Workshop led by Alain Depocas

The DOCAM (Documentation and conservation of media arts heritage) project was entrusted with a mandate to examine the factors that threaten the technological arts heritage and to put forward solutions and tools to allow artists, collaborators, museum professionals and collectors to better document and preserve this heritage. The causes of this fragility are many and varied. Most notable among them is the increasingly rapid obsolescence of the technologies used in these artworks. It is this obsolescence that is driving us to re-examine the factors that define the authenticity and integrity of new media works and recognise that they are based on variable media. It therefore becomes clear that the essence of a new media work is found more in its behaviour and the effects it generates than in the materiality of its components.

This workshop will not propose any “off the shelf recipes” and won’t be focusing on technical solutions but will instead present what a documentation model needs to achieve and why. The workshop will be based on the Daniel Langlois Foundation’s experience with collecting documentation on technology-based art practices, and on methods of connection, indexation and dissemination of these documents. We will also use the recently developed DOCAM documentation model and other resources produced by this research alliance during it’s five years of existence.

A conservation guide was also produced by the DOCAM’s researchers. It contains many recommendations and tools, such as a “Decision tree”, aiming to help restorators dealing with technology-based artworks to ask all the necessary questions and have a complete understanding of the problems of a specific artworks, before starting to select the right strategies for conservation.

We will also present other tools and resources produced by the DOCAM research project. A terminology tool, a timeline of technology and a cataloguing guide are amongst the major output of DOCAM. All these tools and resources were produced by a team of museum professionals, teachers and students of participating universities and research centre such as the Daniel Langlois Foundation’s Centre for Research and Documentation (CR+D). Other research initiatives in which the Daniel Langlois Foundation was involved, such as the Variable Media Network will also be presented.

Alain Depocas has been the director of the Centre for Research and Documentation (CR+D) of the Daniel Langlois Foundation (DLF) since 1999. As such, he is responsible for a documentary collection covering the history, works and practices associated with media, electronic and digital arts. He has also established a database to manage the collection and other information pertaining to the CR+D's areas of interest, for example technology-based art, and is the editor of the Daniel Langlois Foundation’s Web site. From 2005 to 2010 he has directed an ambitious research project on the documentation and conservation of media arts heritage (DOCAM), which produced several tools and resources including a timeline of technology and a documentation model adapted to technology-based art.

In collaboration with Taxonomedia


Tuesday, June 1, from 11 am to 2 pm and from 4 to 6.30 pm
MACBA Public Programs
Tel. (+34) 93 481 46 81
programespublics [at] macba [dot] cat




Arts mediatiques, stratégies de documentation et conservation: le projet DOCAM