43rd Annual Meeting – Electronic Media Session, May 16, "Tackling obsolescence through virtualization: facing challenges and finding potentials” by Patricia Falcao, Annet Dekker, and Pip Laurenson

The presenters began by explaining that they had changed the title to reflect the emphasis of presentation. The new title became "An exploration of significance and dependency in the conservation of software-based artwork."

Based upon their research, the presenters decided to focus on dependencies rather than obsolesence per se. The project was related to PERICLES, a pan-European risk assessment project for preserving digital content. PERICLES was a four-year collaboration that included systems engineers and other specialists, modeling systems to predict change.

The presenters used two case studies from the Tate to examine key concepts of dependencies and significant properties. Significant properties were described as values defined by the artist. Dependency is the connection between different elements in a system, defined by the function of those elements, such as the speed of a processor. The research focused on works of art where software is the essential part of the art. The presenters explained that there were four categories of software-based artwork: contained, networked, user-dependent, and generative. The featured case studies were examples of contained and networked artworks. These categories were defined not only in terms of behavior, but also in terms of dependencies.

Michael Craig-Martin's Becoming was a contained artwork. The changing composition of images was comprised of animation of the artist’s drawings on LCD screen, using proprietary software. Playback speed is an example of an essential property that could be changed, if there were a future change in hardware, for example.

Jose Carlos Martinat Mendoza's Brutalism: Stereo Reality Environment 3 was the second case study discussed by the presenters. This work of art is organized around a visual pun, evoking the Brutalist architecture of the Peruvian “Pentagonito,” a government Ministry of Defense office associated with the human rights abuses of a brutal regime. Both the overall physical form of the installation, when viewed merely as sculpture, and the photographic image of the original structure reinforce the architectural message. A printer integrated into the exhibit conveys textual messages gleaned from internet searches of brutality. While the networked connection permitted a degree of randomness and spontaneity in the information flowing from the printer, there was a backup MySQL database to provide content, in the event of an interruption in the internet connection.

The presenters emphasized that the dependencies for software-based art were built around aesthetic considerations of function. A diagram was used to illustrate the connection between artwork-level dependencies. With "artwork" in the center, three spokes radiated outward toward knowledge, interface, and computation. An example of knowledge might be the use of a password to have administrative rights to access or modify the work. A joystick or a game controller would be examples of interfaces. In Brutalism, the printer is an interface. Computation refers to the capacity and processor speed of the computer itself.

Virtualization has been offered as an approach to preserving these essential relationships. It separates hardware from software, creating a single file out of many. It can act as a diagnostic tool and a preservation strategy that mitigates against hardware failure. The drawbacks were that it could mean copying unnecessary or undesirable files or that the virtual machine (and the x86 virtualization architecture) could become obsolete. Another concern is that virtualization may not capture all of the significant properties that give the artwork its unique character. A major advantage of virtualization is that it permits the testing of dependencies such as processor speed. It also facilitates version control and comparison of different versions.The authors did not really explain the difference between emulation and virtualization, perhaps assuming that the audience already knew the difference. Emulation uses software to replicate the original hardware environment to run different operating systems, whereas virtualization uses the existing underlying hardware to run different operating systems. The hardware emulation step decreases performance.

The presenters then explained the process that is used at the Tate. They create a copy of the hardware and software. A copy is kept on the Tate servers. Collections are maintained in a High Value Digital Asset Repository. The presenters also described the relationship of the artist's installation requirements to the dependencies and significant properties. For example, Becoming requires a monitor with a clean black frame of specific dimensions and aspect ratio. The software controls the timing and speed of image rotation and the randomness or image changes, as well as traditional artistic elements of color and scale. With Brutalism, the language (Spanish to English) is another essential factor, along with "liveness" of search.

