This in-progress section will bring together hard to find or out of print scholarly articles and essays that address the exhibition, collection and preservation of single-channel video, computer-based art and installation works. The following texts have been made available with the permission of their authors and publishers.

Besser, Howard; Longevity of Electronic Art. Submitted to International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting, 2001 View essay

Besser investigates the challenges of maintaining electronic works of art. Describing the differences between electronic works and those in traditional media, he points out that regarding the former, it is not always even clear what should be preserved, and that due to obsolescence of storage formats, they are not always viewable even if their physical casing is intact. Refreshing, moving the work onto new storage media, is one solution, but doesn't account for changing file formats. Migration and emulation are discussed as solutions to this problem. He discusses boundary issues as regards conservation: what really is the work? Besser proposes an approach involving: determining the essential characteristics of the work; trying to preserve those over time; and saving ancillary materials.

Bishop, Mitchell Hearns, Evolving Exemplary Pluralism: Steve McQueen's Deadpan and Eija-Liisa Ahtila's Anne, Aki and God - Two Case Studies for Conserving Technology-Based Installation Art. In Journal of the American Institute for Conservation Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 179-191, Fall/Winter 2001.

View paper In a paper presented at "TechArchaeology: A Symposium on Installation Art Preservation," Bishop discusses conservation issues inherent in the works of Steve McQueen and Eija-Liisa Ahtila, two artists included in the exhibition Seeing Time: Selections from the Pamela and Richard Kramlich Collection of Media Art, then on view at SFMOMA. A series of questions about each work and its preservation are put to each artist; their answers are discussed. Broader questions of how museums and collectors exhibit, preserve and document media works are addressed.

Cook, Sarah, Multi-Multi-Media: an interview with Barbara London. 2001. Published by CRUMB (Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss), University of Sunderland. Available from CRUMB

The video and media curator at the Museum of Modern Art discusses her early video and Internet projects with MoMA-curatorial dispatches from trips to China, Russia, and Japan-and later MoMA web commissions. She describes the challenges of showing Internet projects in gallery settings and of acquiring new media art, and stresses the museum's important role in pushing the field forward.

Cook, Sarah, An interview with Christiane Paul, 2001. Published by CRUMB (Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss), University of Sunderland. Available from CRUMB. Whitney Museum of American Art curator Paul discusses the beginnings of her involvement with new media. The question of whether net art is institutionalized or under-represented is discussed, as is the question of how best to present networked, screen-based works in physical space, as well as the technical challenges of curating media shows. Is there a future of corporate sponsorship for museum exhibitions of media art? How should museums document such exhibitions? Paul and Cook discuss WMAA's Artport and the question of the legitimacy of a museum for American art hosting international artists' web projects. Does the linked nature of the Internet threaten museums' authorship of exhibitions? How to keep up with what is happening in the field?

Cook, Sarah, An interview with Larry Rinder, 2001. Published by CRUMB (Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss), University of Sunderland. Available from CRUMB.

Whitney Museum of American Art curator Rinder discusses the origins of the show "BitStreams" (with sound component co-curated with Debra Singer), which was to include work expressed through digital media and reflecting on the conditions of life in the digital age. Curatorial choices are discussed under the conditions imposed by a constrained planning schedule; its concurrent run with Christiane Paul's "Data Dynamics" is addressed, as are the politics of exhibiting work not necessarily created for museum/gallery display. The impact of new media art on the curator's role and on museum practice, as regards corporate sponsorship, are also considered.

Luciana Duranti, "Preserving Authentic Electronic Art Over the Long-Term: The InterPARES 2 Project"

InterPARES2 is an international initiative exploring the preservation of dynamic and interactive digital files. This paper lays out the general problems it is looking at, as well as the framework and goals of the project. Note: this link will open a new window outside of the Resource Guide. [View essay (PDF file)]

Fauconnier, Sandra and Rens Fromme, Capturing Unstable Media: Summary of Research. V2_, 2003. View summary

Rotterdam center for art, culture, and technology V2_ undertook in 2003 a study of the documentation aspects of the preservation of electronic art, an approach that combines archiving and preservation. For context, they studied five organizations involved in documenting and preserving electronic art. The project also involved detailed case studies of projects developed at V2_Lab. The Capturing Unstable Media Conceptual Model (CMCM) is offered as a model for describing objects and their documentation.

Gagnon, Jean, Presentation at the symposium Curating New Media Art: Production, Distribution, Consumption. Ottawa Art Gallery, December 2001, organised by CRUMB and Critical Media. Transcript of presentation available from CRUMB.

