5. History (2007)
publisher ICN, Amsterdam

Inside Installations was not the first time museum professionals have come together to work on the problems associated with the preservation of modern and contemporary art. In fact there are many initiatives of multi-disciplinary groups working on a variety of conservation problems either as projects or ongoing research. Two well known examples are the Variable Media Network and Media Matters.

The history of the Inside Installations project leads back to a symposium held in Amsterdam in 1997 titled Modern Art: Who Cares?.

Modern and contemporary art conservators and curators from all over the world attended and one of the main results of the meeting was that participants agreed to share their knowledge and experience, and to collaborate in collecting new information by means of artists’ interviews. A book of the same name was published in 1999 and consists of a comprehensive description of case studies from the project ‘Conservation of Modern Art’ and the decision-making and registration models developed. It also includes the entire texts of the symposium, lectures, forums and seminars.

Between 1999 and 2002 a group of 23 individuals from 11 European organisations established the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art / INCCA. During this collaboration, the INCCA website (including a literature database) and the Database for Artists’ Archives were developed. The latter was then filled with a substantial amount of artists’ information that was also collected. Almost 100 artists’ interviews were conducted and from this experience a Guide to Good Practice for Artist interviews was created.

Since 2002 the INCCA network has continued to grow, the database has been renewed to ensure easier access and content delivery. At this time (June 2007) there are over130 INCCA members from 24 countries, and 84 organisations. This number includes 8 students, 4 of which doing PhD research. INCCA relies on the contributions of its members and is facilitated by the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage / ICN.

The success of the INCCA approach to collaborative research, especially as achieved during the INCCA founding project was an important motivation for members to again work together on a research project. The complex issues surrounding the preservation and presentation of installation art have for some time now been creating so many problems for museum professionals that it was not hard to find a topic for a new project.

Click links to access INCCA, Variable Media Initiative and Media Matters

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