Home ANNUAL SUMMITS 2010 Summit Custom Machines and Conservation Studies

Custom Machines and Conservation Studies

Mona Jimenez © DOCAM 2010

Day 1, Session 1

Mona Jimenez (Moving Image Archiving and Preservation, New York University)


When developing strategies for the preservation of media art works, students must understand and incorporate artists’ working methods, including the technologies employed. Learning about custom-made devices designed by artists and engineers, such as video synthesizers used to make 1970s video art, can expand students’ understanding of theory, practice and context. In addition, the study of technological devices allows students to draw parallels between the care and preservation of machines used for creation and those necessary for exhibition. Teaching students how to keep machines “alive” necessitates interdisciplinary research, within and outside of the field of conservation.



Mona Jimenez is an Associate Arts Professor/Associate Director in New York University’s graduate program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation. As a Researcher-in-Residence at the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, she created a cataloging template for custom and commercial machines used to make media art. She is currently working with Kathy High (RPI) and Sherry Miller Hocking (Experimental Television Center) on a book project on 1970s custom-built electronic art tools, and dialogues between “pioneers” of tool development and current practitioners. For the past two years, she has led teams of moving image archivists to Ghana to work with caretakers of audiovisual collections.



Mona Jimenez, The Artist Instrumentation Database Project