The new founded 'imai - inter media art institute' organised on two days, November 30-1 December 2006, a symposium in the NRW Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Düsseldorf, Germany. About 80 participants from various disciplines discussed the aspects of conserving, communicating and developing media art.

For more information http://www.imaionline.org

A short report by Ulrich Lang

The symposium was stuctured by 6 different panels.

Panel 1 and 2 were captioned with research. Prof. Dr. Yvonne Spielmann from Braunschweig spoke about the aesthetics of video in relation of art and mass media. Dr. Spielmann presented her theses very verbose and the samples at the end did not really show what they were supposed to be. Prof. Dr. Slavko Kacunko from Osnabrück explained very humorous and intelligent his M.A.D. – media art database. It somehow became a review of media art in general because he was one of the first to gather scientific knowledge about video art. Dr. Katja Kwastek from Linz followed the question how to present media art in research and teaching and Dr. Holger Simon from Cologne presented and explained "Prometheus", a fascinating heterogeneous picture archive.

Panel 3 and 4 were captioned with conservation and preservation. The video artist and Professor Rotraut Pape from Offenbach and Berlin gave an wonderful overview on the history of video art and allowed a humorous but serious insight in her experience with the problems and complexity of conservation of video art. Ulrich Lang from Frankfurt showed the actual state of affairs in video preservation and discussed ethical aspects of the conservation or transformation to new formats as a conservator. Andreas Weisser works in Freiburg as a conservator for video and clearly demonstrated numerous problems with magnetic tapes and how to conserve or restore them.

Woody Wasulka philosophised as an artist about preservation, reconstruction and idealisation of pictures and films we have in mind. Dr. Stephan Urbaschek from Goetz Collection in Munich explained the need and possibility to specify in a questionnaire and contract with the artist their status and restrictions for the work of art. Dr. Stefan Horsthemke from AXA insurance showed the possibilities of appreciation and limits of the value.

Panel 5 and 6 were captioned with distribution and artist representation. The Artist and Professor Ulrike Rosenbach went back to the early times of media art as a subculture and their attempt to reach a wider public. The Gallerist Olaf Stüber from Berlin showed the problems when selling video and digital media but gave same very good samples how to work with young artists and help them realise their ideas.

John Thompson from Electronic Art Intermix in New York asked the question were we are between endless reproducibility and limited editions and ventured an international outlook for distribution. Whereas Piotr Krajewski from Wroclaw in Poland showed the boarders of distribution in an communistic system and how the artists worked around it. A summary as well as a specification of copyright and laws were given by the lawyer Prof. Dr. Rainer Jacobs.

Urlich Lang
Chief conservator at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, MMK Frankfurt/Main
Co-founder and head of the expert group el_media within the association of Conservators (VDR)