During the question and answer period, the presenters explained that they were using VMware, because it was practical and readily available. An audience member asked an interesting question about the limitations of virtualization for the GPU (graphics processing unit). The current methodology at the Tate works for the CPU(central processing unit) only, not the graphics unit. The presenters indicated that they anticipated future support for the GPU.

This presentation emphasized the importance of curatorship of significant propeeties and documentation of dependencies in conserving software-based art. It was important to understand the artist's intent and to capture the essence of the artwork as it was meant to be presented, while recognizing that the artist’s hardware, operating system, applications, and hardware drivers could all become obsolete. It was clear from the presentation that a few unanswered questions remain, but virtualization appears to be a viable preservation strategy.

New JAIC issue online now

JAIC coverThe latest issue of JAIC (Journal of the American Institute for Conservation) is now online, and print copies are mailing shortly. This issue, Vol. 53, No. 2, features the following articles:

  • EDITORIAL, by Julio M. Del Hoyo-Meléndez, Editor-In-Chief
  • SHORT COMMUNICATION: GOBERGE, SHIMBARI, GO-BARS: THE USE OF FLEXIBLE STICKS FOR CLAMPING, by Tristram Bainbridge, Shayne Rivers, Yoshihiko Yamashita, Andrew Thackray, Nicola Newman
  • BOOK REVIEWS, by Vanessa Muros and Cybele Tom

AIC members and journal subscribers have online access to these articles now, before the print issue arrives. We hope you enjoy these articles, which bring some very interesting techniques and research to light.

Read more about the journal at http://www.maneyonline.com/loi/jac, or review the submission guidelines and JAIC style guide at http://www.conservation-us.org/jaic.

43rd Annual Meeting, Electronic Media and Objects Joint Session, Co-Organized by Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA), May 14, “Preserving What is Right: Learning the Ethics and Similarities of Collaborating with a Living Artist and Buddhist Monks,” Céline Chrétien

Object Conservator Céline Chrétien described her experiences working with contemporary artist Richard Fauguet to conserve his piece Mirida and her more recent work with Buddhist monks to conserve actively-used liturgical objects. Though on the surface these projects seem very different, they both raised interesting questions about how to apply conservation ethics to situations in which the artist – or, in the case of the liturgical objects, the believers – still have a living relationship with their objects.
While working at the FRAC (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art) in Besançon, France, Chrétien was responsible for the conservation of the 1993 piece Mirida by artist Richard Fauguet. Mirida consists of three translucent silicone rubber horse heads covered in glass marbles. The silicone heads are somewhat soft and intentionally deformed to evoke Fauguet’s dreamlike aesthetic. The heads were damaged from the mounting screws and the silicone had discolored. Conservation was necessary, but no alterations could be made to the piece without permission from the artist. During an initial conversation Chrétien had with the artist to discuss the condition of the piece and its need for conservation, Fauguet was concerned that the silicone had discolored too severely and he believed that the best approach would be for the piece to be remade, either by him or by Chrétien. The collections manager immediately rejected this proposal, however, since in reconstructing the piece its authenticity would be lost. Once Fauguet was able to come see the condition of the piece in person, he determined that the discoloration was not as drastic as he feared and agreed to treatment of the original work. Chrétien mended the horse heads with Beva and constructed new mounts and crates that offered more support to the silicone forms. Chrétien had to navigate complex ethical considerations through multiple conservations with the artist, his colleagues, and her colleagues at FRAC to arrive at the best outcome.
This collaborative experience served Chrétien well during her more recent work at a Buddhist monastery in northern India. The monastery was preparing for a new exhibition space, and many of the clay figures and masks used in religious ceremonies were in need of conservation treatment. These objects had never been repaired by outsiders, only local members of the community. Chrétien interviewed the monks to learn more about how the objects were used and their goals for treatment. People still leave offerings at the objects, which serve as homes to various deities. The deities will leave when the object becomes damaged, so they must be repaired in order to invite the deity back to reside there again.
Since the Buddhist objects were being actively used, they couldn’t be treated in the same ways ethnographic objects are treated in Western museums. As a result, Chrétien and her fellow conservators had to take an approach that is more similar to working with living contemporary artists. Chrétien drew interesting parallels between conservation of ethnographic objects in an active monastery setting and conservation of contemporary art in consultation with the artist. In both cases, the interview is a crucial tool. The conservator is an outsider and must act as mediator. And care must be taken not to privilege the norms of traditional Western conservation ethic.

