A summary

How to preserve video art? Is digitization a legitimate solution to this problem; what factors play a role in the preservation and digitization of video art and how should we go about it? These are only a few of the questions to which a number of museums and other institutions, under the supervision of the Netherlands Media Art Institute, MonteVideo/Time Based Arts, have tried to find an answer through the Pilot Project Preservation Video Art.

of the Pilot Project: To gain an insight into the procedures, technique and costs involved in the digitization of video art.
Result: Preservation criteria, preservation plan and cost calculation for the digitization of the participating video-art collections. The criteria formulated can be used as a guideline for the preservation of video art.

Starting points

- the currently known carriers of the video signal have a very limited life span;
- the loss of quality involved in the transfer from analogue to digital is negligible, in contrast to that which inevitably occurs during conversion from analogue to analogue;
- none of the carriers is durable; the solution for definitive preservation will have to be sought in the sphere of storage in an encoded form, so that it is possible at all times to transfer the information - - to another material environment without loss of quality;
digitization generates new possibilities for editing, restoration, availability, and, for example, links with text-database files;
- since the specific technical elements are subject to deterioration, it is essential that, whatever happens, the original character of the work of art, the artist's intention, the message and its effect, can be guaranteed.

In 1998, a work group consisting of Christianne Berndes (Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven), Mathilde Heyns (De Appel, Amsterdam), Poul ter Hofstede (Groninger Museum, Groningen), Andree van de Kerkhove (Museum Kröller Müller, Otterlo), Heiner Holtappels (Netherlands Media Art Institute, MonteVideo/Time Based Arts, Amsterdam), Pieter van Oordt (Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam), Dorine Mignot (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam), Jacqueline Rapmund (Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam), Christine de Baan (Rotterdamse Kunststichting, Rotterdam) and Ton van Vliet (World Wide Video Center, Amsterdam) met several times under the chairmanship of Evert Rodrigo (Instituut Collectie Nederland) to discuss preservation guidelines and procedures. Nadine Bors (trainee Reinwardt), in collaboration with the Netherlands Media Art Institute, MonteVideo/Time Based Arts, carried out a fact-finding study on state-of-the-art technology.I A separate work group, consisting of Gaby Wijers, Dorine Mignot and Christianne Berndes, focused on performing rights and copyright, and formulated contractual starting points. Ramon Coelho and others (Netherlands Media Art Institue, MonteVideo/Time Based Arts) were in charge of the set-up and (external) realization of digitization trials. The project, commissioned by t/TBA, was coordinated by Gaby Wijers (Toxus). An intensive exchange of information and know-how took place with the Theater Instituut Nederland (Mickery collection).

The project was financed by the Mondriaan Foundation, the Prince Bernhard Fonds, and the participating institutions.

Summary Pilot Project Preservation Video Art [download pdf]