The Conservation of Multimedia Works of Art

posted on 11 Nov 2013 19:52 by Gabrielle Berlinger
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On November 7, 2013, Cultures of Conservation Visiting Professor Hanna Hölling presented her research to the BGC community in a paper entitled, “On the Aspects of Time, Continuity, Archive and Identity in the Conservation of Multimedia Works of Art.”

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The abstract of her paper follows below, but you may find the full article now published in the Autumn 2013 issue of Nescus: European Journal of Media Studies. Congratulations, Professor Hölling!

Abstract:

As no other artworks, multimedia installations that have been created since the 1960s and that are comprised of a wide range of components test the ruling conventions in conservation, presentation, and museum practices. Through the cycles of their materializations, performed and performative qualities, on and off status, distributed authorship and with the involvement of display and playback apparatus, various formats of film and video, sculptural and painted elements, organic components and photography, they dispute the validity of what has for decades been understood under the notion of a static, unique, or singular ‘conservation object.’

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In her presentation, analyzing a number of Nam June Paik's multimedia installations, Hölling posed questions that consider what the 'object of conservation' is (or might become) in relation to its material constitution and the ways in which it functions within and beyond a certain historical moment. She introduced different modes of thinking about time in conservation (with regard to active media and technological ruin) and conservation's paradigms of reversibility, and minimal intervention. Furthermore, she discussed how the changeability of multimedia artworks and – equally important – their persistence through change divorce us from thinking about their evidential, material authenticity to be preserved and evoke a profounder engagement with the archive in which and through which the works are sustained and continued.

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