Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Make Out, Shadow Box 8, 2008

Topics in Time-based Media Art Conservation

The Conservation Center’s Topics in Time-Based Media Art Conservation lecture series is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The series is organized by Hannelore Roemich and Christine Frohnert.

A video of each lecture is archived and available after the event in the Institute's video archive.

Recent Events

June 16, 11:00am - 1:00pm
Title: Experiential Conservation: The Media Preservation Initiative Model at the Whitney

Watch "Experiential Conservation" online [opens in new window]
Installation view of multiple movie and slide projections in both black and white and color

Launched in 2018 to address the needs of one of the largest time-based media art collections in the world, the Whitney’s Media Preservation Initiative (MPI) has reshaped the Museum’s understanding of its own collection and highlighted the need for a more comprehensive stewardship of time-based media (TBM) art. A holistic approach has been developed through sustained dialogue across several departments with the MPI team, whose inter-disciplinary specialists have re-catalogued, researched, and carried out preservation measures at the component level on 600 TBM artworks in just three years. In addition, through MPI the Whitney has pioneered a new system for preservation that equally foregrounds material, digital, and artistic integrity, scholarly research, and access. In this talk, Whitney staff will discuss their vision for the Museum’s TBM collection, while the MPI team recounts some of their greatest challenges and collaborative successes.

Hosted by the Time-based Media Art Conservation program at the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. Generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

WMAA and MPI bios for webinar

Carol Mancusi-Ungaro serves as the Melva Bucksbaum Associate Director for Conservation and Research at the Whitney Museum of American Art and for over a decade as Founding Director of the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art at the Harvard Art Museums. For nineteen years she served as Chief Conservator of The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. During that time she founded the Artists Documentation Program wherein she interviews artists about the technical nature of their art (adp.menil.org).

Dr. Chrissie Iles is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her curatorial focus is moving image art, the work of emerging artists, and art of the 1960s and 1970s. She builds the Whitney’s collection of film and video, and is part of the curatorial team that shapes the Museum’s artistic program. She is a member of the Graduate Committee of the Center of Curatorial Studies at Bard College, a Faculty member of the curatorial program at the School of Visual Arts, and a visiting critic in the Fine Art Department of Columbia University.

Farris Wahbeh, Director of Research Resources, works within the field of cultural informatics to enhance access to art and archival collections. He oversees the Frances Mulhall Achilles Library and maintains the Museum’s Special Collections and the Permanent Collection Documentation Office. Farris has gained experience from a wide range of institutions, including Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Getty Research Institute, the Provenance Index, the Creative Audio Archive in Chicago, Intuit: the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, as well as the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulazziz Center for World Culture

David Neary is the Project Manager of the Media Preservation Initiative. He is a graduate of NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program and also holds an MA in Film Studies from University College Dublin. He has worked to preserve the film collections of institutions including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, MoMA, and the Oregon Historical Society.

Savannah Campbell is Media Preservation Specialist, Video and Digital Media at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has previously been a Fellow in Magnetic Media Preservation at The Standby Program and has worked on audiovisual preservation projects for the Dance Heritage Coalition, CUNY TV, and Crawford Media Services. Savannah holds an MA in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from New York University.

Brian Block has coordinated the Whitney’s effort to enhance its time-based media documentation practices in his role as Project Researcher. He created new templates for centralizing and analyzing TBM artworks and uses these tools when generating research data about the Museum’s TBM holdings. Brian is a 2018 graduate of UCLA, where he received a Master of Library & Information Science degree with a specialization in Media Archival Studies.

Christopher Bernu is the Project Cataloguer for MPI. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Museum and Exhibition Studies program. His previous experience includes projects for the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Nicholas Carbone is the Media Preservation Specialist in film and slide works for the Media Preservation Initiative. In addition to his work there, he is also the Audiovisual Archivist for both the Trisha Brown Dance Company and the video artist Mary Lucier. In the past, Nicholas has worked on projects at the Carolee Schneemann Foundation, the Andy Warhol Film Project, Bard College and Artists Space.

Image caption: Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984), Movie Mural, 1965-68. Multiple 35 and 16mm films, black-and-white and color, sound and silent, durations vary, transferred to video, with black-and-white and color slide projections. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Film and Video Committee. Photograph by Ron Amstutz. © Estate of Stan VanDerBeek

May 26th at 3:00pm
Speakers: J. Soto, Arts Administrator and Consultant, and Sally Szwed, Director of Artist Initiatives from Eyebeam
Title: Shifting online: Responsive transformations in art and technology

Join Sally Szwed and J. Soto from Eyebeam, an organization focused on supporting justice-driven artists working with technology, for a presentation and discussion on how the organization radically pivoted their support for artists, as well as public engagement strategies in both shape and scale at the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. Brought about by the conditions of 2020, these shifts provoke larger questions of the role of artists in the rapidly changing digital environment, sustainability, accessibility of digital spaces, and the possibilities when artists reclaim this type of technology in their work.

In this lecture the two will share some specific examples of inventive artist work that was produced in this formative moment, as well as strategies Eyebeam is undertaking to continue meaningful engagement with artists and the public as we continue to build community in the digital realm.

