AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting, May 10, Electronic Media Session, Geeks, Boffins, and Whizz Kids: the key role of the independent expert in time-based media conservation, Kate Jennings and Tina Weidner

Kate Jennings and Tina Weidner said this talk was inspired by outreach and advocacy  because it highlights how conservation connects with allied professions.  Neither the conservators nor the artists are experts in the media conserved so it is important to  seek out technology experts to work with.  In the time-based media department at the Tate there are 3 conservators and 1 technician, the department was established 16 years ago by Pip Laurenson who is now head of research and collections care.

The collection includes audio, film, slide, performance, software, and video. There are 470 works, 40 are accessioned each year.

It is important for conservators to work with people who get what we do, and can convey what they do to us.  While you should build up in-house knowledge, you must also continue to rely on outside experts as well. The talk then discussed a few of the experts they rely upon for assistance. These included:

– Robert Wheeler – bob{at}rlwconsultancy{dot}co{dot}uk
He offered assistance with projector “shoot out” to demonstrate different types of projectors to determine the best aesthetic as well as set up.

– Timothy McGill tim.mcgill{at}btinternet{dot}com
He is a videotape technology post-production expert in editing. After working with Sean Randolph he noticed that the artist work-flow was very unorthodox compared to the industry, but he really enjoyed this unpredictable production style in which works of art are created. He really understands what conservators do and the conservation needs for ephemeral materials.

– Jochen Trabandt info{at}activity-studios{dot}de
He is the operator of Analog Slide Lab Digital, he duplicates slides and analog graphics, he has a degree in electronic engineering, he was surprised in the substandard quality in which artworks were duplicated. He specializes in slide duplicating with mounts that have been discontinued.

– Adrian Fogarty fogartyadrian{at}hotmail{dot}com
He has been working on computers since 1974, simple programming and designing circuit boards. For the London Film Core, an artist collective, he designed a synthesizer.  He worked on the Duncan Gorden Turner Prize Installation 1995, Gustav Metzker installation, Martin Creed “Work no 112” 1995-2005 – 112 metronomes, for which he designed rewind mechanisms to keep the metronomes working for 70 hours straight.

Kate and Tina closed the presentation by saying that they are looking for experts in emerging technologies, especially internet based,  as well as considering a workshop on amps, volts, resistance, slide projector maintenance, or other potential topics.