Fernando Álvarez Cozzi (b. 1953) was one of the founders of the Núcleo Uruguayo de Video-Arte (1988), though he had been working with these new mediums since the early 1980s. In his article “Concepto, soporte y acción,” Álvarez Cozzi makes a distinction between the different categories involved based on his assessment of technology (the support) as the defining element in the theoretical approach to cinematography and video-art. He therefore believes that the way in which images are articulated is the most important part of the conceptual process, regardless of the support that might be used. This belief leads him to identify two fundamental “forms”—the “narrative” form and the “poetic” form—as the two extremes of a language that can use either one. Though Cozzi suggests (without implying any esthetic judgment) that the “poetic” category is based strictly on a particular formal structure of the succession of images, the fact is that one or more “aesthetics” were implicit in the linear, non-narrative language that prospered in the 1980s in Uruguay. These aesthetics tended to express individual experiences and transcendent subjectivity (including generational experiences), and reject the ideas portrayed in political art and especially the hypercritical cultural legacy of the literary generation known as del ’45 [45-ers].
None of this detracts from the ethical concerns expressed in Álvarez Cozzi’s article, as when he wonders, for example, if it is possible to make art that ignores the demands of the market, or when he claims to reject a frivolous approach when using the new mediums. He is nonetheless given to technological updates in video-art. At one point in his article he errs when he writes: “In 1982 […] just after the dictatorship […]” since the dictatorship didn’t end until 1985. That mistake is actually interesting because it reflects how powerfully the defeat of authoritarianism in the plebiscite held in 1980 impacted the mood of Uruguayans in general, and younger Uruguayans in particular. In that referendum almost 70% of the population rejected a constitutional reform that sought to keep the military dictatorship in power. This result helped to release some of the tension caused by the political situation, and paved the way for a return to democracy, which in turn created a more open society and greater acceptance of risks in the area of cultural activities.