J. Soto is an arts administrator and consultant invested in the intersectional community histories and present of queer people of color and disabled people. Soto's work focuses on how to create more equitable practices and access to resources in the arts and dance field. His work and writing can be found in Original Plumbing, Apogee Journal: Queer History, Queer Now Folio, American Realness 2018 Reading series, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, and Grant Makers in the Arts GIA Reader. His work is deeply influenced by his experiences as a queer transgender Latino who grew up in the Bay Area, with roots in Southern Arizona and the borderlands. He serves as the Manager of Programs and Inclusion at Eyebeam.

As Eyebeam’s Director of Artist Initiatives, Sally Szwed guides the organization's core artist support programs, youth education, and public engagement. Sally believes that artists are vital enactors of societal change, and are essential for inventing a radically equitable future. Sally is an accomplished arts leader in NYC. She previously directed the Creative Time Summit, an international convening on the intersection of art and politics. Sally grew the Summit in both scale and ambition, building an expansive global community while traveling iterations of the program to the 56th Venice Biennale and around the world. She holds an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts.

April 21, 2021
Speaker: Hélia Marçal, Lecturer in History of Art, Materials and Technology at University College London
Title: Conservation Between Performance and Participation

Watch "Conservation Between Performance and Participation" online [opens in new window]

Description: Conservation has long been recognized as a social activity, aimed at preserving objects and artworks as manifestations of values, affects, and stories. But how can conservators reconcile the values of past, present, and future generations, of local communities and global organisations, of the art institution and the public sphere? This presentation will look at conservation through the lens of performativity to address issues of representation, the politics of participation, and the social landscape in conservation. By exploring the challenges posed to conservation by performance and other forms of socially-engaged art, this lecture will reflect on how these types of artworks reframe conservation aims in the public sphere. Issues of representation and misrecognition in decision-making processes will be analysed through feminist epistemology – namely through Nancy Fraser's work. The presentation will then address the ways in which rethinking conservation through performance allows us to acknowledge the realms of difference and inclusion in our profession. Finally, the lecture will question and reflect on some of the ways in which we can bring new perspectives of compassionate care for artworks, objects, and people to the center of conservation practice.

Dr. Hélia Marçal is a lecturer, researcher, and conservator based in London. She was appointed Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Art, Materials, and Technology at University College London's Department of History of Art in 2020. Prior to this appointment, she worked as a Fellow in Contemporary Art Conservation and Research of the Andrew W. Mellon funded research project "Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum at Tate and a Science Manager at the Institute of Contemporary History (Universidade Nova de Lisboa). She has been the Coordinator of the Working Group on Theory, History, and Ethics of Conservation of the International Council of Museums' Committee for Conservation since 2016.

This lecture series is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

December 2, 2020
Speaker: Pamela Z, Composer/Performer and Media Artist
Title: Sonic Gestures | Blurred Lines: Working Across Disciplinary Boundaries and Through Shifting Technologies

Watch Pamela Z online [opens in new window]

Description: Through video and audio examples, composer/performer and interdisciplinary artist Pamela Z will share her work and process, and discuss the increasingly blurred lines between disciplines in her practice. Highlighting her use of voice, found objects, and sampled speech sounds, she will illustrate the various directions her work has taken over the years and address the effects of both rapid and gradual changes in technology have had on making, preserving, and documenting her work.

Pamela Z is a composer/performer and media artist making works for voice, electronic processing, samples, gesture activated MIDI controllers, and video. She has toured throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. Her work has been presented at venues and exhibitions including Bang on a Can (NY), the Japan Interlink Festival, Other Minds (SF), the Venice Biennale, and the Dakar Biennale. She has composed scores for dance, film, and chamber ensembles (including Kronos Quartet and Eighth Blackbird). Her awards include the Rome Prize, United States Artists, the Guggenheim, Doris Duke Artist Impact Award, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Herb Alpert Award.

This lecture series is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

November 11, 2020
Speaker: Tamiko Thiel, xR Mixed Reality Artist
Title: Archiving the Virtual: Conserving xR Mixed Reality Artworks

Watch Tamiko's talk online [opens in new window]

Description: Artworks with a substantial software component, whether the expressive blinking lights of an AI supercomputer or the algorithmic growth patterns of virtual "plastic garbage coral reefs," require upgrades and eventually migration to other platforms over the course of time periods that can range from several months to several decades (and hopefully longer). But what is important, what is the core of the artwork to be preserved, and what is an irrelevant technical artifact of a past time? Tamiko will talk about conserving and archiving her 35 year old supercomputer, her 20 year old virtual reality installation and 10 year of augmented reality artwork.

Bio: Tamiko Thiel has been exploring the interplay of place, space, the body and cultural identity in political and socially critical artworks for over 35 years. Her works in museum collections include: the Connection Machine CM2 (1987) A.I. supercomputer in MoMA NY; her virtual reality installation Beyond Manzanar (2000) in the San Jose Museum of Art in Silicon Valley; and her augmented reality installation Unexpected Growth (2018) in the collection of the Whitney Museum.In order to be able to conserve and archive not just Unexpected Growth, but also all the AR artworks she had made since 2010, she teamed up with her software developer husband Peter Graf to create the open source AR platform ARpoise, which they aim to keep alive irregardless of the commercial AR companies that come and go over the decades.

