Media installations are works of art that situate moving-image media within specific scenarios, built structures, sites, or viewing environments. Since the 1960s, artists have been integrating media such as film, video, and slides with objects and sculptural elements. More recent installations incorporate digital moving images and computer-based interactive devices. Media-based installations present unique challenges and conditions for collectors. Because media installations are variable artworks that require familiarity with equipment, technical issues, and video or digital media, they demand new vocabularies and practices for collection, exhibition, maintenance, and preservation. While many installation elements fall under well-established standards and protocols for the conservation and acquisition of objects, sculptures and other media, this Guide is concerned with the specific behaviors and conditions of the electronic media components.

This section discusses issues relating to collecting media-based installations, including best practices, planning, examples of agreements, equipment and technical concerns, budget issues, and answers to basic but essential questions. Also included are interviews with artists, curators, collectors, and conservators, and a selection of case studies.