Workshop Documentation


Workshop Documentation, Thursday, May 18 2017, LIMA Amsterdam, 10:30 - 14:00 hrs

This workshop invites artists working with digital media to gain an understanding of the different components involved in documenting their artwork for the sake of preservation and future presentations. In particular, this workshop is geared towards artists who create complex software-based installations, meaning those that have specific physical parts as part of their presentation(as opposed to CD-Rom or browser-based artworks for example).

The aim of the workshop is twofold: to inform artists on some of the important steps and questions involved in caring for the preservation and future presentation of their artworks through sharing a tool that LIMA has created that works as a kind of to-do list/questionnaire hybrid. We will be sending this tool to participants a couple weeks prior to the workshop. You will have a chance to use this tool in your own practice to document a particular artwork and bring this to the workshop as a case study to review and reflect on. The other aim of the workshop is to also reflect on the tool from the users point of view—its steps, questions, format— and share feedback with LIMA on whether they feel such an approach is plausible, beneficial, frustrating etc. for their work? In other words, a workshop to help artists understand how to document their own work and to help us understand if these approaches are realistic and how to improve on them to benefit artists.

With the checklist tool we’ve tried to create an easy-to-use set of tasks for artists to do in order to start thinking about documentation, preservation & presentations of their artworks in the future:

  • The checklist is geared towards artists who create complex, interactive, born-digital installations.
  • With the first draft of this tool, we’re focusing on content rather than design at this stage. But we’re also thinking about what kind of format we might want to offer it in. Is it paper, a digital form, a web form, an app etc.?
  • We’ve tried to make it easy on costs, just requires time at different instances of an artwork’s creation. There could be costs in terms of video documentation, but that’s dependent on how thoroughly you want to be.
  • The tool is geared towards artists currently creating new works, for artists going back and documenting older works, and for artists to document their works after updates are made.
  • The order of the steps works is in sequence with the creation of an artwork: making backups, documenting key software, hardware & playback equipment as the work is being made, then defining the concept & function, ideal exhibition space parameters, as well as important things to note after the work has been finished & installed.
  • We wanted to make a self-contained resource, rather than a document that then asks you to refer to other documents. We’ve tried to provide information & guidelines, as well as space to do the actual documentation.
  • We’ve also created the checklist with the idea of providing sort of minimal guidelines for an artist to document their work. What’s needed to be done at a minimum. There could be many more steps & questions on here, but tried to condense to the most important information.
  • We’ve also thought about this from a media art preservation institution perspective. Meaning that the kinds of info you’ll fill in on the sheet are the kinds of things that such an institution would want to know if helping you preserve your work. Also helps museums with their acquisition process.

This workshop presents the second public version of the tool, and we hope with each instance to help artists better understand the steps involved in documenting their own work, as well as gain valuable feedback from artists to be able to improve the tool so that LIMA can better serve their artist community.

Register for the workshop by sending an email to with ‘Future Proof Media Art Workshop’ in the subject line. Enrollment deadline is May 11, so we can get the tool to you in time to try out. Detailed information on how to use the tool will be provided. The workshop will take place on Thursday, May 18 2017 from 10:30hrs until 14:00hrs at LIMA, Arie Biemondstraat 111, 1054 PD, Amsterdam.

Participants will pay a contribution of 10,- euros, including lunch. Payment can be done on arrival, cash only.

What is sustainable in relation to the so-called unstable media? In the scope of the collaborative research project ‘Future Proof Media Art’ with Dutch media artist Geert Mul, LIMA researches 9 software-based and interactive media artworks from the oeuvre of Mul, presented in the solo exhibition ‘Geert Mul, Matchmaker – 25 Years Media Art’ at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam in 2016/2017. This research serves to make future display of these works possible, and focuses on preservation, documentation and sharing knowledge gained during this process with other media artists and conservation professionals to preserve digital art in a more sustainable manner for the future. For more information on the project and updates, see the inks on the right.

Rachel Somers Miles is a LIMA researcher and part of the Future Proof Media Art project, documenting the 9 case studies from the oeuvre of Geert Mul and developing the documentation tool. She will be leading the workshop together with LIMA registrar Mila van der Weide.

We are looking forward to see you at LIMA!