43rd Annual Meeting – Electronic Media Session, May 16, "Cross-disciplinary Conservation: Building a Synergetic Time-based Media Lab,"by Joanna Phillips

The Guggenheim's Time-based Media Conservation Lab.
The Guggenheim’s Time-based Media Conservation Lab.

Time-based media art is still a relative newcomer to art conservation practice. Even at institutions that have embraced the developing theory and practice of conserving time-based works limitations of space and resources can affect this emerging area more acutely than more established areas of conservation. In her presentation at the electronic media session of the AIC’s 43rd annual meeting, Joanna Phillips, associate conservator of contemporary art at the Guggenheim Museum, described how time-based media conservation has evolved within the environment of the Guggenheim, culminating in the recent establishment of a lab devoted to this work. Phillips, who joined the Museum in 2008 and whose contributions to the development of conservation for time-based works includes publications and the organizing of the AIC-sponsored “Tech Focus” conferences of 2010 and 2015, described the new lab as a cross-disciplinary hub that integrates this practice within the larger mission of the Museum and its constituent departments.
Phillips screening a work with the movable media cart.
Phillips screening a work with the movable media cart.

Equipment performance checks conducted in various spaces within the Guggenheim's Conservation Lab.
Equipment performance checks conducted in various spaces in the conservation lab.

Previous to the establishment of the lab the Guggenheim Museum had no permanent space allotted to conserving time-based works. Conservation was achieved on a fluid and ad hoc basis that utilized existing lab facilities, screening equipment and staging areas via coordination with the Museum’s audiovisual technicians and conservators. A movable cart of electronic devices for screening time-based works was assembled so that any space within the conservation and media departments could be used as a staging area for viewing and documenting works. While this arrangement allowed the conservation staff to optimize the use of existing facilities, the cart was a less than ideal solution. And with such limited real estate available to stage time-based works, conservation might also necessarily be conducted in the exhibition space during installation and, hence, was subject to the strictures of the installation timeline. Time-based media art conservation evolved at the Guggenheim through the coordination and flexibility of conservation and technical staff, but the situation posed many disadvantages. Troubleshooting conservation measures under the time crunch of installing exhibitions incurred additional costs and threatened to impact the integrity of the works’ exhibition where compromises were necessary. The existing lab facilities were not built to accommodate the special needs of time-based works and the necessity of constantly relocating equipment and components to whatever space was available hindered the development of documentation and workflows.
Legacy and contemporary screening equipment for time-based works in the Guggenheim's Time-based Media Lab.
Legacy and contemporary screening equipment for time-based works in the Guggenheim’s Time-based Media Lab.

Kress Fellow Brian Castriota compares the performance a time-based work on various exhibition monitors.
Kress Fellow Brian Castriota compares the performance a time-based work on various exhibition monitors.

The establishment of the time-based media lab addresses the inadequacies of the ‘floating’ media lab that preceded it. The lab is equipped with screening equipment for previewing works. An interchangeable space is devoted to performing mockups of installation equipment, allowing conservators to make side-by-side comparisons of equipment performance to determine the best display method.In this new setting formalized methods for containing and tracking media components have been implemented to differentiate works that may exist simply on a nondescript flash drive and safeguards such as write-blockers have been installed to ensure that the integrity of digital objects is not disturbed during treatment. This devoted space also affords more space and time for creating richer iteration reports regarding the performance of these works and allows for a fuller investigation of custom-built electronics.
Kress Fellow Brian Castriota disassembling custom hardware.
Kress Fellow Brian Castriota disassembling custom hardware.

