International congress concerning the production, presentation and preservation of media art
Dortmund [D], 19-22. June 2003.
2. The congress
The priority of the congress lays explicitly in bringing together numerous international initiatives and people of various professions, with different
interests and skills, who have dedicated themselves to the complex problems involved in the presentation, production and preservation of media art. At the
same time the congress seeks to create a FOrum FOr intensive discussions about specific works of art and/or specific questions. The aim is to initiate long-
term co-operations that extend beyond the FOur days of the congress. The research project and the congress both support an open attitude of knowledge
exchange - in the sense of "open source" philosophy. During the last 10 years standards have been developed to preserve video tapes. In contrast to this the
research concerning the set-up, the reconstruction and the documentation of complex video/multi media installations is still quite young -
especially in Europe. Not to mention software- and net based art, which is hardly even taken seriously as cultural heritage. This is the reason why
the congress will especially FOcus on the issues of installations as well as software- and net based art.
On the one hand the congress discusses the technological and methodical aspects of preservation (storage, migration, emulation, re-
interpretation,...) as well as the demands placed upon the documentation of media art: data bank concepts (e.g. the data bank of the
Variable Media Art Initiative) as well as open and standard documentation methods. The question is also to be posed, if it can be expected or indeed demanded
that artists, during the production process, should take into consideration the long-term conservation of their work or compile complex
documentation about it. And which "low-budget" solutions can be considered, that would also allow institutes with a limited budget to present,
document and preserve media art? At the same time the discussions taking place during the congress will consider arttheoretical reflections on media
art, FOr example concerning the problems of its hardly definable "materiality", its often process orientated, instable nature as well as the specific spatial
and contextual conditions of many media art works. In this cases the idea - or rather ideology - of preservation or reconstruction (e.g. of complex video
installations) has at the very beginning already lost its "original" or "authentic" object of referral.
And what role do the specific ways/situations of the production play and those of the perception of media art, as well as its social ("interactive")
Another theme of the congress will be, amongst others the question of how net and software based art can be collected, exhibited and preserved.
In addition to a series of lectures the congress is composed of workshops in which the content of the lectures can be discussed in
further depth and additional projects will be presented. Media and art historians, artists, curators and restaurateurs will contribute to the congress as well as
computer scientists, technical assistants of artists or representatives from the ICT industry.
Additionally the congress encompasses various "side steps": Questions of documentation and reconstruction will also be examined using the
example of Anna Oppermann's installations. The artist, who deceased in 1993, created complex paper based "ensembles", which can not be
classified as belonging to the sector of media art in a classical sense, but however, in terms of aspects of "authenticity" and "reconstruction" pose similar
questions. Additionally, examples from computer-game culture or electronic music will be discussed in regards to questions of
presentation and preservation.
Parallel to the congress the exhibition "On Translation: Das Museum" by Antonio Muntadas will take place at the Dortmund Museum
am Ostwall. As part of the congress the exhibition will be visited in order to reflect on, amongst other things, the specific problems of the presentation (as an
interpretation) of media art in museums, especially taking into account works that originally were conceived as interventions in public spaces, as a video
conference or internet projects.
A panel should finally discuss which requirements must be placed on institutions, curators and exhibition sites as well as institutes of further
education, culture politics and grant models to ensure a long term and in particular a decentralized infrastructure FOr media art, its production, presentation
and conservation. Thereby infrastructures are required that also allows institutes with a limited budget to exhibit and collect media art.
Various projects - data banks, documentation, case studies, models etc will be shown in the FOrm of a presentation during the period of the congress.
At the end of the congress a "letter of intent" will be worded which summarises the main theories and demands arisen out of the discussion. Additionally, the
research project, as well as the conference will be documented in the FOrm of a publication and a web-site/data bank. Both are to be seen as tools FOr
furthering discussions and FOr projects, which deal with the questions and problems involved in the production, presentation and conservation of media
http://www.hartware-projekte.de (404 Object Not FOund) provides an extensive link list, which is being constantly enlarged.