Contributions to the 7th AICCM Book, Paper and Photographic Materials Symposium 29g31 August 2012 Brisbane, Australia
In our technologically sophisticated world, we are continually witnessing rapid changes to audiovisual (AV) formats and ‘platforms’ used by artists. How can we possibly keep up? There is recognition that the obsolescence that goes hand-in-hand with such advances in technology is fast becoming a serious matter in the cultural institution environment. These issues can provide complex challenges with regard to AV collections. The National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA’s) AV collection comprises approximately 2500 objects in a variety of formats;the largest part of this collection consists of video tape and reeled film.The Paper Conservation section directs the care of this collection and for nearly a decade has been actively making changes to the way in which the NGA documents, stores and generates AV derivatives. The section is also responsible for educating other staff involved with the overall care of this collection. In an ideal world our institution would employ a new media curator, a new media conservator and information technology (IT) staff to deal specifically with our collection and would also install in-house dedicated cold storage facilities for these items. This paper will outline several different AV projects directing preservation and management of this collection at the NGA and detail challenges such as collection focus and status, ethical considerations and the implications for conservation.The complexities and confusion that can present with such collections, the ongoing concerns related to storage, the need for education about this type of material and also the future of digital asset management are all necessary topics for discussion. Meanwhile AV collections remain to some degree neglected.Are we doing a lot of time wasting?
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