home  | project description | symposium 2005  | restoration  | exhibition  | publications
general information  | programme  | speakers  | lectures
Digital Heritage: Symposium on Video Art in Germany from 1963 to the Present
July 1–2, 2005 Symposium
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Düsseldorf

Venue: K20 | Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
Grabbeplatz 5 Trinkaus-Auditorium
40213 Düsseldorf


Magnetic tapes are subject to a constant process of deterioration. This realization is not new. Yet for some time now an international discussion has been taking place regarding the fact that ubiquitous and fleeting electronic images are as much a part of our cultural heritage as painting or sculpture – with the reservation that in the meantime, a large part of this heritage is in acute danger. Since the triumph of video art in international exhibition circles, in particular museums and collections with a fundamental interest in the preservation of their works have been confronted with this dilemma and are thinking about their long-neglected electronic stores. However, insufficient attention has been given to the issues of how in future imminent losses can be averted and restorative measures can be taken.

The signs of digitalization have meanwhile extended out into all areas of society. The social acceptance of the new digital carriers and media requires that questions be exemplarily and systematically asked regarding the processes of digitalization currently taking place. What is the historical, practical, but also the theoretical significance of the transformation from analog to digital information for work on a digital heritage? And how can we maintain awareness of the access to this heritage in the areas of research and teaching? What repercussions do these issues have for artists, galleries and sales?

Several aspects of the current situation are the complexity of the technical configurations of recording and playback media, the lack of an academic examination of evaluation standards, and inadequate awareness of the precarious state of technological images. The interfacing of the various competencies of archives, academics, museums, artists and industry is necessary in order to promote the development and communication of methods and practical models not only for the preservation, but also for the restoration of videotapes, since up to now, in the area of electronic media no standards have been developed to evaluate either electronicimage hardware or software from a restorative point of view.

As a first milestone of the project “40yearsvideoart.de,“ this public symposium will present exemplary research, initiatives and projects, and analyze and put forward for discussion their significance for the construction of history and aesthetic perception as well as for museal and artistic practice. The results will in turn be included in the reappraisal of forty years of video art in Germany, which in a further step will be presented in various contexts in exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Bremen, the K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, the Lenbachhaus Munich, the Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig and the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. In addition to the project, a DVD study edition will make the materials lastingly available for research and teaching.

credits  | contact