In his presentation at a symposium organised by CRUMB and Critical Media, Gagnon attempts to theorize his own practice as a former curator of media art at the National Gallery of Canada, in reference to Peter Weibel's curator-as-producer model. He describes the genesis of some of the pieces he commissioned at the National Gallery and stresses that he documented media works in all possible aspects at time of acquisition and tried to acquire original elements and masters in order to best preserve the works. He describes the Langlois Foundation's Research and Documentation Centre and the Variable Media Network and touches on the determination of the market value of new media works in a limited market for them.

Graham, Beryl, Curating New Media Art: SFMoMA and 010101. 2003. Report published by CRUMB (Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss), University of Sunderland. Available for download from CRUMB.

A case study of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's groundbreaking exhibition "010101," which included new and traditional media and involved interdepartmental curatorial input. The paper studies: the distinctive roles of various museum staff in this show; the exhibition timeline, which differed from that of other exhibitions; formal audience feedback; and press coverage, which was quite high. What the author deems most useful for other museums to study was interdepartmental communication among curators; crossover of press attention; increased involvement of technical staff; a meshing of interpretation and curating; the metaphor of curator as producer; and the nature of the exhibition of Internet art.

Graham, Dan; Buchloh, Benjamin H.D., ed. Essay on Video, Architecture, and Television. Video-Architecture-Television: Writings on Video and Video Works 1970-1978. Nova Scotia: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Publication cover | Pages 1-4 | Pages 5-8 | pages 9-12 | Pages 13-16

Graham explores the many ways in which architecture, video and film can define, enforce or challenge existing power relations among classes of society. Film and broadcast television, as he describes them, are asymmetrical impositions of information by capital. Video, by contrast, may redefine cultural and psychological boundaries such as public and private, Graham argues. He describes various ways that glass architecture reinforces capitalism: reflective display windows, for example, are a metaphor for the way capitalism uses the consumer's lacking self-image to promote goods; modernist corporate buildings create the illusion of transparency to distract from their ideologies.

Hanhardt, John, Nam June Paik, TV Garden. Permanence Through Change: The Variable media Approach. Published by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York, and the Daniel Langlois Foundation, in Montreal, 2003. View discussion

A brief description of Korean artist Nam June Paik's pioneering role in contemporary art is followed by a discussion between Hanhardt and artist and former Paik studio assistant Stephen Vitiello, focusing on the key elements of the 1974 multimedia installation TV Garden. They discuss the balance between fixed and variable-maintaining vital aspects of the piece while dealing with the exigencies of installing it in various settings. They also touch on how to maintain the artwork into the future.

Huber, Hans Dieter. PPP: From Point to Point or from Production to Presentation to Preservation of Media Art. Lecture at the congress 404 Object Not Found, Dortmund, June 2003. View lecture

Huber explores the relationship among production, presentation and preservation of media art installations. Distinguishing between organization and structure, he discusses, respectively, the replaceable and un-replaceable parts of media installation artworks, with attention to the effect on the meaning of the work as parts are replaced. Using the analogy of a musical score and performance, he analyzes the abstract notation and specific installation of media artworks. He concludes by asking, apropos of presentation of media installations, whether, paradoxically, the more the parts of a media installation may be substituted, the more it may be presented, thus better preserving it.

INCCA (International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art), Guide to Good Practice: Artists' Interviews. 1999. View guide

Based on evaluation of about 50 artist interviews conducted by INCCA members, this guide recommends approaches to artist interviews, be they by letter, telephone, face to face, or other format, suggesting what issues should be covered, what advantages and disadvantages pertain to different sorts of interviews, reasons for certain kinds of interviews, and recommended literature.

Jon Ippolito, Accommodating the Unpredictable: The Variable Media Questionnaire. Permanence Through Change: The Variable Media Approach Guggenheim Museum Publications and The Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, 2003. View essay

Ippolito introduces the questionnaire produced by the Guggenheim's variable media task force in order to capture artists' perspectives on how and whether their works should be re-created. Introduces some key terms used in these considerations.

Laurenson, Pip. The Conservation and Documentation of Video Art. Published in: Hummelen, IJ., Sillé, D., Modern Art: Who Cares?, Amsterdam: Foundation for the Conservation of Modern Art/ Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage, 1999, p. 263-271. View paper

Laurenson describes in detail the Tate Gallery's approach to video art conservation as regards its own collection. This begins with assessing the work, from various technical questions to appraising its condition and estimating costs that will be associated with its preservation. She describes the process of creating an archival master and specifies the Tate's plan to regularly transfer video onto new stock to overcome the obsolescence of playback equipment. Appendices include Tate Gallery guidelines for care of video artworks and questions to ask artists when interviewing them regarding a work for acquisition.

