Rebel Video

Rebel Video

The Video Movement of the 1970s and 1980s. London Bern Lausanne Basel Zurich

Media activism in the analogue age: a unique testimonial of the video movement in Switzerland and the UK of the 1970s and 1980s and its lasting effects.



Title Information

Edited by Heinz Nigg

1st edition

, 2017


396 pages, 86 color and 202 b/w illustrations

10.5 x 19 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-801-0


During the 1970s and 1980s, the independent community media and various youth movements across Europe inspired and abetted each other. The young activists discovered the video tape as a medium and as means to express their protesting mood and concerns. The easily produced moving images in videos soon also became also a weapon in the political and communication fights for the autonomous culture spaces the movement demanded in many countries. Videos were participative productions, done almost in real time and fast.

This appropriation of video technology as means of two-way communication between sender and recipient also proved a key step towards the digital age. Today, consumers, citizens, and professionals not only receive moving images and audio documents. Anyone can almost anywhere produce and broadcast such pieces at no expense. The young activist-directors of 1970s and 1980s went beyond dreaming of such a development. They explored it and experimented within small networks.

Rebel Video portrays protagonists of this activist movement in London, Basel, Berne, Lausanne, and Zurich. It documents what topics and concerns these creative rowdies picked-up and the lasting effect their work has until today. Richly illustrated and completed with brief essays by expert authors on specific aspects of film documentary and video art, the book demonstrates and illuminates the significance and manifold facets of the community media movement.

With contributions by Edward David Berman, Tony Dowmunt, Johannes Gfeller, Christian Iseli, Yves Niederhäuser and Heinz Nigg, as well as portraits of Katharina Balmer, Edward David Berman, Margrit Bürer, Tony Dowmunt, Johannes Gfeller, Sue Hall, John Hoppy Hopkins, Thomas Krempke, Reinhard Manz, Alex Mayenfisch, Andy Porter, Samir, Mark Saunders, Christian Schmid, and Sus Zwick.

The book is published in conjunction with the exhibition Rebel Video: The Video Movemet of the 70s and 80s at the Landesmuseum Zürich (18 August to 15 October 2017) and complemented by the website


Deutsche Ausgabe

Authors & Editors

Edward David Berman

, born 1941 in Lewiston, ME, lives and works in London. He is founder and CEO of Inter Action and Fab Foundations in the UK.

Tony Dowmunt

, born 1951 in Newick, Sussex, is a professor at the Media and Communications Department of Goldsmiths, University of London. His teaching and reserach focuses on film documentaries.

Johannes Gfeller

 is head of the master program for the conservation of new media and digital information at Stuttgart State Academy for Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany.

Christian Iseli

, born 1957, is a professor at Zurich University of the Arts' (ZHdK) Institute of Performing Arts and Film.

Yves Niederhäuser

, born 1975, is head of Video and Television at Memoriav in Berne, Switzerland's association for the preservation of the country's audio-visual heritage.

Heinz Nigg

 is an ethnologist engaged in the cultural sector. He is a pioneer of the community arts and media movement of the 1970s and 1980s in London and Switzerland, and a co-founder of the London Community Video Archive LCVA.