October 14, 2020
Agathe Jarczyk
, Associate Time-based Media Conservator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
"Mind the Gap. Building Institutional Knowledge in the Field of Time-based Media Conservation"

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Description: The conservation of time-based media artworks often implies the involvement and expertise of external specialists. Conservators embrace and rely on their knowledge and experience. How can this external expert knowledge become institutional knowledge? Collecting and bundling information is one of the central tasks of conservators at institutions. What kind of documentation is required beyond the description of guidelines and processes? This talk reflects on the building of institutional knowledge and discusses how common tools and finding a common language support the museum's aims for collection care.

Agathe Jarczyk is the Associate Time-based Media Conservator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Between 2011 and 2019 she was an adjunct professor at the Department of Conservation and Restoration at the University of the Arts in Bern, Switzerland. In 2008 she founded the Studio for Video Conservation and has been working for numerous Swiss and international museums and collections as conservator and consultant.

Topics in Time-based Media Art Conservation is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


November 13, 2019
Gloria Sutton, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at Northeastern University and a Research Affiliate in the Art Culture Technology Program at MIT
"Pattern Recognition: Contemporary Art in the Age of Digitality"

Watch Sutton's talk online [opens in new window] Read Essay by Yinxue Wu [PDF opens in new window]

The title refers to the cognitive process by which newly acquired information is paired with historical knowledge to form a new understanding— in this case, how contemporary art itself has interpolated modernist image paradigms by critically adapting digital behaviors. Much of contemporary art can be understood through the following four concepts: 1. Interface instead of Medium; 2. Iteration over Originality, 3. Compositing rather than Assemblage and 4. Compression, not Abstraction. By offering a critique of the immersive, a term that has become a default descriptor for time based media often unmarked by the lived experiences of race, gender, class, and ability, not only shape and condition how people experience art, but also regulate and legislate their bodies in real time and real space. Ultimately, Pattern Recognition, outlines how digitality both reveals and occludes the mutual embeddedness of media and identity within contemporary art.

Gloria Sutton is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at Northeastern University and a Research Affiliate in the Art Culture Technology Program at MIT. Sutton’s book The Experience Machine: Stan VanDerBeek’s Movie-Drome and Expanded Cinema (MIT Press) was the first study of a signal member of the American avant garde whose experimental art works combined the logic of painting, film, video, photography, dance, television, computer programming and architecture to anticipate the current ways contemporary art operates under the pressure of digital networks. Sutton’s recent essays have centered on Hans Haacke and notions of animacy (New Museum); Elaine Summers and Intermedia (MoMA); Jennifer Bornstein’s monoprints (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study/ Sternberg Press); Simone Forti’s holograms (LACMA); Yayoi Kusama’s mirror rooms (Prestel/Hirshhorn). She is currently working on a monograph on the artist Shigeko Kubota (1937-2015).

September 18, 2019
Jonah Westerman
"Performance Art and the Problem of Medium- Definitions and Documentation in Practice"

Watch Westerman's talk online [opens in new window] Read Essay by Nick Nguyen [PDF opens in new window]

Description: What do we expect from a performance’s documentation? How do we integrate performance art into a collection? What are we trying to find when we research a work’s past iterations and persistent forms, and what do we demonstrate when we curate, or translate, such objects out of the archive and into exhibitions? How should we conceive this production prospectively—what constitutes good documentation? If performance itself is notoriously difficult to wrangle as a category, the corollary question of how to understand and handle its associated artefacts (both material and otherwise) is no less daunting and no less necessary. For a long while, discussions about performance and its medium-identity have centered on questions of time. This talk will explore this temporal emphasis and offer alternate models for approaching the collection, conservation, and exhibition of performance.

April 3, 2019
Amy Whitaker, Assistant Professor, Art and Art Professions New York University, Steinhardt School
"Copy and Paste: The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction"

watch Whitaker's lectureonline [opens in new window]

February 27, 2019
Martina Haidvogl, Associate Media Conservator, SFMOMA
"#TheTruth and Other Variabilities from SFMOMA’s Media Conservation Lab"

watch Martina's talk online [opens in new window]

Abstract: The conceptual artwork #TheTruth (2013-ongoing) by Oakland-based artist Anthony Discenza embodies qualities that characterize many of today’s media artworks: variability of display, modification of source code, and a master composed of information. As custodians of such artworks, how can we best manage the change we’re already anticipating? How can we manage our own discomfort, evoked by a lack of clear boundaries of what the work can be and can become? Employing this artwork as a reference point, this talk explores the challenges institutions and collectors face when acquiring, exhibiting, and preserving media art, and presents one museum’s approach to collection care and stewardship. About the Speaker: Martina Haidvogl is the Associate Media Conservator at SFMOMA, where she has piloted documentation and preservation initiatives for the Media Arts collection since 2011. Martina has lectured and published internationally on media conservation and its implications for museum collections, as well as multi-voice documentation strategies using a MediaWiki platform. She studied conservation and restoration at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria, and the Bern University of the Arts, Switzerland, majoring in conservation for modern and contemporary art. Before joining SFMOMA, she worked in a film lab, for the Austrian Filmmuseum, and for Agathe Jarczyk's Atelier fuer Videokonservierung in Bern.

