Home - 2.1 Conservation strategies 2.1.5 Reinterpretation

2.1 Conservation strategies

2.1.5 Reinterpretation

“The most radical preservation strategy is to reinterpret the work each time it is re-created.” [1] The reinterpretation of UNEX Sign No. 2 by Jenny Holzer required deciding which medium would have the same metaphoric value as the 1980s-era electronic UNEX sign in the work. With Holzer having chosen the Unex sign for its popularity as an advertising medium, would a plasma screen used so widely in public areas today be a fitting symbolic replacement of the electronic signboard? “Reinterpretation is a dangerous technique when not warranted by the artist, but it may be the only way to re-create performed, installed, or networked art designed to vary with context.” [2] It is risky, because it inevitably alters the work’s authenticity, and, to a lesser extent, its integrity.



[1] Alain Depocas, Jon Ippolito and Caitlin Jones, “Variable Media Glossary” (2003), https://www.variablemedia.net/pdf/Glossary_ENG.pdf.

[2] Ibid.