Video works Danny Matthys

Digitisation and restoration of the video works by Danny Matthys

A PACKED research project in collaboration with argos and M HKA. Period: 2008-2009.

Danny Matthys is one of the pioneers of media art in Belgium. At the end of the 1960s he started experimenting with (Polaroid) photography, film and video (installations). His work has been exhibited extensively in and outside Belgium, and is, amongst others, part of the Argos and M HKA collections. The video works are made in analogue formats that have become obsolete in the meantime, and that need to be digitised and restored. PACKED directed and documented this digitisation and restoration process. 

The works that are digitised and restored in collaboration with argos and M HKA are:

  • Zeedijk Knokke-Heist (1973-1974, 15 min, 4-channel video)
  • Coupure (1974, 12 min, 2-channel video)
  • Prudence van Duyseplein (1974, 5 min, 2-channel video)
  • Lager gelegen Weiland (1974, 5 min, 2-channel video)
  • Closed Letter & Number Series (1975, 3 min, single channel video)
  • Building - 19 verdiepingen (1975, 32 min, single channel video)
  • 9 + 1 Polaroid Black & White Pictures (1976, 9 min, single channel video)
  • 9 + 1 Polaroid Colour Pictures (1977, 26 min, single channel video)
  • Internationale video manifestatie (1977, 18 min, single channel video)
  • Expo Bar (1983, 60 min, single channel video)
  • World Beauties (1983-1984, single channel video)
  • De la fiction en photographie (1984, 25 min, single channel video)

As a first stage the videotapes that are part of the installations Zeedijk Knokke-Heist (1973-1974), Coupure (1974) and Prudence van Duyseplein (1974) were digitised at ZKM, Centre for Art and Media Technology (Karslruhe). In the early 1970s,  the original recordings were made on open reel videotapes. Some years later they were transfered to ¾” U-matic tapes. Later on these ¾” U-matic tapes were transfered to Betacam SP tapes by Argos. Subsequently the Betacam SP tapes were transfered to Digital Betacam tapes. Because this digitisation process did not achieve optimal quality, we tried to re-digitise the works directly from the open reel videotapes or the ¾” U-matic tapes. Which of these are in the best shape, and offer the best guarantee for a good digital video copy?

As soon as the tapes were digitised, we checked which parts needed frame-by-frame correction. For some productions, new digital editing by or in collaboration with the artist was necessary for the purpose of the synchronisation of the different tapes, amongst others. Synchronisation was checked with the artist, and the works were documented in collaboration with him.


  • "Zeedijk Knokke-Heist", Danny Matthys, 1973-1974
  • "Zeedijk Knokke-Heist", Danny Matthys, 1973-1974
  • "Coupure", Danny Matthys, 1974
  • "Coupure", Danny Matthys, 1974
  • "Prudence van Duyseplein", Danny Matthys, 1974
  • "Prudence van Duyseplein", Danny Matthys, 1974
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