November 29, 2018
Gabriel Barcia-Colombo
"Reality Augmented: Capturing and Archiving Memories through Digital Art"

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Abstract: Gabriel Barcia-Colombo is a mixed media artist whose work focuses on collections, memorialization and the act of leaving one's digital imprint for the next generation. His artwork takes the form of video sculptures, immersive performances, large scale projections and vending machines that sell human DNA. His work plays upon this modern exigency in our culture to chronicle, preserve and wax nostalgic, an idea which Barcia-Colombo renders visually by “collecting” human portraits on video. But who will maintain these digital works of art for future generations? How does the preservation of digital art differ from traditional painting, sculpture or film? Join artist Gabe Barcia-Colombo for an evening talk about his artwork and the process of curating, showing and preserving digital media art.

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo, mixed media artist and Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

October 18, 2018
"Programmed: Conserving Concepts"
Speakers include: Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of Digital Art, Whitney Museum of American Art
Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, Melva Bucksbaum Associate Director for Conservation and Research, Whitney Museum of American Art

Watch Gabriel Barcia-Colombo's talk online [opens in new window]
Description: The talk explores the challenges of preserving works for the Whitney Museum's exhibition Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965–2018, which establishes connections between instruction-based works of conceptual, video, and computational art. Ethical and practical matters involved in conserving and exhibiting analog and digital works will be discussed with a focus on maintaining the integrity of their concept and experience.

May 20-22, 2018
It's About Time! Building a New Discipline: Time-Based Media Art Conservation
A Symposium hosted by The Institute of Fine Arts and Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University

TBM Symposium 2018

May 23, 2018
Take A Deep Breath: A Case Study of Authenticity in Installation Art
The Dedalus Foundation


The life of a conceptual artwork can incur many variations or alterations, from creation to each installation, cycles of storage and exhibition, travel, acquisition and beyond. When an institution acquires and exhibits a conceptual work, they take on the obligation to display the work as faithfully as possible. Research on Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Last Breath (2012), revealed challenges specific to this work, and also inspires a broader discussion on authenticity and installation art. This presentation will explore the ethical limits of preserving authenticity in the exhibition of conceptual art and considerations of display. Lia Kramer will present her research followed by a conversation with Brian Castriota, Chrissie Iles, Julie Reiss, and Glenn Wharton to discuss the broader topic of preserving authenticity and what it means for conceptual art.

Panelists include: Lia Kramer, former Dedalus Fellow, Conservation of Modern and Contemporary Art, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, Brian Castriota, Marie-Sklodowska-Curie ITN Research Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art, University of Glasgow, Chrissie Iles, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, Julie Reiss, Associate Professor and Program Director, Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market, Christie's Education, Glenn Wharton, Clinical Professor, Museum Studies, NYU.

Watch online
Blog post by Joy Bloser

Wednesday April 5, 2017
Spotlight on New Talents in Time-Based Media Art Conservation
Dan Finn, "Time-based Media Conservation at the Smithsonian American Art Museum"
Brian Castriota, "Ontological Models and Authenticity in Time-Based Media Art Conservation"
The two “spotlights” are followed by a book presentation:
Hanna B. Hölling, "Paik’s Virtual Archive: Time, Change, and Materiality in Media Art"

watch Spotlight on New Talents online [opens in new window] more INFORMATION about Spotlight on New Talents

Leo Villareal. Volume (Renwick), 2015. Collection of Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Janet and Jim Dicke, Tania and Tom Evans, Paula and Peter Lunder, and Debbie Petersen in honor of Elizabeth Broun. © Leo Villareal.

Dan Finn: Time-based Media Conservation at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Emergent conservators, preservationists, and archivists who concentrate in time-based media often find themselves in internships and post-graduate career opportunities where they are the first of their kind in their institutions. This is an advantageous situation to be in, but is always accompanied with numerous challenges both anticipated and unexpected. Dan will discuss his experience starting out as the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s first full-time conservator specializing in time-based media through the lens of the museum’s first major acquisition of a time-based media work after his arrival. Leo Villareal’s Volume (Renwick) is a large-scale software-based LED installation that poses many of the issues surrounding the examination, documentation, treatment, and exhibition of media art facing media conservation professionals. About the speaker: Dan Finn is the Media Conservator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where he built the museum’s Media Conservation Lab and has refined conservation practices for time-based media art collections. He previously helped to establish the Media Archive of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as document and perform migrations of analog media for Democracy Now!, the City University of New York Television Station, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He holds an MA from New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program.

Schematic representation of Gilles Deleuze’s theory of "reciprocal determination” in Difference and Repetition (image by Brian Castriota).

Brian Castriota: Ontological Models and Authenticity in Time-Based Media Art Conservation

Novel conservation approaches acknowledge that time-based media artworks can have multiple equally genuine instances despite there being differences or variation between them. Following on this observation, these approaches have sought ways to fix or tether works of art by discerning a work’s score or identifying a fixed set of properties or conditions through historical research and artist interviews. Many works of contemporary art have nevertheless proven resistant to such attempts at notation as material and contextual circumstances change, and statements made by the artist shift over time. As a consequence, what is regarded as essential to the work’s authentic persistence or occurrence may also be in flux.
In this lecture, Brian Castriota will introduce several ontological models from aesthetics and semiotics that he employs in his doctoral research to reframe the notion of authenticity in the case of variable and evolving works of modern and contemporary art. By considering a work of art as an instantiated, abstract object or type, this lecture will examine how questions of authenticity relate to the perception that a spatiotemporal object or event tokens or stands as a particular work. Castriota will explore how such a framework underlies conservation strategies for time-based media artworks, and how it may be used to consider questions of authenticity in the case of other objects of cultural heritage.
About the speaker: Brian Castriota is a time-based media art conservator based in Glasgow, Scotland. He earned an M.A. in History of Art and Archaeology and an Advanced Certificate in Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works from the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU where he graduated in 2014. He has since worked as a contract conservator for time-based media artworks at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and was a Samuel H. Kress Fellow in time-based media conservation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Glasgow within the research program "New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art" (NACCA) – a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network – and he is also a Research Fellow in the Conservation of Contemporary Art at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

