41st Annual Meeting – Electronic Media Session – June 1st – "A hands-off approach to controlling media-based artworks" by Brad Dilger and Richard McCoy

Brad Dilger showed how the IMA has transitioned from manually controlling all media-based artworks (meaning that someone had to physically turn on every artwork at the power source each day) to the current system that can be controlled remotely. He walked us through the process of choosing different systems, the museum began using a server which crashed when devices were added or taken away and a programmer had to redo the whole system each time which was expensive.  The second version of the system was a stable integrated control system, they had 3 manufacturers to choose between: Cresteron, Exteron, and AMX.  Exteron was the only system that had an open source, free configuration and wouldn’t require a certified technician for maintenance.  The Exteron processor was made to function as a network or a stand alone device with serial communication and/or a remote power control unit (RPC) power strip.
The Exteron setup has a software configuration is straightforward to use, and the user can set up a schedule, and set notifications by e-mail, for example, for projectors it is possible to set up an e-mail notification when the lamp bulb nears 2,000 hours so the bulb can be changed. The system prevents circuits from overloading if the artwork requires a high draw (13 amps).
He showed 2 case studies: Julianne Swartz’s 2008 “Terrain” and Will Lamson’s 2010 “A line describing the sun” and how those two works functioned using the Exteron system.  The presentation offered many solutions to the issues surrounding the display and maintenance of electronic artworks.