Lab mock-up of "El Sueña de una Cosa" (2001) by Phillippe Parreno.
Conducting mock-ups in the lab.

Phillips_Guggenheim_Condition Photo
Conservation photography during the check-in process.

Custom housings and inventory management for components of time-based works.
Custom housings for components.

Phillips emphasized that, more than simply an amelioration of past inadequacies, the time-based media conservation lab presents opportunities that extend beyond lab work to engage other museum staff and researchers in a groundbreaking way. Describing the lab as a cross-disciplinary hub, she explained that researchers, curators and education staff are invited to engage with works in an authentic way that was previously limited to fleeting exhibition installations. The staging area can also facilitate artist interviews to establish which components and aesthetic features are most integral to a work’s integrity, and how the work might be treated without disturbing its authenticity.
Guggenheim_Phillips_Collaborating at the Bench
Time-based media conservators inspect new acquisition with an object conservator and registrar.

Phillips and NYU computer scientists collaboratively conduct an interview with artist Siebren Versteeg.

Artist-led planning session with curators, conservators, registrars, exhibitions designers, education and public programs staff.
Artist-led planning session with curators, conservators, registrars, exhibitions designers, education and public programs staff.

NYU computer scientists present case study to museum staff and guests.
Case study presentation to museum staff and guests as part of a collaboration between with the NYU Dept. of Computer Science.

The development of conservation documentation can enrich curator’s and audience’s understanding of the works and their creators which, when shared with audiences outside of the lab, builds awareness of the unique properties of time-based works and the challenges they present to conservators. By interfacing with development and education staffs the lab further increases the profile of time-based works and their conservation, enriching the Museum’s exhibitions and resources.
The time-based media conservation lab itself is a signal of time-based media’s increasing integration within the Guggenheim’s mission, one that opens opportunities for conservators and other museum staff to engage with these works in ways that were much inhibited in its previous time- and space-bound state. And as a cross-disciplinary hub the lab affords a new platform for sharing the development of this emerging practice within the Museum and beyond.

43rd Annual Meeting – Electronic Media Session, May 16, 2015, “Archiving the Brotherhood: Proposing a Technical Genealogy for Time-Based Works” by Joey Heinen

