In recent years it has become ever more apparent that the demands media art places on museums and exhibition centres is greater than the usual degree of care traditionally provided by curators and conservators. Media art is difficult to define because it attempts to cover an extensive range of varying works of art which is difficult to quantify and furthermore in this decade terms such as “time-based” and “technology based” art have increasingly come in. It is nonetheless possible to come up with a set of characteristics to describe media art which enables clarification of the requirements for dealing with this type of art:
- Transient: media art works possess a tangible link to the technology used at the time of their creation. Due to rapid technical innovation they are subject to the transient nature of materials which to a certain extent is comparable to the short life of organic materials in art works.
- Installation-based: the playback and display equipment essential for media art works have a spatial presence and therefore media art works are often considered as installations.
- Performative: media art works are based on a time frame determined by a number of display modes of the various image media and can therefore be perceived as performative art works.
- Participatory: it is not uncommon for media art works to include an additional participatory dimension where the public actively participates in the functionality of the art work and for this interaction to function the preservation of the technical means is essential.
- Since 2008 Renate Buschmann (DE), Ph.D. in Art History, is director of the imai – inter media art institute, a foundation for video and media art located in Düsseldorf/Germany. Prior to that she worked as a free-lance curator, lecturer and editor of several books regarding modern and contemporary art.
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