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Archiving the Unarchivable – Das Unarchivierbare archivieren

22. November 2018, 18:00 - 24. November 2018, 17:00

An International Conference organized by the documenta archiv, Kassel

When and how is an ephemeral work of art or a performance well documented? How do the terms original, copy and duplicate change? What are the best methods for treating existing photographs and audiovisual media? How can original room situations, performances and installations be reconstructed in retrospect? How has the professional image of media archivists and conservators changed?

These questions will be discussed at an international conference organized by the documenta archiv in view of the future documenta Institut and in consideration of current developments in restoration and conservation. The contributors will focus on documentation, digitization, prevention and conservation of photographs and time-based media. Specifically, the question arises of how much effort must be made to provide a long-term functioning infrastructure so that institutions preserving the memory of our cultural heritage can fulfill their respective missions and their obligations to society.

The aim of this international exchange is to give new impulses for the development of strategies for readying and equipping contemporary archives for the future.

Concept: Birgit Jooss, Arlett Seidel, Alexander Zeisberg

Organization: Andrea Linnenkohl

The conference will be held in English. Participation is free of charge.


Thursday, 22 November 2018

18:00 – 21:00
Welcome speeches
Sabine Schormann, documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH
Ulrich Adolphs, The Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts
Birgit Jooss, documenta archiv

Live Performance
Mediendienst Leistungshölle (Klaus Erich Dietl, Stephanie Müller)

Friday, 23 November 2018
8:30 – 9:30 Registration
Welcome speeches

9:30 – 9:45 Susanne Völker, Department for Culture, City of Kassel
9:45 – 10:00 Birgit Jooss, documenta archiv

First Session: Archiving Memories
Chair Andreas Gardt, University of Kassel
10:00 – 11:00 Dagmar Brunow, Linnaeus University, Växjö
Keynote: Between Remembering and Forgetting: The Archive and Cultural Memory

11:30 – 12:15 Martin Koerber, German Film Archive, Berlin
Expert Networks to the Rescue, what can we learn from the Film Archives?

12:15 – 13:00 Chris Edwards, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles
Digitization: Current Practices to Future Prophecies

Second Session Time-based Media Art: The New Discipline in Conservation
14:30 – 14:45 Chair Arnaud Obermann, State Gallery Stuttgart
14:45 – 15:30 Tina Weidner, Tate Gallery, London
Going digital – Challenges in the preservation of time-based media art

15:30 – 16:15 Joanna Phillips, Guggenheim Museum, New York
Time-based Media Conservation in Museum Practice

16:45 – 17:30 Dorcas Müller, ZKM I Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
Sauve qui peut (les médias)! ZKM | Laboratory for Antiquated Video Systems

17:30 – 18:15 Andreas Weisser, Restaumedia and Doerner Institut, Munich
Ethical challenges in the conservation of time-based media. Do we need a digital Code of Ethics?

18:30 – 19:30 Panel Discussion moderated by Johannes Gfeller, Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design

Saturday, 24 November 2018
9:00 – 9:15 Registration

Third Session: Time-based Media Art: Bearing the Challenges of Lifecycle Management

9:15 – 9:30 Chair Alexander Zeisberg, documenta archiv, Kassel

9:30 – 10:15 Anne J. Gilliland, University of California, Los Angeles
Ethics, Affects and Technologies of Recovery and Repair in Twenty-first Century Art Archives

10:15 – 11:00 Jonah Westerman, Purchase College, State University of New York
Performance, Pragmatically: Truth Claims in Exhibition Practice

11:30 – 12:15 Daniel G. Andújar, Artist, Barcelona
Against the Archive, as a „political space“

12:15 – 13:00 Tilman Baumgärtel, University of Applied Science, Mainz
Archiving on the Verge of the Digital: Van Gogh TV and „Piazza Virtuale“ at documenta 8

14:00 – 15:00 Panel Discussion moderated by Nora Sternfeld, Kunsthochschule Kassel

From 15:30 Accompanying Program (to be selected)

Harald Kimpel, documenta archiv, Kassel: Tour to the outdoor artworks of documenta
Anne Harmssen and Julia Dummer, Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel: Tours on the Topic of Conservation at Neue Galerie
Birgit Jooss and Martin Groh, documenta archiv, Kassel: Tour at the documenta archiv


22. November 2018, 18:00
24. November 2018, 17:00


documenta archiv
+49 561 70727-6109


documenta Halle
Du-​Ry-Straße 1
Kassel, 34117 Deutschland
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