Planning Process

Planning for an exhibition of media art installations must account for the variability and complexity of works that may include wide-ranging elements, including sculptural objects, hardware, and video or digital media. The planning process and timetable includes considering issues such as technical specifications and requirements; acquisition or rental of playback and display equipment; technical support for installation, maintenance and de-installation; and construction, space and sound requirements. Throughout the planning process, it is essential to engage in a conversation with the artist or the artist's representative to understand how the works should be installed and the intended audience interaction.

Create a Checklist

The first step in planning any exhibition is to confirm the availability of the works to be included in the exhibition.

Permission and Rights

Contact the artist, gallerist, or other owner of the rights to the media installation to ensure there are no rights conflicts.

Interview the Artist or Representative

Whenever possible it is advisable to communicate with the artist or representative about how best to install a work of art. Request information about installation requirements and elements as soon as possible and then review all aspects of exhibition design and technical details before installation begins.

Gather Materials

Gather all elements of the work and instructions for how these elements relate to one another. This includes source material, equipment, and any other non-electronic elements necessary to install the work.


Installation guidelines and requirements dictate what equipment is necessary for each work. A list of specifications and recommendations should be requested as soon as the work is chosen for exhibition. Find out well in advance if there is dedicated equipment that will be shipped with the work or if you are responsible for obtaining equipment. Allow several weeks for vendors to process equipment orders in order to avoid costly rush shipping.

Install the Work

Follow closely any installation instructions and technical requirements laid out in the planning process. Have someone with adequate technical expertise on hand to help the installation run smoothly.


Once the work is installed it will be necessary to thoroughly test it for technical problems. The work should be left on for a considerable time during this testing period in order to anticipate any difficulties that might arise during an extended exhibition period. Create comprehensive notes outlining any glitches encountered and the steps taken to solve these issues. These notes should be made available to exhibition staff responsible for the maintenance of the exhibition.


Document the installation with schematic diagrams of the equipment, displays and connections, step-by-step instructions for start-up and shut-down of the work, and photo and video documentation of the completed installation.

Shipping and Dispersal

Following the close of the exhibition, return all elements of the installation in a timely fashion, using a reputable shipping company. With installations that include sculpture or other media, it is advisable to use insured art handlers for packaging and transport.