Book Presentation

Paik’s Virtual Archive: Time, Change, and Materiality in Media Art contemplates the identity of multimedia artworks by reconsidering the role of conservation in our understanding of what the artwork is and how it functions within and beyond a specific historical moment. In Hölling’s discussion of works by Nam June Paik (1932–2006), she explores the relation between the artworks’ concept and material, theories of musical performance and performativity, and the Bergsonian concept of duration. Ideas from art theory, philosophy, and aesthetics are used to probe questions related to materials and materiality of media art. Ultimately, she proposes that the archive is the foundation for the identity and continuity of every work of art.

About the author: Hanna B. Hölling is Lecturer in the History of Art and Material Studies at the Department of History of Art, University College London. She was Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor, Cultures of Conservation, at the Bard Graduate Center in New York and received awards internationally. Among her many publications is Revisions—Zen for Film.

A video of this lecture was archived and is available in the Institute's video archive.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Spotlight on New Talents in Time-Based Media Art Conservation
with Amy Brost and Athena Christa Holbrook
Please note: This lecture takes place at the Michelson Theater, NYU Dept of Cinema Studies, 721 Broadway, 6th Floor, Room 648

watch Spotlight on New Talents online [opens in new window]

September 19, 2016 @ MoMA
Pip LaurensonHead of Collection Care Research, Tate, London, UK 
Can Artworks Live in a Museums Collection? 

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Tarek Atoui: The Reverse Collection, 2014, photograph taken during a performance in 2016; © Tate Photography

Taking Hal Foster’s evocation of the idea of the zombie artwork as a starting point, this paper looks at the notion of the living and the dead in the conservation of time-based media. Drawing on case studies from Tate’s collection this paper will examine what is at stake for the artist, the conservator and the curator in these concepts and suggests a framework in which we can consider these different forms of engagement in relation to the unfolding ontologies of these works.

Pip Laurenson is the Head of Collection Care Research at Tate and Professor of Art Collection and Care at Maastricht University. She has over twenty years of experience in the conservation of contemporary art beginning her career in Sculpture Conservation and going on to establish and lead Tate’s pioneering Time-based Media Conservation section from 1996 until 2010. In her current role she develops, leads and supports research related to the conservation and management of Tate's collections. Pip is committed to interdisciplinary research that serves and responds to art of our time and in exploring what it means for a contemporary art museum to be a research organization. She received her PhD from University College London, is an accredited member of the Institute for Conservation, a trustee of the UK’s National Science and Heritage Forum, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA)

September 26, 2016
Reinhard BekConservator of Contemporary Art - Bek & Frohnert LLC, New York 
A Question of Kinethics

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Detail of an electric motor © Reinhard Bek

How do we incorporate artist intent into the preservation of kinetic works when such art is both performative and sculptural? Questions focused on artist intent tend to be handed over from artists to art professionals as these works age. Frequently, the initial preservation attempts impact future discussion around maintenance, replication and retirement. As a result, conservators of such works face a unique set of concerns that include evolving technology, the impact of art historical discourse, as well as the contexts in which such work is viewed. Case studies ranging from the modern to the contemporary will be discussed giving special voice to the artist's opinion.

Reinhard Bek apprenticed as a ship-builder in Hamburg from 1993 to 1996, prior to graduating as an objects conservator from the Conservation Program for Technical Cultural Objects of the HTW (Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft), University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, in 2002. Reinhard joined the Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland, and was Chief Conservator from 2002 to 2012. He was a participant of the European Conservation Research projects INSIDE INSTALLATIONS and PRACTIC’S, 2003-2010. In 2009 he was a Conservation Research Fellow with The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Since 2012 Reinhard is partner of Bek & Frohnert LLC, based in New York City.

October 3, 2016
Rafael Lozano-HemmerArtist, Mexico-Canada 
Best practices for conservation of media art from an Artist’s perspective 

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Rafael Lozano Hemmer, Pulse Index, 2010. Photo: Kate Russel

