Preserve Media Art
Douglas Davis. Video against video, 1975
Prior to conservation: Douglas Davis. Video against video, 1975

In 2010 imai has extended its commitment to professional and special solutions for the conservation and restoration of media art. Funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has enabled imai to take on the role of a co-ordination and information centre in order to offer assistance to museums and collections in North Rhine-Westphalia for the coordination and realisation of necessary preservation measures in the field of media art.

In spite of the fact that media art is a relatively new art genre, its preservation represents an enormous challenge as these works of art are based on sensitive materials and technology which are subject to rapid and continuous change. Just as quickly as the storage media become obsolete, the playback and presentation techniques lose their functionality. Given these special conditions, methods and action plans have to be drawn up to enable long-term conservation and professional restoration.

imai has extensive experience in the conservation and restoration of video tapes and media art installations. The extensive own media art collection maintained by imai enables it to exchange communication with experts and international institutions in this area on a technical level. When the foundation was set up 1,300 audio visual works were protected from decay and made available to the public via an online catalogue. Using a series of case studies imai has, in cooperation with art historians, restorers and video technicians, established exemplary guidelines for the efficient preservation of media art installations.

In its function as a foundation for media art the core tasks of imai include the elaboration of sustainable preservation strategies in the area of new media and to communicate this special knowledge with advisory services, workshops, conferences and publications to curators, restorers, artists and scientists.