Budgets for acquiring media-based installations vary widely. Most media art installations are sold as unique or editioned works. Some installations include the sub-masters for the video components but require the collector to purchase the necessary playback and display equipment. As a result, the budget should include not only the cost of the artwork itself, but also of considerations such as equipment and software, the hiring of expert technicians for the maintenance and installation of the work, acquiring archival-quality masters and exhibition copies of the media components, shipping, and storage. Insuring the longevity of an artwork is one of the most critical concerns for collecting media-based installations. Preserving the installation may require stockpiling equipment and funds for the migration of the media components.
The following are examples of costs related to the acquisition of media-based installations. For budget guidelines relating to the preservation of the various components of such works, please see the Preservation section of this Guide.
Installation Purchase Price
What is the sale price of the installation? Does the purchase include archival media submasters and viewing copies, playback and display equipment, installation objects and sculptural elements? Remember that a DVD is not an adequate video master for collection (regardless of whether or not it is signed by the artist). Recommended archival formats for video are Betacam SP (Beta SP) or Digital Beta. These formats, when stored correctly, have an extended life and ensure the longevity and quality of the work.
Shipping & Installation Fees
If not included with the purchase price, what will be the cost of crating and shipping? Will the work be installed immediately? If so, will it be necessary to hire skilled installation staff? Do the installation guidelines result in additional costs such as building a discrete viewing space, carpeting, and soundproofing?
Exhibition copies of media components on a suitable exhibition format (DVD, hard drive playback, etc.) must be generated. Be sure to review this process with the artist or representative from whom you are purchasing the work. There may be a specific duplication house or encoding process recommended or an archival master available expressly for creating the exhibition copies.
Make sure that you have acquired any recommended equipment not included in the purchase price of the installation, and that you've budgeted for repairs and upgrades. Planning for the future purchase of expendables, such as projector lamps ($300-$500 each) is also important.
Installation & Technical Support
Media installation works may require a skilled technician to install the work properly. The artist or artist’s representative can often recommend an experienced technician who is familiar with the work and who can be hired to assist in the installation and planning and provide technical support as needed.
Maintenance & Preservation
Anticipating the preservation needs of the works in your collection is an important part of any acquisition budget. The Preservation section of this Guide identifies the costs related to the maintenance and conservation of the video and digital components in media installation works.