential testimony of an era. At the same time, they give us an insight into the processes of collective creation as everyday activism, as a passion, as debate, conflict and a shared path towards a freer society.

Conversation: Loli Acebal, Ricardo Cárdenas and Anna Ramos. Script: Loli Acebal. Sound production: André Chêdas Voice over: Clàudia Faus. Sounds: RWM Working Group, from Willem Twee Studios library music, in Den Bosch.

Photo: MACBA Collection. MACBA Study Centre. Video-Nou / Servei de Vídeo Comunitari. © Video-Nou collective / Servei de Vídeo Comunitari

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 DEED.Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International

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In this first episode, we revisit the early days of Video-Nou and its connection with other artists who were also starting to work with video in Catalonia. Hand in hand with Lluïsa Roca, Luisa Ortínez, Xefo Guasch and Carles Ameller, we look at the collective’s relationship with the counterculture, the underground, and libertarian movements. And we consider the particularities of video as a tool for documentary, communication, creation, and protest, with special attention to its uses within the political and social context of the period of the Spanish transition. We explore strategies such as feedback and counterinformation, and we get a behind-the-scenes insight into the making of Video-Nou’s first projects: Gràcia. Espais Verds (February-March 1977) and Campanya política per a la Lliga de Catalunya (April-May 1977), better known as the Video-Bus.

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