RENEW 2013

The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology

Riga / October 8 – 11, 2013

"Archiving" Participants


Building the Foundations for a New Conservation Specialty


Panel:Panel C: Through the Conservator's Eye: Collecting, Preserving and Displaying Media Art


Venue:Stockholm School of Economics, Soros Auditorium

Training a new generation of specialized media art conservators requires a curriculum that offers in-­depth course work with foci on art conservation, media technology and (media) art history. Integral to art conservation is the expertise in material science, art technology and conservation ethics. Furthermore, students have to acquire a broad knowledge of historic and latest media technologies, their technical functionality as well as their conceptual significance for the arts. Fundamental knowledge of adjacent disciplines such as electronics engineering, video and information technology is key to informed decision-­making and provides the basis for eye-level exchange with specialists. The educated use of precise terminology, both technical and theoretical, integrates media art conservation into a larger conceptual framework that extends far beyond conservation: the interdisciplinary collaboration between conservators, technicians, engineers, IT-specialists, artists, curators and theorists has yet to be complemented by a network of professionals in art mediation, sociology and media archaeology. This presentation discusses the tasks and future role of time-­based media conservators and proposes an education model for training this new hybrid conservation specialty. The proposal is illustrated with examples of project and class work taught by the author at the University of the Arts in Bern (Switzerland).

Agathe Jarczyk is a Conservator of Modern Materials and Media. Since 2008, Agathe Jarczyk is the owner of the “Studio for Video Conservation“ in Berne, Switzerland. Her studio focuses on conservation treatment and caretaking of video artworks for numerous Swiss and international museums and collections.

Since 2011, she is lecturer at the department for conservation and restoration at the University of the Arts, Berne. Between 2010 to 2012, Jarczyk worked as a conservation researcher in a number of national research projects, including “Vacuum freeze drying as a first aid measure for water damaged magnetic tapes – developing a new method for saving endangered archive stock” (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation) and “Developing durable Foodstuffs for Contemporary Art”.

As a member of the TechFocus Planning Committee, Jarczyk co-organized and co-programmed the conference “TechFocus I: Caring for Video Art”, held at the Guggenheim Museum in 2010.

Besides different articles on practical aspects on the conservation of video art, Jarczyk is a co-author of the “Compendium of Image Errors in Analogue Video”, published in 2013.

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