International congress concerning the production, presentation and preservation of media art
Dortmund [D], 19-22. June 2003.
3. The research project
3.1 Initial situation
Museums and art institutions have in the last 10 years increasingly opened up to the variety of media art. Large-scale events such as the documenta or
international Biennales have been dominated by the presentation of media art to a previously unknown extent. This increasing interest in media art is also
reflected through the profiles of public art collections.
This positive development is in direct contrast to the lack of institutional competence concerning the documentation and preservation of media art as well
as its presentation and production conditions. Practically no museum has suitably trained personnel. Most of the institutes FOr further education and training
of restaurateurs and art-historians practically ignore a scientifically sounded examination of media art.
As the data storage of media art (video, laser-disc, CD-ROM, DVD, etc.) as well as it's presentation technology (e.g. projectors) are,
due to the speedy developments dictated by commercial suppliers, rarely current FOr more than 5-10 years there is an urgent need FOr both public and private
collectors to act.
FOr example, certain works by Diana Thater or Stan Douglas are fundamentally dependant on a particular kind of three tube projector which is not longer in
production. Also software and net based art, which the art world still is so hesitant to accept, is threaten by distinction. Early works by artists like
JODI are threatened to disappearance due to the rapid development of commercial browsers and software versions. A central task necessary to be able - both
today and tomorrow - to adequately present (and to experience) media art is the care full documentation - as well as the access to the
documentation - of the specific requirements FOr the presentation of media art works. A task, that is complicated, due to the fact that the "optimum"
FOrm of presentation is difficult to define precisely FOr many works of media art. Furthermore the original "authentic" state on which a reconstruction could be
based often varies greatly through the course of different presentations. It must also be considered which international standards FOr the documentation of
works of media art must be developed in order to enable the greatest possible access and at the same time ensuring the greatest flexibility in regards to the
specific requirements of each particular work of media art.
The problems involved in the presentation, documentation and conservation of media art are extremely complex and pose themselves afresh with
practically each single work. Institutions, initiatives, conferences and institutes of further education, which have devoted themselves to theses
problems over the last years in Europe, USA and Canada (see http://www.hartware-projekte.de/programm/inhalt/eulink.htm ), have created important milestones in the productive search FOr solutions - but they are
still extremely few. What is lacking is a continuously communication structure as well as models which enable institutes with a small budget to handle media
art in the best possible way. Additionally the question of presentation and conservation of net and software based art has hardly been researched.
The research project and the congress "404 Object Not FOund. What remains of media art?" seeks to contribute to the creation of an interdisciplinary
decentralized infrastructure FOr the production, presentation and preservation of media art as well as net and software based art.
More detailed inFOrmation and registration: