Media art poses unique challenges for institutional and individual collectors. Reproducible and variable, electronic art forms can often seem to defy the very idea of collecting art, which is traditionally tied to the acquisition of unique objects. From single-channel video and media installations to computer-based art composed of digital source code, time-based artworks demand new vocabularies and practices for collectors. Acquiring media art means managing and preserving artworks that are mutable at their very essence.

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in educational, museum and private collections that feature media art works. Artists, curators, registrars, technicians, distributors and conservators are adopting new standards and practices to address the key issues surrounding media art acquisition, from video editions to digital technologies and archival formats.

This section explores questions and developments that are central to understanding the basics of collecting media-based art.

Single-channel Video

Computer-based Arts