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The history of digital culture in 4,000 videos

Those who pop by at the Meet the Media Guru headquarter could not help but notice the many videotapes stacked on our shelves. This video legacy compiles the last 40 years of evolution in terms of synthetic, animated images generated to simulate reality or to represent a new imagination.

During this period a true revolution has taken place in the way we represent images: now only can we perfectly simulate reality nowadays, but also, we can venture far beyond, towards imaginary worlds, with an unimaginable degree of realism.

Centro di Documentazione Digitale: a project to value videotape memory for forty years of digital culture.

As we witness a growing expansion of this production method, few institutions are equipped with material that can build the memory of a process that stands as a key element in contemporary culture and may be lost forever.

Here started the idea to set up the Centro di Documentazione Digitalestarting with those materials that Mattei Digital Communicationcurrently stores, and that form the dawn of the soon-to-be ten-year-old Meet the Media Guru.

The open nature of Centro di Documentazione Digitale, available to anyone and innovative, with high service content, where scholars, practitioners, students and anyone interested can view the high-quality digitised audiovisual archives and access a database of texts and images. The goals will also be providing consulting services to the community for didactic and training purposes, for instance in bundle with universities, cinema schools and art academies.

Today, Mattei Digital Communication archives include, besides Meet the Media Guru material, anything else that was collected by Maria Grazia Mattei, a total of approximately 4,000 Italian and international videotapes (from France, Great Britain, USA, Japan, Canada, etc.) in high quality (Betacam, U-Matic, BVU and VHS standards), which document the evolution of synthetic images from the 60s to modern days.

Today the archive is divided into several sections, in a “catalogue” – for now – that is ideal, wide and detailed, which touches all main themes that brought about innovation and digital cultureas they apply to images: Virtual Reality, interactive TV, Cartoons, 3D, Advertising, Special effects, Italian art and creativity, Thematic reviews, Monographs, International exhibitions, Show-reels, Interactive art installations – are some of the sections.

“Digitising all this material is the only way that allows to preserve, value and share material that would otherwise deteriorate by demagnetising.

Maria Grazia Mattei

The Centro di Documentazione Digitale project is very detailed into phases, goals, services available and thematic sections. The project is ambitious and necessary, and it stands as a bridge between present innovation and the history that brought us here: because valuing memory enlightens our present days and increase their significance, while creating a dialogue with our roots to ultimately understand where we are going.

Now we need someone to invest in this adventure. Centro di Documentazione Digitale is looking for one or more sponsors. To quote Massimo Sideri who published his first appeal in Corriere della Sera on 25 November “Knock, knock. Is anybody there?”