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     Video Art / Media Art Preservation:  Studies and Suggestions
                     THE DANISH VIDEO ART DATA BANK

What can be done?

You should  as we have pointed out distinguish between “passive preservation” and “active preservation/conservation /restoration”.

 We have already dealt with the passive preservation. When it comes to the active preservation/conservation /restoration most of us would need professional help.

Professional help

You can find both commercial companies and non-commercial organisations/institutions with knowledge and equipment to help you. You might search the Internet for links but it is I think not surprising that the links are to American companies and organisations.

American examples:

The best known commercial companies in America are

-          Vidipax Magnetic Media Restoration Company, New York (1)

-          Specs Bros Audio and Video Tape Restoration, Boston (2)

-          RGB Video Broadcast Service, Philadelphia (3)

You can find the web addresses in the Notes. Some of the companies – like RGB – are also able to repair most of your old and outdated video equipment or have a “museum department” with this old equipment if you need to transfer a tape from an outdated format and you no longer have the equipment.

The very best non-commercial organisation is without doubt BAVC / Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco (4). They have a long time expertise in restoring old video tapes. V Tape in Toronto, Canada (5) is also a non-commercial organisation offering video tape restoration.

European examples:

When it comes to other parts of the world it is a bit more difficult to find examples. I have already mentioned that Montevideo in Amsterdam has been concerned about the problems. Argos in Brussels are also concerned about preservation and restoration of the Belgian audio-visual art patrimony. On their web site they write:

“Whereas preservation and restoration are self-evident, and are given priority in the field of the visual arts, these aspects do not seem to touch ground when it comes to the audio-visual arts. With a view to changing this situation, a preservation project was started up by argos in 1998. This initiative wants to validate the fragile Belgian audio-visual art patrimony and safeguard it for the future through cleaning, re-mastering and transferring deteriorating tapes from their original formats to more stable formats such as Betacam SP and Digital Betacam. The preserved tapes are stored in a special humidity-controlled archive room under secure temperature. …. The first phase of the argos preservation project was completed in 2000. The results, mainly related to work from the 70s, were presented in rewind, a program part of the argos information days 2000. The second phase of the argos preservation project got completed in 2002 and consisted of the frame by frame restoration and digitalisation of the video tapes visual artist Lili Dujourie made from 1972 to 1982. Further phases will involve the preservation of video work made in the eighties.”

Klaus G. Carstens from the German commercial company KGC Broadcast Service (6) in Mainz states that they do dubbing of ancient video formats to modern analogue or digital formats and also if necessary video tape restoration work. He also refers to another German company, Wagner GMBH. Die Filmfabrik (7) in Hauenstein, doing that with both video and film. This is just two examples and there might be more professional companies doing similar restsoration jobs..