Nan Hoover "Light Composition: Documenta 8" (1987) | © Photograph Elisabeth Jappe, 2012 | More works of Nan Hoover in the imai online catalog >>

The presence of the ephemeral

Media art at the cutting edge between conservation and interpretation

Symposium: 15th November, 2012

When conserving and presenting media art, curators and restorers frequently have to find the balance between historical materiality of the work and the artistic intention. Restorers are faced with the challenge of preserving the original physical condition of spatial art installations which are frequently site-specific and were created in complex combinations with different media.

Link to Video Trailer >>

When such art works are transferred into a new exhibition context, questions arise in particular with regard to their spatial structure. Curators are developing new approaches for the contemporary presentation of performative and event-driven works through video and photographic documentation together with written deliverances and rudiments. The preservation and therefore the visualisation of technology-based art forms depends on the actuality of the image-bearing media and file formats on which they are based which are affected by the acceleration of technical developments. In this process the aim is to define and conserve the authenticity of the art work which may exist in different manifestations or stagings.
The symposium will present case studies and following this will discuss terms such as reconstruction, reproduction and remake and also the resulting procedures of contemporary exhibition practice, in particular with regard to ephemeral art forms. What strategy are museums and exhibition centres following to show performative works, sound-based works and works based on moving images? Has classification according to categories such as original and copy now become obsolete? How far can an interpretation of a work orient towards its exhibition history and where are the limits? Can the performative or also conceptual character of works be influenced such that later performances include deviating and yet authentic solutions?
Recently a number of research projects have been dedicated to the cutting edge between conservation of media art in the tradition of conservation and restoration science and the range of interpretation which comes about when art works are transferred into a new exhibition context. Since 2006 imai has carried out a number of case studies on the subject of media art installations with the aim to develop strategies for conservation with subsequent presentations. Dr. Tiziana Caianiello conducted a scientific discussion on this subject in her research project Materializing the Ephemeral. On the problems of the preservation and re-staging of media art installations, from 2007 to 2009 based at imai. In 2011, the restorer Fenna Yola Tykwer carried out a case study at imai for the reconstruction of Nan Hoover's installation and performance Light Composition: Documenta 8 (1987). The result of the case study will be presented in the symposium.

Symposium concept & organisation: Dr. Renate Buschmann and Darija Šimunović, M.A.

Symposium language: German

Date: Thursday, 15th November, 2012, 10 am - 5.30 pm
Location: imai – inter media art institute, c/o NRW-Forum, Ehrenhof 2, 40479 Duesseldorf, Germany

Participation is free of charge.
Please register in advance: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


09.30  Registration
10.00  Welcome: Hans-Georg Lohe, Kulturdezernent der Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf
10.15  Welcome / introductory remarks: Dr. Renate Buschmann, Direktorin des imai und
          Darija Šimunović, M.A., imai-Sammlung & Vertrieb

Chair: Darija Šimunović, M.A.

10.45  Keynote: Zwischen variabler Stabilität und variabler Fragilität.
          Präsentation und Dokumentation von Medienkunst

          Prof. Dr. Claudia Giannetti, director of the EDITH-RUSS-HAUS for media art, Oldenburg
11.45  Light Composition: Documenta 8 von Nan Hoover – Eine aktuelle Bestandsaufnahme
          Fenna Yola Tykwer, diplom conservator, -restorer / Dr. Renate Buschmann, imai
12.30  Expanded Cinema. Überlegungen zur Wiederaufführung und Dokumentation
          Katrin Mundt, freelance curator and author
13.15  Lunch break

Chair: Dr. Renate Buschmann

14.15  Rolf Julius – Klanginstallationen als Aufführungskunst
          Maija Julius, M.A., art historian and executor of the estate of Rolf Julius
15.00  Machbarkeitsfantasien / für die Ewigkeit
          Prof. Ute Hörner, artist and professor for media art / transmedial space at the KHM Cologne
15.45  Coffee break
16.00  Authentizität im Zeitalter der technischen Obsoleszenz
          Dr. Bernhard Serexhe, chief curator at the ZKM | Media museum Karsruhe
16.45 – 17.30  Discussion


Title picture: Nan Hoover Light Composition: Documenta 8 (1987) | © Photograph Elisabeth Jappe, 2012


Funded by: 

  MFKJKS NRW      Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf