Historical importance of
video workshop/HASLEV and
THE DANISH VIDEO ART DATA BANK

Quotations from Lars Movin: "DANISH VIDEO ART - A SURVEY", Haderslev 1992,
ISBN 87-983449-2-7.

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The Danish workshop tradition is relatively old. The first video workshop opened in 1968 in connection to the teacher training college in Haslev.

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As mentioned, the first quite modest Danish video workshop opened in Haslev in 1968

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The Video Workshop/HASLEV (Fantasifabrikken) (Fantasy Factory) was started in 1968 by Torben Søborg in connection to Haslev Seminarium (Haslev College of Education) which it is still part of. They started out with the equipment of that time - Sony reel-to-reel tape recorders and black/white cameras - but in 1975 one of the first U-matic edit suites of Denmark was purchased. Ordinarily the video workshop serves as a student facility, but simultaneously it has also maintained various external functions. Courses for those among the local population wanting to make local TV and radio have been held. Workshops were held for artists wishing to experiment videowise. The equipment has served as a divise for local history. And on a more informal level the place additionally served as an open workshop where Torben Søborg solely comes to decide among the applications tendered.

Today outward functions are quite restricted as it is not longer permitted to lend equipment to non-attached people because the workshop is now subjected to the Ministry of Education. Courses are still held, for instance for un-employed women and a few of them return in order to work there, as well as some of the users from the Danish Film Institute Workshop / Haderslev to a certain extent do their editing in Haslev.

When the workshop nevertheless came to play a more important part than other college-based workshops in Denmark this is due to the efforts of Torben Søborg who has been active on the Danish video scene since the end of the sixties. Both as a producer and as the manager of the workshop and its variety of side-activities. From 1979 to 1984 he published, in co-operation with Hans V. Bang, Dansk Video Tidsskrift (Danish Video Periodical). In 1984-85 he collected and published with support from the Ministry of Culture his Katalog over Dansk Videokunst (Catalogue of Danish video Art). And from the middle of the 80'es he has been taking care of parts of Danish video art distribution domestically and abroad through Videokunst Data Bank. By virtue of support from the Ministry of Culture Torben Søborg in recent years especially distributed for festivals abroad where he will often appear as a representative of Danish video art.

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Parallelly to this Torben Søborg has been the instigator of several seminars on video art and collaborated with institutions in the other Nordic countries on the registration of video art, and on the planning of video festivals and video installation exhibitions, most lately Interface which toured the nordic countries in 1990 and 1991.

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A SYMPOSIUM IN 1982

On November 6 1982 a group of almost twenty video enthusiasts held the 1. Danske Symposium om videokunst (First Danish Symposium on Video Art) at Huset in Copen-hagen. The initiators were artist Niels Lomholt and Torben Søborg who is the manager of the video workshop in Haslev from where he has been conducting part of the foreign distribution of Danish videos for a number of years. Among the participants were one Svend Thomsen who later took part in starting video gallery Trekanten, students from the Media Education Line at Roskilde University Centre plus representatives from Dansk Filmcentrum and the Art Libraries' professionals who at that time were among the few potential video distributors in Denmark. Oddly enough there were no representatives from the major workshops who are reported to have taken part in discussions.

The symposium had four main objectives:
1. Exposing the technical and expressional possibilities of the video medium, in particular as an art form.
2. Discussing the production possibilities.
3. Regarding the position of video art in relation to the Danish art institutions.
4. Exchanging experience concerning exhibition possibilities at home and abroad.

In other words the problems in Denmark have been identical to those foreign video people have been struggling against since the early 70'es.

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THE EARLY YEARS
Before we look at the framework of today's Danish video we would like to take a short look back to the very first years in order to see what went before the 1992 seminar.
There seem to be at least three important years in Danish video history. The first being 1968, when the first signs of video equipment having arrived in Denmark began to show. Torben Søborg purchased gear for the teacher-training college in Haslev whereby the ideas of community TV and video were anticipated.

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PERIODICALS, PUBLICIZING, CRITICISM
In 1979 the Danish Fim Institute Workshop / Haderslev (at that time the Film Institute Workshop / Haderslev) and the video workshop/HASLEV almost simultaneously began to issue respectively Dansk Video Tidsskrift (Danish Video Periodical) and Video Monitor, both dealing with video in a wide sense. The first issues of Dansk Video Tidsskrift were actually called Video Guide, Dansk Video Tidsskrift and on the original board of editors were, in addition to Hans V. Bang, multiartist Peter Louis Jensen from the Arme & Ben group who earlier had been a co-funder of the Husfilm club at Huset in Copenhagen. It was a fairly outfitted magazine dealing with activities at the Haderslev workshop, independent Danish productions, technical matters, videos in National Film Board of Denmark distribution plus questions as to local TV. Contrary to this Video Monitor was a more unpretensious loose leaf-system without regular dates of deadlines, first and foremost passing on experience from local TV and community video tests in Haslev. The market for that kind of magazines was naturally limited at that time and in 1980 the two magazines merged into one, Dansk Video Vidsskrift (Danish video Periodical) which ceased publishing in 1983, however.

Later the video workshop in Haslev tried to revive Video Monitor with a specimen copy in 1984, but not until 1986 did it find its final form as an information sheet, issued a couple of times each year under the name of Monitor. The sheet primarily informs on which Video Data Bank videos from Haslev have been shown at festivals around the world, and on festivals and other video events under way.

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A CATALOGUE OF DANISH VIDEO ART
As an indirect offshoot of the earlier mentioned 1982 symposium Katalog over Dansk Videokunst (Catalogue of Danish Video Art) came out in 1984. The book was edited by Torben Søborg (from the Video Workshop in Haslev) and published with support from the Ministry of Culture which thus recognized the existence and significance of Danish video and video art in general. As the title indicates, it is a catalogue and in the index 30 artists and 4 artist groups are enumerated who claim to work in video art. If you explore the book, you will find descriptions of some 100 works on tape, video installations and video performance genres - all from the period 1968 to 1984. Among the most productive are Carsten Schmidt-Olsen, Jørgen Christensen, Frans Kannik, Helge Krarup, Steen Krarup, William Louis Sørensen, Svend Thomsen, Ane Mette Ruge, Jacob Schokking, Torben Søborg, Niels Lomholt and the group Sort Flint (Black Flint) and King Kong. A few other artists named were at this point members of the newly formed and trailblaizing Danish video association Trekanten (Triangle). One may regard the catalogue as some kind of monument of the first Danish video art generation, and even though only a few old friends could be found if a similar catalogue was to be made up today, the artists named here must be said to constitute the hard core of the hard pioneering years.


The Danish video artist Torben Søborg was manager/director of videoworkshop/Haslev from its start in 1968 and untill 1997 and is director of THE DANISH VIDEO ART BANK from its start in 1983-84. In 1997 THE BANK separeted from the video workshop.


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