For most artists I know “Art conservation” is a troubling affair: we are already too busy maintaining operations as it is, we think of our work as a “living” entity not as a fossil, we are often unsure if a project is finished, we snub techniques that may help us document, organize or account for our work as something that stifles our experimentation and creative process. In addition, there are many existing initiatives to preserve media artworks, but these are always from the perspective of the institutions that collect them. While most institutional programs include excellent artist-oriented components like interviews and questionnaires, the programs are all a posteriori, almost forensic, as they look at the work in retrospect, as a snapshot of time. This presentation will outline what artists may choose to do on the subject in order to i) simplify our life in the long run, ii) generate income, and iiii) take ownership of the way our work will be presented in the future.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is a Mexican-Canadian media artist that develops interactive installations that are at the intersection of architecture and performance art. His main interest is in creating platforms for public participation, by perverting technologies such as robotics, computerized surveillance, or telematic networks. Inspired by phantasmagoria, carnival, and animatronics, his light and shadow works are "antimonuments for alien agency.” Recently the subject of solo exhibitions at the MUAC Museum in Mexico City, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, he was the first artist to officially represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale with an exhibition at Palazzo Van Axel in 2007. He has also shown at Biennials in Havana, Istanbul, Kochi, Liverpool, Montréal, Moscow, New Orleans, Seoul, Seville, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. His work is in collections such as MoMA in New York, Hirshhorn in Washington DC, MUAC in Mexico and TATE in London. His large-scale public art installations have been commissioned for events such as the Millennium Celebrations in Mexico City (1999), the Cultural Capital of Europe in Rotterdam (2001), the UN World Summit of Cities in Lyon (2003), the Expansion of the European Union in Dublin (2004), the memorial for the Tlatelolco Student Massacre in Mexico City (2008), the Winter Olympics in Vancouver (2010) and the pre-opening exhibition for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (2015). Among his many awards are two BAFTAs from the British Academy, a Golden Nica at the Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, the Governor General’s Award in Canada, the Trophée des Lumières in France and an International Bauhaus Award in Germany. Website at www.lozano-hemmer.com

October 17, 2016
Christiane PaulAssociate Professor, School of Media Studies, The New School, New York; Adjunct Curator, New Media Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 
Conserving Context: Approaches to Preserving Digital Art 

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Douglas Davis, The World’s First Collaborative Sentence, 1994–, conserved 2012. Historic version: HTML and CGI script; live version: HTML and PHP script. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Digital art is engaged in a continuous struggle with an accelerating technological obsolescence that serves the profit-generating strategies of the tech industry. In addition, the way data is processed by digital technologies, particularly on the Internet, has required renegotiations of concepts such as the archive, content, and context. While the archiving of the historical and cultural context of art works is in itself not new, digital media and net art, in particular, pose new challenges for archiving in that they often incorporate or even consist of sources embedded in a larger contextual network — from simple links to third-party services or databases. The talk outlines the conceptual and practical challenges that digital art presents to institutions and the art market in terms of its archiving, contextualization, and preservation. Also discussed will be the frameworks of archives that can adapt to the changing requirements of the mutable digital "records" they contain; and the suitability of museums vs. other organizations in documenting and archiving different types of digital art.

Christiane Paul is Associate Professor at the School of Media Studies, The New School, and Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has written extensively on new media arts, lectured internationally on art and technology and is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation's 2016 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art. Her recent books are A Companion to Digital Art (Wiley Blackwell, 2016); Digital Art (Thames and Hudson, 3rd revised edition, 2015) Context Providers – Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts (Intellect, 2011; Chinese edition, 2012), co-edited with Margot Lovejoy and Victoria Vesna; and New Media in the White Cube and Beyond (UC Press, 2008). As Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art, she curated several exhibitions—including Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools (2011), Profiling (2007), Data Dynamics (2001) and the net art selection for the 2002 Whitney Biennial—and is responsible for artport, the Whitney Museum’s website devoted to Internet art. Other recent curatorial work includes Little Sister (is watching you, too) (Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NYC, 2015); What Lies Beneath (Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, 2015); The Public Private (Kellen Gallery, The New School, Feb. 7 - April 17, 2013), Eduardo Kac: Biotopes, Lagoglyphs and Transgenic Works (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2010); Biennale Quadrilaterale (Rijeka, Croatia, 2009-10); Feedforward - The Angel of History (co-curated with Steve Dietz; Laboral Center for Art and Industrial Creation, Gijon, Spain, Oct. 2009); and INDAF Digital Art Festival (Incheon, Korea, Aug. 2009).

October 24, 2016
Tina Rivers Ryan, Curatorial Research Assistant, Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Some More Beginnings: On the History of Time-Based Media Exhibitions

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Installation view of the show "Lights in Orbit," Howard Wise Gallery, New York, 1967.

Today, much of the discussion around the exhibition, collection, and conservation of "time-based media" focuses on natively digital works. However, the field of TBM is varied, including analog videotapes, celluloid films, kinetic sculptures, and a range of electronic machines. The history of these technologies extends back half a century or more, and so does the history of artists experimenting with media technologies, and exhibiting the results in galleries and museums. Given the increasing ubiquity of contemporary time-based media art, the research of these exhibitions and conservation of their objects has become more urgent. In this talk, Dr. Ryan will present a chronology of the most important early exhibitions of time-based media art, and consider the ways in which artists, curators, and conservators can learn from the past as they look to the future.

Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan is an art historian and critic specializing in modern and contemporary art, with an emphasis on new media art and technologies. Formerly an instructor at Columbia University, the Pratt Institute, and MoMA, she is currently a curatorial assistant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she co-chairs the Time-Based Media Working Group. Her criticism has appeared in magazines such as Artforum and Art in America, and her scholarly work has been published in several edited anthologies and journals, including Art Journal and Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media. She also has been commissioned to write on art and technology for the Walker Art Center, the Met, and the Tate. Her current book project, McLuhan's Bulbs: Light Art and the Dawn of New Media, examines the light art of the 1960s as a fulcrum between the discourses of “medium" and “media” in post-war art. Dr. Ryan received her BA from Harvard and PhD from Columbia.

