The rapid development of new technologies favors the formation of new multidisciplinary forms such as video art. The basic difference between video art and cinema is the break with conventions that is part of new forms or narrative structures. Video art makes the process the richest part of the experience.

To understand its origin, we have to look at the historical context of the media revolution in the second half of the 20th century. The conflicts and social, political and economic disturbances of the 1960s and access to information spawned a desire to redefine and defy the existing order. During this time, video developed as an artistic genre. Europe and the United Stateswere pioneers in adopting it as a means of expression within the visual arts. Nam June Paik, of South Korea, is considered the father of video art.

The 1990s was an important time in the expansion of video around the world, as it became a feature of museums, biennial exhibitions, festivals and other activities. It was the digital age and access to new technologies favored its development, leading to a bombardment of information. The computer culture encouraged new forms of critical thinking, which led to democratization. The confluence of disciplines such as dance, visual arts, poetry, music, architecture and others created an ideal space for an experience of the senses. 

It was not until the 1980s and 1990s that video art gained momentum in the Caribbean region. That does not mean that others had not experimented with it in earlier decades. At first, it was stitched within the cinematic traditions of each country. Cuba was one of the first Caribbean countries to explore the possibilities of the medium.

As early as 1964, Cuban filmmaker Enrique Pineda Barnet, in collaboration with Sandú Darié and Carlos Fariñas, made Cosmorama, a piece of experimental art that is recognized today by critics as a key example of the beginning and development of Cuban video art. 

Nelson álvarez is another Cuban who has been an outstanding cinematographer and art critic. His work Espectador, from 1989, has been recognized in important circles. 

The Pablo de la Torriente Brau Cultural Center, through its Cuba, Arte Digital project, holds international meetings and colloquia on digital art and also maintains an important archive of works and documentation. The center promotes an exchange of ideas among local and international participants, which allows a multicultural and enriching experience and serves as a meeting place for the Caribbean scene.

Gilles Charalambos of Colombia, recognized for his work as an art critic and curator and author of the work 00:05:23:27 in 1997, wrote the book Historia del videoarte en Colombia. 

In Puerto Rico, curator Nelson Rivera presented Enfrentamientos, a selection of video art by five Puerto Rican artists, as an effort to present an overview of the video art works on the island.

Author: Carmen Rebeca Fraticelli
Published: December 20, 2011.

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