Added on 27 August 2021


Artists are increasingly engaging with immersive media such as 360 video, real-time 3D and virtual reality (VR). Immersive media technologies present considerable challenges to our ability to stabilise and preserve: they consist of complex systems of interlinked components (many of which are proprietary and closed-source) and are dependent on the continued support of a rapidly moving, innovation focused industry. Tate’s Preserving Immersive Media project began in 2018 as a response to the immediate risks posed by this pattern of accelerated obsolescence. 

We are pleased to announce the publication of our first report from this research project, titled “Preserving Virtual Reality Artworks”. This is available to download on our project page: https://www.tate.org.uk/about-us/projects/preserving-immersive-media.

This report introduces contemporary VR technologies and identifies the challenges artists and the cultural heritage sector face in achieving the long-term preservation of artworks which make use of them. The report concludes with recommendations for artists and institutions who are dealing with the immediate problem of caring from VR artworks, and with recommendations for further research. 

We are conscious that there remains much more to do if we are to keep VR artworks accessible in the long-term, and hope that this will be built upon by further work. We welcome comments and feedback.

Jack McConchie

Time-based Media Conservator

Tate | 7-14 Mandela Way | London | SE1 5SR


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