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Video Art, Art Museums and Galleries Issue 1, May 2014
About the Video Art, Art Museums and Galleries Community

You have just opened the first of our newsletters for those engaged in the conservation and preservation of Video Art. In this newsletter you will find discussions and information on digital preservation topics related to the Video Art, Art Museums and Galleries Community of Practice including topics around standards, methodologies and emerging practice, which we hope will be of value to you in managing your video art collections.

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What is this Community of Practice about?

The PrestoCentre Community of Practice on Video Art, Art Museums and Galleries is led by Tate and is focused on the preservation of the media component of video artworks and in particular the challenge of moving from tape-based video formats to the acquisition, storage and distribution of the media component of video artworks as data.

Although most collections of video artworks are small, each work has a high value and the standards for preservation must be as exacting as those for our important contemporary paintings or sculptures. However those responsible for the care and management of video artworks often have many other duties to attend to and may not have specialist skills in video preservation. Also, even within the larger video preservation community there is little consensus on formats for preservation and few readily available tools which support the preservation of video. The museum community is small, with limited funds and hence, rather than develop bespoke solutions, this working group will aim to provide a platform through which we can work together to establish the development of tools and practices which support preservation for our specific context. Key areas which will be explored include identifying how video management within an art context differs from other sectors and evaluating available systems, tools and formats for high value video asset preservation and re-use.

Who are involved?

Several experts within the field of Video Art have agreed to join the Core group of experts representing this community. This expert group will provide peer support, knowledge creation and transfer through dialogue, feedback and the sharing of examples of problems and challenges that people within the video art community face when dealing with digital preservation.
  • Pip Laurenson, Head of Collection Care Research, Tate, UK
  • Gaby Wijers, Director, LIMA (Living Media Art Foundation), Netherlands
  • Joan Leese, Managing Director, VET, UK
  • Rony Vissers, Director, PACKED (Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage), Belgium
  • Emanuel Lorrain, PACKED (Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage), Belgium
  • Alice Moscoso, Chargée de numérisation des collections, Centre Pompidou, France
  • Isabel Meyer, DAMS Project Manager, Smithsonian, USA
  • Martina Haidvogl, Advanced Fellow in the Conservation of Contemporary Art, SFMOMA, USA
  • Agathe Jarczyk, Conservator and Lecturer, Atelier fur Videokonservierung GmbH and Bern University, Switzerland
  • Joanna Phillips, Associate Conservator of Contemporary Art, Guggenheim, USA
  • Kate Jennings, Media Conservator, MoMA, USA
What is happening?

Since the launch of the activities in October 2013 the core expert group has joined in monthly calls with the Core expert group Coordinator to define the working plan and identify some common concerns for discussion. The team has also shared thoughts on tools used by practitioners and discussed topics such as emerging digital workflows, and the needs and barriers to the adoption of technology and standards. We are currently exploring topics for a webinar for our community so if there are particular areas of interest please get in touch with us via

Your Participation
How do you contribute?

This Community of Practice working group is a great opportunity to get to know and learn from peers, share what you know and increase your contact network. We've created an exclusive discussion platform (PrestoCentre Answers) related to digital preservation in Video Art, Art Museums and Galleries, where you can share your knowledge and opinion. We value your participation and are very much interested in your expertise, experience and points of view. Bring examples from your day-to-day practice to the community and engage with colleagues in the field.

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PrestoCentre Events
Register Now: Preservathon on AV Preservation Storage Solutions
Register now for PrestoCentre’s Preservathon on AV Preservation Storage Solutions, taking place in Turin on 25 - 26 June 2014.

Learn to select the best storage solution for your AV archive
There is no such thing as ‘everlasting’ data storage. Digital preservation requires the indefinite, error free storage of information, together with the means for its retrieval and interpretation, irrespective of changes in technologies, support and data formats, or changes in the requirements of the user community. Any choice of storage solution, therefore, involves careful consideration, needs assessment, long-term cost evaluation and so on. Where and when do vendors become involved and what do you need to know about them and their products before you make your decision?

Target Audience
Library and archive technologists, directors of collection care and IT advisors interested in the various motivations and priorities of storage for digital audiovisual media across different domains.

Learning Objectives
After this Preservathon you:
  • Will have a better understanding of the concept of procurement and vendor rating;
  • Will be able to map organisational requirements to the market of storage solutions;
  • Will have a better understanding of functionality vs technology;
  • Will have a better understanding of costs (full costs of ownership).
The Preservathon will take place on 25-26 June at Rai “Museo della Radio”, Turin, Italy. The first day will be a hands-on workshop where teams will learn what is involved in selecting the best long-term audiovisual storage solution. The second day will host a mini-conference. This Preservathon is made possible by the Presto4U project.

More Information

Past Events
BAVC hosts two-day retreat to test new QC tool for video preservation
On March 27 and 28, the Bay Area Video Coalition’s Preservation Division, lead by Moriah Ulinskas, generously invited a group of media archivists, preservationists and conservators to convene in San Francisco and test the Quality Control Tool for Video Preservation that is currently under development. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and developed by a small international team lead by Dave Rice, the tool will be a free, open-source application that has the potential to provide non-profit communities with a valuable alternative to costly and proprietary QC products currently on the market.

Read the blog from Joanna Phillips, Associate Conservator of Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim.

Library Highlight
A short guide to choosing a digital format for video archiving masters
Hundred of thousands of hours of audiovisual material are still being held by Flemish cultural heritage institutions and broadcast archives on already – or soon to become – obsolete carriers. From the end of 2013 the Flemish Institute for Archiving (VIAA) will operate as a service provider who will organise the digitisation and storage of audiovisual contents for owners and caretakers. The digital files produced will ultimately replace old tape-based formats and become the new archiving masters.

In the framework of the preparation for the VIAA digitisation projects, PACKED vzw has conducted some research, looking at common practices in broadcast organisations and audiovisual archives in order to see what would be the best solution for the digitisation of audiovisual collections in Flanders' cultural heritage institutions. The following document gives an overview of the different elements that should be taken into account when choosing the destination format and related specifications, listing the various options available.

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Upcoming Events
May 28 - 31: The Electronic Media Group at 2014 AIC Annual Meeting -  The Electronic Media Group (EMG) of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) is calling for papers about the preservation and conservation of electronic media for the AIC annual meeting, May 28-31st 2014 in San Francisco, California.

The theme of the meeting is Conscious Conservation: Sustainable Choices in Conservation Care. Topics could include sustainability of analogue media formats, migration and emulation strategies, approaches to digital asset management and preservation, care of electronic media collections, and case studies of particularly challenging artworks.

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Copyright Â© 2014 

The Presto4U project receives funding from the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project will run from 1 January 2013 till 31 December 2014

PrestoCentre is a non-profit organisation registered under KvK54274427