Managing Inherent Change
Panel:Panel C: Through the Conservator's Eye: Collecting, Preserving and Displaying Media Art
Venue:Stockholm School of Economics, Soros Auditorium
Conservators are trained to preserve artworks and strive to maintain their authenticity over time. In classical conservation, this means caring for the constituent materials of an artwork for as long as possible. Time-based media artworks depend on electronic equipment to exist. The ability to display them depends on the electronics industry, which is geared to evolve at an increasing rate towards systems of greater complexity. This means that the usual preservation strategy of storing objects in adequate conditions will eventually fail; change in the means of display is inevitable and is therefore an important parameter to include in planning for long-term preservation. Managing that change in a sustainable way becomes the only option. Conservators and other stakeholders must choose preservation strategies based on parameters such as the production techniques of the artwork, the significance of its components as well as available budgets, the wider technological environment and practices within the collecting institution. The different moments in the life cycle of an artwork within a collection: acquisition, installation, display, long‐term storage and conservation action will be examined in terms of the risks for preservation. This presentation will follow the acquisition and display of Jose Carlos Martinat’s Brutalism: Stereo reality environment 3 in the Tate collection. Through this practical example, the process of defining significant properties, assessing risks for preservation and developing the initial preservation strategy will be illustrated and provide a better understanding of the issues in preserving time-based media artworks.
Patricia Falcao is a Time-based Media Conservator at the Tate in London, where she started in 2008.
In 2010 she completed her MA in the Conservation and Restoration of Modern Materials and Media at the Bern University of the Arts in Switzerland, with a thesis on the risk assessment of software-based art.
She has previously worked as a video conservator at the videocompany.ch and as a scientific assistant for the project 40yearsvideoart.de at the ZKM-Center for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany.