Conference "Media Library: a new educational center..."

Photo / Video


«Media Library: a new educational centre, museum collection and digital archive»

29 — 30 November 2012

Place The Central Manege, Media Gallery,2-nd Floor

Support by The French Embassy and the French Institute, the Embassy of Finland, the Polish Cultural Centre, the British Council, Mondrian Foundation, Holiday Inn Lesnaya, National Cenre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), the Buro Tolpin Peter Architects


Etienne Sandrin — the Pompidou Centre (France), Perttu Rastas — the KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art (Finland), Piotr Kraevsky — WRO Art Center (Poland), Mike Sperlinger — the LUX Centre for film, video and digital arts (UK), Kate Jennings — the TATE (UK), Aleksandra Obuchova — the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture (Russia), Anna Gor — the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (Russia), Olesia Tyrkina — the State Russian Museum (Russia), Joseph Backstein — Commissioner of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (Russia), Olga Shishko — the Museum of screen culture MediaArtLab (Russia) and Peter Tolpin of the Buro Tolpin Peter Architects (Russia)

Special Guest Film director and Artist — Peter Greenaway (UK — Netherlands)

The issues in focus

The conference will bring into focus various questions connected to formation and use of media libraries as new centres for education, digital arrchives’ storage, video and digital artworks collection.


Subject 1: Media Library as a public space and a new education centre
Subject 2: Museum collections and the future of digital archives


  • articulate the concept of a Media Library and its functions in the worldwide context and specifically in Russia
  • define the demands of various user types and how to work with them
  • present the Screen Culture Meseum (MediaArtLab) Media Library
  • explore the problem of media art acquiring a value status under the current conditions of information overprodfucation
  • outline the forms of digital collections and archives’ existence today, define their future development
  • define methods of preservation for media art works and policies of their further representation
  • discuss problems of media art cataloging — its main approaches today and in the future, new specialists skills demanded from staff, as well as technical requirements and other specifics

Language of presentations:
Presentations may be made in English or Russian.

The importance of media culture and media art presentation is imposed by the fact that they are often most finely and sensitively attuned to the state of contemporary society and contemporary culture. Unfortunately, not all exhibition spaces and museums (major Western media centres excluded) posess the necessary facilities and resources or methods of working with media art. Since 1990’s media libraries and virtual collections presented online are its most actual form of presentation both in Europe and Russia. Both forms of presentation of this art form are innovative for Russia.

Today media libraries as the new live centres for education and culture are replacing traditional libraries, that are fast becoming obsolete in the «digital society». At the same time media libraries continue their ancient tradition and are the direct descendants and heirs to libraries’ main fuctions. They take over both «analogue» and digital storage funds, constantly adding to their functions with contemporary tools for archival data representation.

The Media Library of the MediaArtLab Screen Culture Museum — a joint project with the Manege Central Exhibition Hall — has been compiled in more than ten years’ time — at the moment it has accumulated, archived and annotated more tham 2000 works of media art (http://www.mediaartlab.ru). In 2001 MediaArtLab has organized an international Access to Excess conference where archiving and presentation of media art were thoroughly discussed.

Museum collections and the future of digital archives
Cataloging media art

While creating a database for the MediaArtLab audiovisual archive — an online archive of video art, interactive and web-art projects — we have keenly defined the key problem for this kind of projects. What exactly is to be archived and preserved — a work as a whole, as completely as possible, or its description only, which seems to be a more convenient solution, if the work in question incorporates «real» elements and direct social contact? Or should we preserve a technical copy as an accurate reproduction in a more current technical format? What is to be considered a fair copy? How do we represent media created works in the future?

Contemporary art, especially the part that works with new technologies is an absolutely new cultural phenomenon that differs fundamentally from the traditional ones, mostly in its temporary aspects. Thus expert research of the development of technologies as such is needed, for their modifications bring changes in technical orientation and material aspects of the art itself daily.

What follows is that traditional cataloging of contemporary art, meaning a critical analysis from a historical (temporary) perspective will be made especially difficult in future due to the loss of the object of description — the artwork — itself. It will become anattainable for a critic as the technique of its creation is lost. In this situation the professional work in marking, describing, cataloging and preservation of media art should take place, paradoxically, already at this moment.

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