How to Present and Preserve Violin Power, Steina 1969-1978

10/05/2021
Blog post

In 2017 LIMA launched the digital canon; a list of twenty "canonical" digital artworks made between 1960 and 2000 on Dutch soil. The purpose of the canon is to generate attention for digital art among both institutions and the public. We have deliberately chosen the model of a "canon" to stimulate and to address the established institutions for modern and contemporary art about the gaps in their collection. The artworks are currently presented on digitalcanon.nl.

It has always been our wish to present all these pioneering works in an exhibition. Supported by the Mondriaan Fonds, LIMA is currently investigating the possibilities together with Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Researching how Violin Power, 1969-1978 by Steina Vasulka can be exhibited / performed in the future is a case study in LIMA’s preservation research in 2021, in collaboration with STEIM and HNI. 

Research questions:

What is the work? 
What is the hardware, software, components and conservation strategy?
What was the state of the art in technology at the time?
What is the concept, functionality and aesthetics of the (interaction and) technology used?
How can interaction and / or synchronization be mapped and the technology and experience preserved?
How can the artwork be exhibited / performed in the future?
What does it take to use / exhibit the work in the future?
How do the different versions and iterations relate to each other?
How can we and others study, experience, and use the different versions?

Eléonore Bernard (restaurator), Olivia Brum (restoration intern) and Mauricio van der Maesen (computer- and sound engineer) are currently working on these questions and scenarios for future presentations.

Eléonore Bernard studied conservation and restoration of modern materials and media at the Bern University of the Arts from 2013 to 2020. Since February 2020, she has been working as a media curator at Kunsthaus Zürich, where she is responsible for the digital archiving of the video and media collection. Since 2018 Eléonore Bernard has been working as a freelance media conservator at Atelier 40a. In addition to this, she is involved in various projects, such as Pixelvetica, a pilot study focusing on the long-term archiving of Swiss video games. She also coordinates the working group for Paintings and Contemporary Art within the Swiss Association for Conservation and Restoration. Eléonore Bernard works for LIMA as a freelance media conservator-restorer on the projects regarding the preservation of Violin Power and VR work, 100 jaar Vrowenkiesrecht.

Olivia Brum has a Masters’ in the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage at the University of Amsterdam and is currently participating in their Post Master’s program. Prior to her position as Graduate Conservation Intern at LIMA she has completed internships at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Glenstone Museum, Library of Congress, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her role at LIMA includes her participation as a researcher on one project revolving around Violin Power and another concerning the preservation of the VR work, 100 jaar Vrouwenkiesrecht

Mauricio van der Maesen de Sombreff is an engineer, artist and researcher. He was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1980. His background is mostly technical, ranging from electronics to computer sciences, sound engineering, industrial automation and software development. His role in this research is to understand the technical decisions and motivations involved throughout the many stages of Violin Power and the influence that the work of other contemporary video artists, developers, hackers and technicians had on the project. And to research the technical aspects of storing and preserving VR artworks.

Planning

In June 2021 the first outcomes will be presented at an (online) expert meeting also a public presentation is scheduled.