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Featured News Item:
Smithsonian American Art Museum shares the acquisition workflow and sample forms for TBMA collections

Featured Case Study:
Paul Sharits, Shutter Interface, (1975), Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Featured Working Group Project:
Interviews with Thought Leaders

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Working Group Projects

TBMA Working Group Workshops

Funded by Smithsonian's National Collections Program

The Smithsonian Time Based Media & Digital Art Working Group hosted the following workshops:

    Web Archiving and Emulation
    Instructor: Dragan Espenschied

  • The program will cover the web and its special challenges of boundless objects, as well as emulation and performance. There are some overlapping tropes in both fields that can make for interesting discussions on meaningful abstractions in digital preservation. For hands-on components, the workshop includes some exercises on assessing object boundaries for both online and offline works, identifying technical and cultural risks, and discussing ways of dissecting different parts of performances (computational and human).
    Film Loopers II
    Instructor: Robert Miniaci

  • Loopers: Discuss the different model sizes, types and applications. Training on procedures for film handling and loading preparation. Fine tuning the film after initial loading. Observations and corrections over time. Cleaning and maintenance. Present and inform on new developments active loopers versus passive.
  • Eiki 16MM projectors: Give an overview of the various models halogen and xenon. Discuss pros and cons of each model. Customization and application of the different models evaluation based on application. General maintenance, cleaning, storage. How to recognize sounds and wear on film and how they relate to mechanical issues. Learning the function and the modular make-up of the Eiki projectors. Learn how to deal with film path, gate and focus issues. Present the status of parts and service in the years ahead. Suggestions on how to preserve analog in a digital world.
    CRT TV and Monitor, Video and General Electronics Workshop
    Instructors: CTL ELECTRONICS INC. (CTLui and Raphaele Shirley)

  • Demonstrate the fundamental construction of CRT TVs and monitors: How to identify their different parts and how they all connect and fit together in the factory case. Show and explain the evolution of the technology of the cathode, anode, steering coils, shadow mask/aperture grille, the circuit boards, speakers etc.
  • Safety issues and safe handling. Basic storage and handling recommendations. Basic procedures for routine maintenance checking of electronic devices.
  • How to identify and assess signs of condition and aging in CRT TVs and CRT monitors. Set up example units and show photos to show potential problems such as aging tube, bad tube, problem with horizontal/vertical hold, bad signal, and bad signal connection. Discuss what can be remedied through treatment and what is beyond repair.
  • How to identify different types of TVs (manufacture styles and types) Sony, Samsung, Dotronix Hantarex etc. What are the basic properties of different types of monitors such as Sony PVM series, Dotronics and Hantarex. What are their specific advanced properties? How to hook up and what not to do when handing them.
  • Understand electricity, step up down transformers and how to use an ohms meter and volt meter to check grounding problem.
  • TV alignment with color bar signal generator and degaussing coil. Understand different types of Video signals, distribution and termination. General explanation of video wall processors.

Establishing a Time Based Digital Art Conservation Lab at the Smithsonian Institution

Funded by Smithsonian's Grand Challenges Consortia for Valuing World Cultures and Understanding the American Experience Level I Grants

The Smithsonian Time Based Media Art Working Group is pleased to announce that the Smithsonian Consortia for Valuing World Cultures and Understanding the American Experience have awarded the group a Level 1 Award. This award will fund a year-long feasibility study titled Establishing a Time Based Digital Art Conservation Lab at the Smithsonian Institution. As work on this project begins, we will be posting updates to this website.

The TBMA Working Group members would like to thank the Smithsonian Consortia for their ongoing support of this program.

Report on the Status and Need for Technical Standards in the care of Time-Based Media and Digital Art

Funded by the Independent Research and Development Seed Grant Fund

Final Report can be found here, The Smithsonian Interview Project: Questions on Technical Standards in the Care of Time-Based and Digital Art, Ten Insights from Artists and Experts in the Field, July 2014

Based on formal interviews with Thought Leaders in the field of time-based and digital media art preservation, the report will focus on the potential need for technical standards for the preservation of time-based media art as opposed to those developed with archival collections in mind, and the relationship of that perceived need to best current and future practices in the preservation of time-based media art.

Participants interviewed were asked Guided Questions developed by the Working Group. Transcripts are posted here. Participants are listed with their titles at the time of the interview.

  • Agathe Jarczyk, Independent Video Conservator & Lecturer at the University of the Arts in Bern, Switzerland.
  • Arnold Rots, Archive Astrophysicist in the High Energy Astrophysics Division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • Ben Fino-Radin, Digital Conservator at Rhizome & Manager of the Digital Repository for Museum Collections at MoMA
  • Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art at the School of Arts, Design, and Media, University of Sunderland, & co-editor of CRUMB
  • Caitlin Jones, Jana Grazley & Scott Owens, Executive Director & Media Archivists at Western Front Society
  • Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art & Associate Professor, School of Media Studies, The New School
  • Christine Frohnert, Conservator of Contemporary Art, Bek & Frohnert LLC & Visiting Professor in Conservation and Technical Studies at New York University
  • Cory Arcangel, Artist, Computer Programmer, & Web Designer
  • Gaby Wijers, Director of LIMA, Amsterdam
  • Glenn Wharton, Clinical Associate Professor in Museum Studies at New York University
  • James Snyder, Senior Systems Administrator at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, Library of Congress
  • Jason Salavon, Computational Artist
  • Jeff Rothenberg, Independent Information Science Consultant
  • Joanna Phillips, Associate Conservator of Contemporary Art at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • Jon Ippolito, Associate Professor of New Media at University of Maine
  • Kara van Malssen, Senior Consultant at AudioVisual Preservation Solutions & Adjunct Professor at New York University
  • Kate Jennings, Time-Based Media Conservator at the Tate Modern
  • Koven Smith, Director of Technology at the Denver Art Museum
  • Lincoln Schatz, Contemporary Artist
  • Mark Hellar, Owner of Hellar Studios, Consultant at SFMoMA & BAVC
  • Mark Tribe, Artist & Founder of Rhizome
  • Mona Jimenez, Associate Director and Associate Arts Professor, Moving Image Archive Program (MIAP), New York University
  • Paul Messier, Independent Conservator
  • Pip Laurenson, Head of Collections Care Research at the Tate Modern
  • Richard Rhinehart, Director of the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University
  • Sarah Cook, Curator, Research Fellow at the University of Sunderland, & Co-founder of CRUMB - Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss
  • Steven Dye, Exhibitions Technical Manager, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Survey of Time-Based Media and Digital Artworks across the Smithsonian Collections

Funded by the Collections Care and Preservation Fund

A survey of the Smithsonian Museums' holdings of time-based fine art, including those that are collecting or exhibiting time-based artworks, works that include film, video, slides, audio, or computer software as an essential component.

Survey of Roles and Practices at the Smithsonian Museums

Funded by Smithsonian's Consortium for World Cultures and Consortium for Understanding the American Experience Grand Challenges Awards, Level I (2010) and Level II (2011)

The Grand Challenges Level I award funded a survey interviewing SI staff members from many of the Museums on the ways in which time-based artworks are currently cared for, what departments are responsible for specific tasks related to these works within each unit, and the conditions under which they are held. Findings made clear that acquiring and exhibiting time-based artworks are a high priority in all SI art museums, and that staff feels a strong need for shared resources, education, and collaboration with colleagues nationally and internationally.

Based on the survey's findings, the Working Group received a Grand Challenges Level II award to work on an ongoing project towards the development of SI-wide protocols for the care of time-based art, to create this web resource to share these protocols and other findings, and to create training workshops for SI staff tasked with the care of these works.