Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: New web site--Time-based media

New web site--Time-based media

From: George Brock-Nannestad <pattac<-a>
Date: Saturday, August 27, 2005
Pip Laurenson <pip.laurenson [at] tate__org__uk> writes

>Media Matters <URL:> is a new
>website which promises to be an invaluable resource for artists,
>collectors, dealers and museums who are concerned with the
>preservation of time based media such as video, slide, film, audio
>and computer-based installations.
>Media Matters

It is an extraordinary initiative and a tribute to professional
cooperation that the website Media Matters has been created.

I have visited the site which illustrates its approach, not only by
a structured Process Diagram for the borrowing process, but also by
its choice of sources in the Bibliography. However, I am slightly
wary of the approach taken and the definition of the area.

First and foremost, dividing art into stationary and "time based" is
not really useful, because it causes misclassification of the
artefacts. An example is a "flipbook", which is a book with
consecutive photographs that create movement in a kinematographic
fashion through manual flipping (creating the time-base). For all
intents and purposes (conservation-wise) this is a book, nothing
else. ("flipbooks" are made available to our times by Optical Toys).

It would be much more advantageous to think of the subject as being
that of "machine-assisted" or "machine-dependent" art. The common
denominator is the apparatus or machinery, without which there would
be no artistic manifestation. Only this way can we incorporate such
a thing as a slide installation (the very simple machine, the
projector). Shifting the focus from a time function to an equipment
function would permit treating even stationary projection by the
Process Guidelines.

The apparatus is almost always forgotten--without checking each of
the references in the Bibliography I still expect that 85-95% of the
material only deals with the medium, the carrier of content. Most
modern preservation efforts are concerned with preservation of the
medium, without concern if there is a machine available to use it
on. "We are archives, not museums" has been the catchphrase.
However, these manifestations of art can only be created or
reproduced by the interaction between the carrier and the machine.

The excellent Process Guidelines actually discuss the equipment
situation in the above terms, and they would be even clearer if the
expression "machine-dependent" were everywhere substituted for

The Process Diagram is a disappointment, however, because it is
entirely linear, no feedback shown anywhere. This means that there
is no quality control considered at this elevated level of planning.
For instance, what good is a "Condition Check", if a negative result
has no consequence? There is also no reference to the building of an
exhibition as the learning process it really is.

Our structuring of a field serves to direct and organize our
thoughts (and thereby our actions), and this is not a small
philosophical matter. This is the reason I have taken this up on the
Cons DistList and not just as feedback to the Media Matters website.

George Brock-Nannestad
Patent Tactics

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:13
                 Distributed: Friday, September 2, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-19-13-006
Received on Saturday, 27 August, 2005

[Search all CoOL documents]