November 7, 2016 
Mona Jimenez, Associate Arts Professor/Associate Director; Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, New York University 
Art in an Ecosystem: Media Art Communities & Conservation 

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Image Caption: Screen capture from Media Alliance web site, 1999. See the Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org/web/19990221222234///mediaalliance.org/vidpres.html

The talk will address the role of media arts organizations, advocates and artists in the emergence of time-based media art conservation in the U.S. The speaker will suggest that creators, caretakers and other stakeholders are part of an ecosystem, with interconnections and interdependencies that bind us and can make us stronger, wiser and more effective.

Mona Jimenez learned to make video in 1974, and been an advocate and organizer for the preservation of independent media and media art since the 1980s when she first tried to transfer sticky tapes. She is Associate Arts Professor/ Associate Director in NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, teaching the preservation of video and digital works. She experiments with participatory models of media/film archiving through Community Archiving Workshops, and founded Audiovisual Preservation Exchange (APEX), a project to create meaningful networks of audiovisual archivists, collection managers, educators and students internationally through shared work on collections. In recent years she led the establishment of a lab for disk imaging, emulation and analysis of early multimedia works, and helped plan the symposium TechFocus III: Caring for Software-based Art. With Sherry Miller Hocking and Kathy High, she co-edited The Emergence of Video Processing Tools: Television Becoming Unglued (Intellect Press, 2014), documenting collaborations between artists and technologists to create custom tools for electronic art.

November 14, 2016 
Deena EngelClinical Professor; Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies for the computer Science Minors programs, Department of Computer Science, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; New York University 
Source Code Analysis in the Conservation of Software-based Art

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Code and Drawing, Image credit: Deena Engel

How can source code analysis inform and support the conservation of software-based art? What is the cost in time and resources vs. the benefit to museums? Which skills are required for this task? What are the results? Can source code analysis directly benefit re-exhibition of software-based works of art? In this talk, Deena Engel will introduce concepts in software documentation as widely practiced in the IT field and show how this approach can be applied to software-based art. She will discuss the ways in which source code analysis can be applied to supplement traditional conservation documentation methodologies and practices. She will also contextualize the value of source code analysis within the larger framework of curatorial and conservation concerns by examining a variety of case studies from New York City collections to answer these questions and illustrate the discussion. There are no technical “pre-requisites” for this talk and questions will be welcome.

Deena Engel is a Clinical Professor as well as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Computer Science Minors programs in the Department of Computer Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University. She teaches undergraduate computer science courses on web and database technologies, as well as courses for undergraduate and graduate students in the Digital Humanities and the Arts. She also supervises undergraduate and graduate student research projects in the Digital Humanities and the Arts and collaborates on research on the conservation of software-based art. Prior to returning to academe, she ran a systems group in an international art auction house for nine years. She received her Master’s degree in Comparative Literature from SUNY-Binghamton and her Master’s degree in Computer Science from the Courant Institute of Mathematics at New York University.

November 21, 2016
Daniel Rozin, Associate Arts Professor, Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), NYU
Christine Frohnert , Conservator of Contemporary Art, Bek & Frohnert LLC, New York; Adjunct Professor & Time-Based Media Art Conservation Curriculum Development Program Coordinator, Conservation Center of The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Creating digital interactive kinetic sculptures for the long run - Daniel Rozin in conversation with Christine Frohnert

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Daniel Rozin, Wooden Mirror, 2014; Wood, motors, video camera, custom software, microcontroller; 6 x 6 ft / 1.8 x 1.8 m

This presentation addresses complex digital interactive artworks, including mechanical, electronic and digital systems, from an artist and educators point of view. Daniel Rozin will present case studies from his own practice with regard to the unique challenges in the course of creation and installation and will discuss this further in conversation with Christine Frohnert, sharing the approach of an artist with a conservator. Custom electronics, AV equipment and software packages are notorious for their inevitable obsolescence. Kinetic and mechanical systems are subject to failure and need for maintenance. Working in this particular intersection of tools and disciplines presents many opportunities and challenges for artists and conservators alike. Where can we draw from this experience to foresee new challenges in conservation on the long run?

Daniel Rozin is an artist, educator and developer, working in the area of interactive digital art. As an interactive artist Rozin creates installations and sculptures that have the unique ability to change and respond to the presence and point of view of the viewer. In many cases the viewer becomes the contents of the piece and in others the viewer is invited to take an active role in the creation of the piece. Even though computers are often used in Rozin's work, they are seldom visible. As an educator, Rozin is Associate Art Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at Tisch School Of The Arts, NYU where he teaches such classes as: "The World- Pixel by Pixel", "Project Development Studio", "Toy Design Workshop", "Designing for Digital Fabrication" and "Kinetic Sculpture Workshop". Born in Jerusalem and trained as an industrial designer Rozin lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited widely with solo exhibitions in the US and internationally and featured in many publications. His work has earned him numerous awards including Prix Ars Electronica, ID Design Review and the Chrysler Design Award.

