Equipment & Technical Issues

As artists have demonstrated, all varieties of media may be incorporated into one installation. Media art installations include electronic moving-image elements (such as video, digital media, and interactive computer devices) within specific scenarios, built structures, sites, or viewing environments. They employ many of the same devices and technical standards as single-channel video and computer-based artworks, but often in multiples or as part of a larger system or group of objects. In respect to technical issues, it is common for installations to exist in one of two categories: those that incorporate specific equipment into the work itself, and those that only use equipment as a means to display the work.

Each of the different media elements of an installation, including hardware, software, and video, may pose unique technical and preservation concerns. (This Guide does not cover installation elements such as sculptural objects or ephemeral materials.) Proper installation and maintenance of the equipment and media elements are critical, and collectors should consult qualified technicians and conservators where possible.

This section provides a basic overview of common media formats, playback and display devices, audio, and cables, as well as a projector installation guide and general technical and equipment troubleshooting tips. You may also want to reference the Computer-Based Art section. The Preservation section offers recommendations on preserving the media components of installations and how to handle artworks that incorporate obsolete equipment. The Exhibition section includes valuable information relating to installing and exhibiting media installations.

Media Formats

Display Devices: Multi-monitor and Multi-projection Installation Guidelines