Laurenson, Pip. Developing Strategies for the Conservation of Installations Incorporating Time-based Media: Gary Hill's Between Cinema and a Hard Place Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 40 (3), 2001: 259-266. View paper
In a paper presented at "TechArchaeology: A Symposium on Installation Art Preservation,"

Laurenson discusses strategies for the conservation of a complex installation by Gary Hill, with special attention to the cathode ray tube monitors and the system that controls the distribution of sound and images. She describes the changing role of conservators as contemporary art has de-emphasized the material object, shifting from care of precious artifacts to managing change in the objects in question. Laurenson points out parallels between media art conservation and that of traditional media.

Laurenson, Pip. The Management of Display Equipment in Time-based Media Installations. Tate Papers, Spring 2005. Originally published in the pre-prints of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) 2004 Congress in Bilbao, pp. 49 - 53. View paper

Laurenson asks how conservators of media art can deal with the inevitable obsolescence of display equipment used in time-based media installations, especially when it is often unclear which elements are essential to the meaning of the piece. She offers a set of questions for conservators to assist in evaluating the functional vs. aesthetic, historical or conceptual significance of the displayed equipment in a given piece. She points out that consensus between artist and museum can be difficult to reach on how to approach conservation of a piece due to varying priorities. She offers a set of guidelines for maintenance and care of display equipment.

Jeff Martin, "Voyager Company CD-ROMs: Preserving commercially-produced interactive media" During the late 1980s and early 1990s, numerous interactive CD-ROM titles were introduced into the consumer market. Among the leaders in the field was the Voyager Company. Today, these CD-ROMs face the same preservation problems as many media artworks. This case study looks at the company's history, and the current viability of its titles. [Voyager Case Study (PDF file)]

Messier, Paul, Dara Birnbaum's Tiananmen Square: Break-In Transmission: A Case Study in the Examination, Documentation, and Preservation of a Video-Based Installation. In Journal of the American Institute for Conservation Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 193-209, Fall/Winter 2001. View paper

The paper presents the specifics of a method for examining and documenting a video-based installation, using Birnbaum's 1989-90 work as a case study. It painstakingly describes the artist's working method and equipment; itemizes exhibition hardware and its physical arrangement, specifying how display relates to the artist's intentions; and discusses the ideal environment for exhibiting the piece. The paper describes each of the A/V components and formats used in the work as it bears on the work's preservation prospects, concluding with an analysis of the threats to its preservation and recommendations for circumventing them, including considering entirely new formats for presentation as a way to preserve the artist's intent.

Richard Rinehart, "A System of Formal Notation for Scoring Works of Digital and Variable Media Art" In 2004, Richard Rinehart presented what he described as "a new approach to conceptualizing digital and media art forms." This paper details earlier work in this area as well as existing metadata standards, and outlines Rinehart's "Media Art Notation System." Note: this link will open a new window outside of the Resource Guide. [View essay (PDF file)]

Van Saaze, Vivian, ICN and Gaby Wijers, Netherlands Media Art Institute Research into four media installations. Materiaaltechnische informatie over beeldende kunst (Information on materials used in the visual arts), No. 46, Summer 2003. View study

Sponsored by the Netherlands Media Art Institute, the authors studied four works: 25 Caramboles en variaties. Verjaardagscadeau voor een 25-jarige (25 Caramboles and Variations. Birthday Present for a 25-Year-Old) by Miguel-çngel C?rdenas; Outside Inside by Elsa Stansfield and Madelon Hooykaas; Are You Afraid of Video? by Servaas; and A Word of Welcome by eddie d. The study looked at the aspects of the works that were important to consider in re-installation; tried to determine which aesthetic and technical aspects were essential for preserving the integrity of the works; considered registration and documentation of the pieces; and described the technical competence necessary to present the works.

Wijers, Gaby and Netherlands Media Art Institute; Control and Preservation of Videotapes. An Introduction to the Handling, Storage and Conservation of Analog and Digital Videotapes, 2003.View article

Wijers details some of the problems with the care of videotapes, for example the fragility and complexity of their physical casing and the quick obsolescence of their required playback equipment. She makes specific recommendations for their handling and storage, regarding temperature, humidity, and working environment for tapes.

Wijers, Gaby; Coelho, Ramon & Rodrigo, Evert, eds. The Sustainability of Video Art. Amsterdam: Foundation for the Conservation of Modern Art, 2003 View report

Beginning in 2000, the Netherlands Media Art Institute's Project Preservation Video Art developed, implemented, and evaluated a methodology for the preservation of video art, including a model acquisition contract and registration model; the project included preservation work on about 1,700 analog video works from public collections throughout Holland. The procedure included documentation, consultation with the artist, and conversion to digital media. Origins and procedure of the project are discussed.