Warning! If you are a techy, you will have to wait for the published paper for the complete technical details; read on if you can stomach a more philosophical overview.
I recently heard a thought-provoking presentation by photograph cataloger Robert Burton who quoted his mentor, Sally Buchanan, and then explained how cataloging is preservation. Joey Heinen pushed that envelope further for me with his recent Electronic Materials Group presentation on his archival work focused on The Brotherhood, a technology-based, interactive, kinetic artwork (1990-1998) by Steina and Woody Vasulka that no longer exists. Since the artwork can no longer be experienced as an installation, preserving the archival record of the piece is the closest we can get to preserving the work.
The only way to understand or study the work now is to imagine it through immersion in its archival record, and Heinen argued further that understanding the technology is as important as understanding the visitor experience when representing the history of the artwork, much as a traditional conservator might integrate a technical study of manufacturing methods into a conservation treatment plan. As part of his graduate internship, Heinen spent the better part of a year analyzing, documenting and processing a disassembled collection of components and archives that form the corpus of The Brotherhood. And so I pose a question to you: is this preservation, or is it conservation, both, or neither?
Have you ever made a robot move to the rhythm of your voice when speaking into a microphone? Made from scavenged vintage warfare machinery from Los Alamos, the Vasulkas jury-rigged hardware, composed software, and used midi protocols to connect the gadgets to inputs like microphones and video cameras that took input or signal from the visitors (both inadvertent and purposeful), resulting in a stimulus/response sequence that integrated the visitor into the artwork and its experience.
Now disassembled and on the verge of being donated to the Brakhage Center at the University of Colorado – Boulder University Library, the work was originally installed in several venues including the InterCommunications Center in Tokyo. The artists do not intend for the artwork to be reinstalled. However, as the work integrated cutting-edge technology of the time and pushed limits of technical and aesthetic experience, they would like the collection (consisting of the work’s physical components as well as their personal archival materials) to be able to be studied. While ample video documentation of visitors experiencing with the work exists alongside a paper-based archival collection, there was no handbook to guide Heinen in how to document and therefore preserve the elements of the work that are possible to preserve.
How did Heinen accomplish this? He went way beyond normal archival processing, and instead imposed order on what I overheard one audience member describe as “chaos on so many levels.” He examined not only the physical objects, but the archival documents (e.g. notes, drawings and instructions) that were part of the artists’ design process, and videos of visitors experiencing the artwork. The analysis yielded complex mappings of the various components and their relationships to each other. He delved into the software code, creating what he calls a technical genealogy, and traced the various types and connections between inputs and outputs.
What is left to do to facilitate researchers successfully accessing the collection? One could develop curriculum to guide exploration of this kind of media, perhaps in the fields of history of computer science, or media archaeology, or enrich the archival record with artist interviews. While it may seem like a unique, one-off type of preservation project, in fact, in digital experience realms, the skills and tools Joey developed to document this project could have broader applications in documenting web-based experiences as well. I’ll be honest, some of this talk was over my head, but the rest of the audience feedback was incredibly positive, and confirmed my reaction: Wow, what a massive amount of work, and thank goodness Joey Heinen did it, or it would all be lost!
Joey Heinen’s internship was funded through the IMLS as part of requirements for the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation MA program at NYU.

43rd Annual Meeting – Electronic Media + Objects, May 15th: “Conserving Anthony McCall’s Solid Light Films” by Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin, archivist and conservator, gave a talk about the conservation project of Anthony McCall’s Solid Light Films. It started in 2012, when Pamela and Richard Kramlich gave 6 film installations made by the English artist Anthony McCall in the 1970’s, to the New Art Trust (NAT) which has worked on the preservation and showing of time-based media works, since its creation by the Kramlichs in the 1990’s.
Martin started by presenting the artworks’ history. The 6 solid light films, made between 1973 and 1975, are 16 mm silver films, where “a white dot traces a circle on a black background; and when projected, it creates a volume cone.” The films were projected in different directions, and the viewer has to move around in the light. Then, in the early 2000’s, the digital files allowed an easier installation and projection (in particular, vertically). McCall took this opportunity to revisit his work of the 1970’s and created new installations on a digital support using digital projection.
Subsequently Jeff Martin introduced the conservation, presentation, and digitalization work done by the conservator and the NAT for the solid light films. These were first considered as traditional silver films, and consequently the choice has been to make exhibition copies. Though, creating 16mm films appeared to cause specific technical problems, the main one being the need to get a double perforated film, which is only available today by special order to Kodak, and is expensive. The obstacles led the conservator to think about making a digital remake of the films. In order to know if this option would fit with the artist’s intention, Martin interviewed McCall and collected pieces of information about the history and the technique of the solid light films. Martin précised he had been “very careful not to apply his own proposition but to respect the original installation.” Finally, the choice was made to project the original installation on 16mm films, and to create new masters for all of the films, but for the future, the question of the digitalization remains open, especially because McCall says that he changes his mind all the time!
To a photography conservator, this talk was interesting, as it was bringing a different point of view on photographic material preservation and presentation. Indeed, even if the McCall artworks’ physical materiality is photographic, its existence is the result of the light passing through the film and extending into space. In this case, what has to be preserved and shown is not as much the film in itself (which has to be preserved too), but the light manifestation that results of it, and the sensation produced to the visitor who can penetrate it, which could indeed be reproduced by a digital copy… especially as the artist switched to digital projection in his 2000’s creations.
Martin ended the talk by saying that all the work done to preserve the installations started from the original films and materials, and he emphasized on the collaboration with the artist, which has been essential to achieve this project.

