Between 1981 and 1993 the ICA’s Video Library offered public access to a unique collection of over 1000 tapes including Artists’ Videos, Documentaries and Independent Films, at a time when availability of these materials were rare and limited. This Fox Reading Room display explores the role of public access collections, taking the Library’s 1986 complete catalogue as a starting point to examine the Video Library, its relationship to the ICA’s ongoing Moving Image programmes and the evolving perception of Moving Image’s role in art galleries and institutions.
In this period, Britain went through intense social and political changes. These shifts are captured in strands of the Video Library’s content and the ways in which artists and filmmakers responded to the climate at the time, from Thatcherism to the AIDS Crisis. Key contextual events are plotted on a timeline as part of the display, framing the collection within a wider socio-political landscape.
A series of guest artists and curators will select from the Videotheque catalogue representing recordings from the collection, viewable on monitors in the space. One selection compiled is in collaboration with artist James Richards, whose solo exhibition Requests and Antisongs took place at the ICA in summer 2016. There will also be an associated programme of talks, screenings and learning events accompanying the show.