Video Art Preservation Project

After years of intensive collaboration under the auspices of the Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art, the Netherlands Media Art Institute/Time Based Arts completed the first phase of the Video Art Preservation project in 2003. Within this project, a methodology for the preservation of video art was developed, implemented and evaluated and some 1700 video works were preserved on a durable storage format. The developed strategy is based on migration every 7 to 10 years. Additionally, a model acquisition contract and a registration model for the preservation of video art were developed. Documentation, consultation with the artist and conversion to Digital Betacam proved to be the most important criteria for the preservation of video works for the future. Following digital conservation of the video artworks, the Digital Betacam tapes were stored in the NIMk vaults.

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During the second phase, several of the works were made available in MPEG-2 as part of the ‘Play Out’ project and accessible at NIMk. Within the context of digital sustainability, further research was carried out into the compression-free storage of video art. For museums, the current national and international standard for preserving video art is Digital Betacam. In 2003, the autonomous video art works of most modern art museums in The Netherlands were transferred to this format. In order to keep the digitalised collection durable and accessible - assuming a desired transfer of video signals every 7 to 10 years – the project looked into the best possible durable digital storage and accessibility of video art at this moment and whether storage on hard disks should be considered. This was undertaken with the purpose of acquiring insight into the possibilities, methods, techniques and costs that uncompressed storage of video art involves. Durability is in this context understood as recording, storing, managing and making available the video collection in such a manner as to make it consultable, accessible and still ´authentic’ even with the passing of time (>10 years). The study was carried out by The Netherlands Media Art Institute in cooperation with, among others, the Kröller-Müller Museum as part of the ‘Play Out’ project.

At present, the Netherlands Institute for Media Art is undertaking the third phase, which involves a technical pilot into durable and large-scale storage after Digital Betacam.

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Duration: Jan 1, 2000 - Mar 19, 2009