43rd Annual Meeting- EMG + OSG Session, May 15, "The Butterfly Effect: A Case Study on the Value of Artist Collaboration in the Conservation of Ephemeral Material" by Christa Pack, Tasha Ostrander, and Mina Thompson

Christa Pack presented a beautiful collaboration that took place at the New Mexico Museum of Art between staff conservator Mina Thompson, herself, and the artist Tasha Ostrander. The artwork Seventy-Three in a Moment was acquired recently by the museum after it had been displayed outdoors on a portico. The conservation work was also mentioned in an article published in “Ongoing” a Santa Fe New Mexican paper.
Christa started out with documentation on the materials and working method- the work is a butterfly mandala with a butterly representing each day in the life of a 73 year-old, the average life span of a person in 1996, the year the work was made. Tasha became involved in the process and eventually made additional butterflies- photocopies that were individually cut out- to add to the work. At a point in the conservation process they realized that Tasha should make the replacement butterflies and work on the integration- there weren’t enough of the detached butterflies and although many were numbered, there was no obvious logical sequence.
In this process they moved away from the YES! paste used by the artist and instead chose Aquazol. Christa spoke about the value of the artist’s voice and participation in restoration of the conceptual components. The process required mutual trust and respect. Christa ended with a nice video of the artist telling in her own words about the project… I’m paraphrasing… when Tasha saw the work in the lab, she was sad, but also thrilled to have some control over the piece since it was sold. She felt like the process was bringing the work back to life; re-entering into the past.
What surprised Tasha about conservation? The artistry, patience, pain-staking, get the job done, whatever it takes, discovery, and courage
A great collaboration that saw a new relationship and friendship emerge.

43rd Annual Meeting- Electronic Media Group Session, May 16, "The Fragile Surface: Preserving the CD-DA by John Passmore

John Passmore works as the archives manager at WNYC. They have audio recordings that go back to the earliest days of radio– about 100 years now. As a listener of WNYC it was very interesting to hear about how they are caring for their archives. WNYC does a lot more than just radio- like many media producers, they are a multi-platform production company with born-digital content. In the audio preservation lab they are able to digitize and preserve almost all media types, which is an anomaly in the public media world.
That being said- between 2000-2008 they created ~30,000 digital audio cds which were created and finalized by the engineers at the time of the broadcast. About 5 years ago they started to notice some problems with them being unplayable and hard to rip. It was possible to extract the .wav file, but it would sound terrible. Being worried about the health of these formats they created a workflow to migrate them in an efficient and responsible manner. Some have obvious manufacturing defects, but the scary thing is that usually you can’t see something visibly wrong. The most commonly believed reason that cds fail is due to degradation or failure of the dye layer. This is extremely small- at 0.5 micrometers this is about 1/100th of the width of a human hair!
To migrate their collection, they bought a machine that is used to put cds onto an ipod or other digital player- it is not preservation oriented, but can concatenate .wav files dump them onto the DAM and extract the metadata. If the cd fails then they use a separate testing system. Plexstore can be used to review the data. It is also possible to run the cd in real time in a cd player and extract the info that way, but this is obviously much more time consuming. There are problems with this system and John is not totally happy with it, but it is working for now.
Now for the alarming information- they ran a test of about 20% of 2,400 discs to determine how many errors and what kind there were- correctable or uncorrectable. None of the cds passed! So the whole collection is at great risk.
John’s list of takeaways:

  1. CDs don’t last very long, maybe even less than we though- their CDs are only 10 years old, not the 20-30 usually stated in accelerated aging tests
  2. It is hard to know why the CDs go bad, and finally
  3. They are looking at open source tools like QCTools. John ended with a great video using MakeAGIF.com showing the process of his machine in process.

