Critically Endangered small

Media art where the artists or creative technicians are either deceased or not able to provide guidance on authenticity and installation

Group: Media Art

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previous category:  New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is now a priority

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.


Works produced by media artists now deceased, such as: Jeremy Blake, Beatriz Da Costa, Heiko Daxl or Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of documentation to enable maintenance; lack of clarity with respect to intellectual property; complex interdependencies on specific hardware, software or operating systems; lack of capacity in the gallery or workshop; lack of strategic investment; complex external dependencies; loss of institutional memory resulting from staff churn; poor working relationship between the gallery and artist/workshop; lack of conservation assessment.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Strong documentation; clarity of preservation path and ensuing responsibilities; proven preservation plan; capacity of workshop to support re-installation; capacity of gallery to conserve; capacity of gallery to re-install; retention of institutional memory including archives of correspondence between gallery and artist/workshop; strong and continuing working relationship between the gallery and artist/workshop; regular conservation assessment.

2019 Review

Media Art was introduced in 2017, though with particular reference to historical media art which was categorised as ‘critically endangered’. The jury has split this to ensure greater specificity in its recommendation.  This entry represents works held in galleries where the artist is deceased or the workshop has closed and there is limited prospect to obtain new documentation.

Additional Jury Comments

This entry includes a point in the lifecycle of all media art so good practice recommendations are likely to become more important over time.

Preservation issues may not become visible until the piece is brought out of storage for loan or exhibition, underscoring the value of continuous or periodic conservation assessment.

The range of data/formats/hardware/software etc. can be new and varied providing organisations with an ongoing technical challenge which they are not initially equipped to deal with. Some loss seems inevitable.

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