Christine Frohnert is a conservator of contemporary art. She completed her training as paintings and sculpture conservator in Germany in 1993 and consequently joined the conservation department of the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. She held the position of the Chief Conservator from 2000-2005. She holds a diploma degree in the Conservation of Modern Materials and Media from the Conservation Program of the University of Arts, Berne, Switzerland (2003). She worked with Cranmer Art Conservation in New York City from 2005 until 2012. Ms. Frohnert was the chair (2008-2012) of the Electronic Media Group at the American Institute for Conservation and initiated the conference series 'TechFocus'. In May 2012 Christine Frohnert and Reinhard Bek founded Bek & Frohnert LLC, Conservation of Contemporary Art, providing consulting and conservation services with a focus on technology-based art. Christine Frohnert was named the inaugural Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professor teaching a seminar course at The Institute, entitled Art with a Plug – The Conservation of Artworks containing Motion, Sound, Light, Moving Images and Interactivity, Fall 2012. She is currently Time-based Media Art Conservation Curriculum Development Program Coordinator in the Time-based Media Art Conservation Curriculum Planning project team at The Institute of Fine Arts' Conservation Center.

November 28, 2016
Kate LewisMedia Conservator; Peter OleksikAssociate Media ConservatorBen Fino-RadinAssociate Media Conservator at MoMA

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Peter Oleksik, condition checking "Boomerang" by Nancy Holt and Richard Serra (1974). Photo credit: Kate Lewis

What is the day to day work of a museum media conservator? What does treatment entail? What philosophical questions do we debate? MoMA’s media conservation team will discuss their daily practice, and highlight approaches and challenges through various projects including two works currently on display at the museum: “Lovers” (1994) by Teiji Furuhashi and “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (1986) by Nan Goldin. Following the themes that underlie this lecture series, the speakers will introduce MoMA’s complimentary Media Conservation Initiative, a four year training focused project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Kate Lewis has been a Media Conservator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York since 2013. Prior to joining MoMA, from 2005 she was a Time-based Media Conservator at Tate. Lewis holds an M.A. in the Conservation of Works of Art from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and a B.A. in the History of Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. She has served as Program Chair for the Electronic Media Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, on the planning committee for the TechFocus III workshop, is part of the Matters in Media Art initiative, and most recently joined the Program Committee for Voices in Contemporary Art.

Peter Oleksik is Associate Media Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) where he has been working since 2011 to conserve the museum's vast time-based media collection across curatorial departments. As a volunteer for the American Institute for Conservation's (AIC) Electronic Media Group (EMG), Oleksik has worked to make the post-print material accessible through a web resource. Peter is also a part of the Matters in Media Art (MMA) team, a collaboration between SFMOMA, The Tate and MoMA to provide resources on time-based media conservation. Additionally, Oleksik regularly works with independent artists, filmmakers and musicians to preserve and provide access to their media collections. Oleksik received his BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Southern California and his MA from New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) program where he is currently an adjunct professor.

Ben Fino-Radin has served as the Museum of Modern Art's Associate Media Conservator since 2013. In addition to specializing in the conservation of software based artworks, he has steered the design, development, and management of the open source software that comprises the museum's Digital Repository. Fino-Radin holds both an MS in Information Science, and an MFA in Digital Art from Pratt Institute. He sits on the steering committee of the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group, is a part of the Matters in Media Art initiative, and has served previously as Digital Conservator for Rhizome at the New Museum, and as an adjunct professor in NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program, as well as maintaining a private consultancy.

December 5, 2016
Joanna PhillipsSenior Conservator, Time-based Media, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 
Implementing Time-based Media conservation in Museum Practice 
This lecture will take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall— Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education

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Voices in Contemporary Art (VOCA) wrote about each of our Time-Based Media lectures.

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“For the Guggenheim” (2008) by Jenny Holzer, Light Projections, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Commissioned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, in honor of Peter B. Lewis, 2008. Photo: Kristopher McKay

This lecture discusses the implementation of time-based media conservation as a new collection care activity in museum practice, and as a new specialty within the professional discipline of fine arts conservation. Applied to video, audio, film, slide, software and performance artworks from the Guggenheim collection, a range of conservation approaches and activities are presented that have been developed and implemented at the Guggenheim in recent years. Topics addressed will cover the establishment of new conservation practices, the development of a new job profile, the navigation of institutional structures, the enhancement of collaborative workflows across departments, time-based media staffing and fundraising strategies, facilitation of collaborative research and development with partners inside and outside of the museum and integration of external specialist knowledge. A special focus is given to the skills sets required from conservation professionals who practice time-based media conservation.

Joanna Phillips is the Conservator of Time-based Media at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she founded the first media art conservation lab in an US museum. In her 8 years at the Guggenheim, Phillips has developed and implemented new strategies for the preservation, reinstallation, and documentation of time-based media works. Phillips publishes and lectures on this topic internationally. Her latest research initiative explores the conservation of software-based art. She is a founding co-organizer and multiple host of the conference series TechFocus. This year she co-organized the international symposium “Collecting and Conserving Performance Art” in Germany. Prior to her Guggenheim appointment, Phillips specialized in the conservation of contemporary art at the Swiss Institute for Art Research in Zürich and explored the challenges of media art conservation as a research conservator in the Swiss project “AktiveArchive". Phillips holds a master’s degree in paintings conservation from the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste in Dresden, Germany.

Please also note our activities related to curriculum development in Time-Based Media Art Conservation here.