43rd Annual Meeting, Electronic Media and Objects Joint Session, Co-Organized by Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA), May 14, “Beyond the Interview: Working with Artists in Time-based Media Conservation,” Kate Lewis

Kate Lewis, Media Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art, spoke about communicating with artists, a daily practice for time-based media conservators. Time-based media art is inherently dynamic and its conservation requires ongoing collaboration throughout the life-cycle of a piece. Gathering information from an artist is a cumulative process, with opportunities for both formal and informal conversations at multiple stages, from acquisition to condition checking to installation.
The first opportunity for conservators to communicate with the artist is at the point of acquisition. This is a chance to gather information about the media production history and specifications for the technology needed to show the piece. Initial contact generally happens via email; for efficiency and consistency, Lewis has a standard set of questions that she sends to artists.
The next point at which communication with artists happens is during the condition checking phase. This is when all of the media in the piece are examined to ensure that the necessary files and equipment are present and working properly. Gathering information at this point can be a challenge; artists are often busy and may feel rushed, especially if they don’t fully understand the more technical concerns.
It is often at the installation stage that museum staff conducts a formal artist interview. Installation is the first time the staff has a chance to experience the art, and it’s at this point when final tweaking of volume settings and other technical details happens. There are so many people involved and there are many conversations happening between museum staff and the artist, that capturing important snippets of information can be tricky. Lewis likes to audio record whenever possible, in addition to taking notes, and then follows up with more formal questions later on. Post-installation is often the ideal moment for more in-depth conversations with the artist.
Lewis spoke to the importance of revisiting questions with the artist multiple times. A cumulative approach is inevitable, given time-constraints and the nature of these interactions, but it also affords an important opportunity to develop trust and empathy for the artist and the piece. It can take a while to get the artists away from their canned “spiel.” It can also take time for conservators and other museum staff to understand and appreciate, even if they don’t agree with, an artist’s point of view.
Some artists are elusive but exert a lot of influence over their work. Lewis talked about a few artists she’s worked with whose pieces have very specific technological requirements that will face obsolescence in the not-too-distant future, and an unwillingness (at least at this point) on the part of the artists to discuss hardware, software, or format alternatives. Lewis and others in the room speculated that artists don’t always want to talk about how components of their work might change; they might be resistant so that things won’t be changed too soon, forcing conservators to work a little harder to keep as faithful to the original for as long as possible.
Lewis made the interesting point that time-based media art is so new and dynamic that we’re still determining what counts as “patina” for these works; ongoing conversations with artists help us figure out what elements may be altered or replaced and what must be saved in order to retain the authenticity and integrity of the piece.

2015 Annual Meeting EMG/OSG/VoCA Joint Session: Collaboration with Artists in the Preservation of Artistic Heritage

The Electronic Media Group (EMG) and Objects Specialty Group (OSG) of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) are joining with Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA) to present a special joint session on the topic of collaboration with artists at the upcoming AIC Annual Meeting in Miami, FL, May 13-16, 2015.
Recognizing that artists have a stake in the legacy of their work has shifted conservation practice in recent decades. Moreover, it is possible to maintain a critical art historical discourse while also integrating the voices and opinions of the artists within preservation strategies for their artworks. The mission of organizations like VoCA has been guided by the possibilities of this shift. Increasingly, these practices are flourishing at major museums across the country.
Many conservators are actively seizing opportunities to interview and otherwise interact with artists. This session provides a venue for novice and experienced practitioners alike, from conservation and allied preservation-related fields, to share their outlook on and practice of collaboration with artists and their associates.
The sessions will be take place on Thursday, May 14, from 2pm-5:30pm, and Friday, May 15, from 8:30am-12:30pm. A ½ hour discussion will be held at the end of each day’s talks, led by Jill Sterrett on Thursday and Glenn Wharton on Friday.
The full schedule for the joint sessions is available here.