Research on documentation and archiving strategies (2004)
creator(s) Restaurierungszentrum Düsseldorf, S.M.A.K., Ghent, MNCARS, Madrid, Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (SBMK), TATE, London
publisher Project coordinator ICN

Today many museums are using digitised collection management systems for documentation and maintenance of their artworks. These systems have been developed for traditional art (paintings, sculptures, graphic works). 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.
Another problem is that there are still no criteria or techniques for documenting technical and conceptual aspects that are fundamental to describing installation art, i.e. the documentation of light, sound, space, movement, video (brightness, contrast, colour), intended decay, interaction with visitors, tactility and olfactory, etc.

Target Groups: conservators, curators, collection managers, registrars, artists, general public

The project will develop new strategies, tools and templates for the documentation, administration and maintenance of installation art that can be integrated into different collection management systems, information retrieval systems or content management systems. In these matters, collaboration with software companies who have specialised in museum information systems will be of crucial importance.
All the 30 works of installation art will be documented, respecting the multiformity in museums’/institutions’ daily practice, facilities & systems on the one hand, and with a common ground regarding overall strategies on the other hand. The products (guidelines, tools and templates) will be tested on the basis of the case studies and be implemented during the project where appropriate.

1. The documentation of the 30 works of installation art will include registration of the technical, formal and conceptual aspects of the work, visual registration of the work (e.g. images, video registration, 3D registration), artist’s and context information (e.g. interview, art historical information)

2. The documentation, gathered through the 30 case studies, will be compiled in (digital) archives, e.g. structured information in databases, as well as unstructured information, such as videos and other multimedia material. New archiving strategies, including the development of adequate templates will be part of the research activity.

- 30 works of installation art documented in the institutions local systems
- Parameters and templates for documenting installation art
- Good practice for documenting installation art

Role of co-organisers
Restaurierungscentrum: coordinator working group, SBMK: participant and contributor (main focus on 3D registration, VR Presentations), TATE: participant and contributor, SMAK: participant and contributor, Reina Sofia: participant and contributor

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