There are no hard and fast rules for the exhibition of computer-based art. Artists working with computer technology tend to use hardware and software in a range of unconventional ways, often exploiting bugs and anomalies. As a result, most works and exhibitions need to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Nevertheless, certain guidelines apply. Recommendations outlined here include close communication with the artist or artist's representative, troubleshooting every aspect of the project, including software and hardware, and determining the level of user or audience interactivity. Also included are suggestions for installing, maintaining and deinstalling equipment. Although distinctions between single-channel video, video installation and computer-based arts continue to blur, the interactive attributes of many computer-based installations create unique requirements.
Communication with Artist or Artist's Representative
It is necessary to have clear lines of communication between the artist (or representative), curator, and technicians regarding specifics of installation and presentation of the work.
Gather all elements of the work and instructions as to how these elements relate to one another. Some questions regarding source material are as follows:
While it may seem obvious, it is important to note that how a work is installed has a tremendous impact on how that work is perceived. This is especially true of interactive works, because by defining the installation parameters, you define how you want the user to interact with and experience the work. They must be developed in conjunction with the artist and in the context of available equipment as, fortunately or unfortunately, available equipment sometimes defines the installation parameters for you. Questions which need be considered are as follows:
Defining the Space
Testing and Maintenance
It is important to remember that once a show is installed the process is not over. Computer-based works, even when properly installed, can be error prone. Some basic precautions can help avoid major technological headaches.
Gallery Tool Kit:
It is important for the institution, the artist, and future collectors and exhibitors of complex installations to have full documentation of past installations of an artwork. Some forms of documentation to think about are:
Permissions and Rights
Who holds the rights to the media/installation? The artist? A gallery or private collector? Even when a work is freely available on the web, the best practice is to contact the artist before including the work in an exhibition.
Although the artist need not always be present for the deinstallation of a work, it is important to make sure that you have budgeted (both financially and in terms of time) adequately for a technician to dismantle a work and insure that all components get back to their original owners.