Videotape Deterioration Mechanisms and Conservation Remedies: A Primer

Erik Piil
The Electronic Media Review, Volume Four: 2015-2016


Art as thin as a human hair running a mile a minute presents big challenges for the conservation community. This talk will cover the landscape of common videotape deteriora­tion mechanisms, including binder instability through hydrolysis, repeated playback degradation, debris contamination, and other alteration processes. It will also detail various communi­ties’ efforts to establish a metric for videotape deterioration, highlighting ongoing projects as an example of how the current body of scholarship intersects with emerging practices.

Erik Piil
Associate Conservator
The Kramlich Collection/New Art Trust