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    El video / Juan Acha
    Arte en Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia). -- No. 16 (Oct. 1981)
    p. 32- 37 : ill.
    Journal article – Essays
    Acha, Juan. “El Vídeo.” Arte en Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia), no. 16 (October 1981): 32–37.

This article, which was published in the Revista Arte en Colombia [Art in Colombia Magazine] in 1981, discusses the Peruvian critic Juan Acha’s interest in the potential of video as an artistic medium. After reviewing video’s technical aspects, the article explores the sociological relationship of this mode of expression to television’s ability to transmit information to a mass audience. Acha is interested in video’s limits and characteristics in three possible scenarios: video installations, video performance, and video tapes—alternatives to what Acha sees as the hegemonic use of images on television.


“El Video” [The Video], written in 1981, should be considered both a pedagogical essay and a manifesto. It seeks to explain and describe the nature of video (see: “Aproximación a una historia del videoarte en Colombia” [A Brief History of Video Art in Colombia], doc. # 1130869) by citing its sociological relationship with the public. From this perspective, the article should be understood as an expression of an entire era, a way of seeing the world in which Marxism and capitalism collide. Acha discusses the relationship between television as the cause and effect of profound social changes and the anti-institutional aspect of video considering its simultaneous role as language, medium, and reference.


Juan Acha (1916-1995) earned a reputation as a noted art critic and theoretician in Latin America in the late 1950s. In 1971 he moved to Mexico, where he spent the rest of his life. His most important publications include: Art in Latin American Today, (1961); Arte y Sociedad en Latinoamérica [Art and Society in Latin America] (México, DF: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1979); Ensayos y Ponencias Latinoamericanistas [Latin Americanist Essays and Lectures] (Caracas: Galería de Arte Nacional, 1984); Las culturas estéticas de América Latina [The Aesthetic Cultures of Latin America] (México, DF: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1994). 


Video art is said to have begun with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik’s 1965 film of Pope Paul VI, so a look at this article’s publication date (1981—sixteen years later) underscores the urgent need to publish essays of this nature in technical magazines.

Jorge Luis Vaca Forero
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of the Private Archives of Mta. Mahia Biblos, Mexico, D.F.
Courtesy of ArtNexus Miami, USA