Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Best Thing I've Ever Seen on the Interwebs (plus what I wrote down on a bar napkin last night).

One of my interests is in the documentation of contemporary art installations; I’ve been working on this for a while at my museum, which is getting ready to put 7 new commissioned works in a place we've started to call 100 Acres. Last year I presented some research along side Rebecca Uchill on the subject.

With this in mind, I was particularly stoked to find the following thing. A web thing. It can help people who document art.

I’ve showed it to everyone that’s come near me or my laptop; I’ve sent the link to folks that I thought might find it interesting and even printed a few copies and placed them strategically in other departments at the IMA.

Here it be:

It was made by Inside Installations. You can download your own copy here. The download is much higher resolution than that image. You should look at that one. And, check out the Legend for the diagram, and check out the description of the Basic Modules. It's super detailed and worth spending some time looking at.

It's important because it’s very useful, it’s free, and available right now. It describes how we collect and store information about artworks.

Here’s why Inside Installations made it:

“Documentation of contemporary art covers a wide spectrum of technical and conceptual aspects, i.e. the documentation of light, sound, space, movement, video, interaction with visitors, tactility and olfactory, etc. In order to preserve, present and understand these artworks there are innovative instruments and structures required. Without adequate documentation and conservation management many of these works will not be accessible in the future. Today many museums are using digital collection management systems for documentation and maintenance of their artworks. These systems have been developed for traditional artworks such as paintings and sculptures. Complex multimedia installations are presently not considered, while the need for an adequate documentation of these works is extremely urgent for future preservation and re-presentation. The related media management is a major challenge for many museums. Within this project it was the aim to develop new strategies, tools and templates for the documentation, administration and maintenance of contemporary art.”

I agree and think that creating documentation around contemporary artworks, and especially museum-commissioned artworks, is one of the most important specialties inside the field of art conservation.

And the graphic design is so beautiful that I assume it was made by someone that usually illustrates super complex things like automobile transmissions or the inner workings of metropolitan water systems. There's no way I could create such a thing.

Yesterday I spent my first day participating in a project called "ConservationSpace". I think this is an amazing project filled with great potential. And last night I was having a beer with some folks involved with the project and perhaps foolishly came up with what we thought was the most important ideas around conservation documentation. Here's what they are:

It's totally oversimplified, but really, as conservators isn't this basically we want to do better?

1 comment:

Fletch said...

As it so happens, AIC's Electronic Media Specialty Group will have a number of speakers from Inside Installations as part of our program at the Annual Meeting.

I hope to see you all there!