Best Practices

Media art installations can exist in a multiplicity of forms, from a two-channel video projection to a large-scale environment that incorporates digital media, sculptural objects, interactive computer devices, and ephemeral materials. These variable and complex conditions can pose challenges even for the most seasoned exhibitor. Close communication with the artist or artist's representative, as well as with your technical support, is essential. The artist or lender should provide you with a list of recommended equipment; where specific equipment is included with the work, be sure you are provided with clear installation and operating instructions. Understanding the artist's equipment choices and technical requirements can provide insight into the meaning of the work and inform the installation design and audience interaction.

While well-established guidelines exist for exhibition practices relating to sculptural objects and related materials, this Guide is concerned specifically with the electronic and moving image media components. It would also be useful to cross-reference the Single-channel Video and Computer-based Art sections of this Guide.

Technical Support

It is important to have an experienced technician working on your exhibition who will communicate with the curator, artist or artist's representative, and exhibition coordinator during the planning, installation, and de-installation process. Often, especially in complex installations, it is typical to have the artist or artist's representative on site during the installation period. Many artists have their own technician who travels with the work, to be sure that the work is installed and working properly, and to train museum staff on daily operations. It is a common practice for this person to be paid a fee by the exhibiting institution. It is recommended that if an exhibitor intends to make media installations a regular part of its exhibitions program, it hire a qualified person to facilitate acquisition, planning, and maintenance of equipment and artworks involving media.

De-Installation and Return of Work

All elements loaned for the exhibition should be returned in a timely fashion. It is advisable with regard to installations, which often include sculptural or other elements, to use qualified and insured art handlers and shipping companies.