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A review of a case study on installation art

A prototype, html interface is available herewhich provides access for performance researchers to the metadata collated so far.

  • Likewise, there is a lack of significant metadata around the production of the video, the methodology employed, its provenance, relationship to the artist and performance work represented;
  • Finally, a set of usage guidelines was drawn up to allow PADS to be used by third parties;
  • Finally, a set of usage guidelines was drawn up to allow PADS to be used by third parties;
  • PADS also engages closely with the end-user of the score:

The artist Richard Layzell has also worked closely with the team, being involved in authoring the metadata, collated here as a new set of documents, a network of traces or hypertext. The aim is to enhance the usefulness of an existing performance document for future users of the National Review of Live Art Video Archive.

  • Gestural elements are portions of a performance which are usefully studied in isolation;
  • The MANS system is also granular; scores may be very brief or extremely complex depending on available resources and user requirements;
  • Another aspect of the Variable Media work, which was to have a great influence on the PADS project, was the classification system;
  • Each technique has its own inherent limitations for instance, video is essentially a 2D technique attempting to describe 3D space.

Rather than producing a themed overview of various materials held in the archive they have focused in-depth on a single video recording, Richard Layzell's I Never Done Enough Weird Stuff, which was originally shown at NRLA in 1996.

This show was itself an archival performance, in which Layzell screened previous video works and documentation of performance interventions, in a new composition, re-performing and transforming gestures from past works alongside their video recordings — it was a performance-as-archive, a live remediation. There is a tendency amongst performance researchers to rely on video as a record, despite recognising the distinction between the live work and its document. Video has become the dominant and accepted mode of documenting live events and its ubiquity across art centres, festivals and practitioners themselves produces the assumption that audio-visual recordings alone function as effective stands-ins for past events.

A good proportion of the performance and devised theatre works shown at NRLA do not have paper-based scripts or detailed diagrams scored in advance, and therefore their legacy is reliant on the documents and accounts produced during and after the event.

Likewise, there is a lack of significant metadata around the production of the video, the methodology employed, its provenance, relationship to the artist and performance work represented. This makes the work a good candidate for enhancement. This adaptable and expandable metadata system, based on XML format, was initially developed to conserve generative and interactive digital works, by the Guggenheim and Richard Rhinehart at Berkeley Art Museum.

Certain time-based and ephemeral media works present conservators and gallery curators with similar complexities to those encountered by performance archivists.

This is a machine-readable means of providing licencse information and sharing rights and permissions for digital content. The intention is to produce an accessible web-based database from the XML-based document, which brings together a range of media and approaches in an attempt to better represent I Never Done Enough Weird Stuff. A prototype HTML version is currently available on this website. The XML document incorporates or links a number of elements: An interview with the artist also addresses: It is recognised that the taking apart or analysis of a performance event, breaking it down into its constituent elements, is potentially problematic, as a performance unfolds over time and its affects build-up cumulatively.

The different elements and stage systems collaborate, encountering one another in the event and coming together differently for each collaborating spectator. At the same time, they have tried to score the trajectories of elements over time and the relationships between them in the composition, zooming-in, close-up on details, from which to unfold, expand and make connections. Layzell has gifted the U-matic video works projected in I Never Done Enough Weird Stuff to the archive, such that these elements are viewable here.

The objects and clothing used in the performance, which the artist still held, have also been photographed or accessioned into the collection. The PADS score also points the user towards these physical remains, linking to material objects held and accessible in the Theatre Collection. Forging the Futurea consortium of US museums and cultural heritage organisations, is currently developing tools for cataloguing, managing and searching MANS Media Art Notation System documents, inputting and accessing data on variable media artworks.

This standardisation is intended to allow PADS scores to be exchanged between collections. Some interesting problems occur when using a single videotape to represent a performance artwork. For instance, metadata about how the video is related to the work can be ambiguous: Is the recording unknown to the artist? Or was the video requested by funders and actively loathed by the artist?

Archival videos can be of very poor quality, often made with no budget but a lot of good will. There is a risk of the unfamiliar researcher associating a perceived lack of video quality with a lack of quality in the performance work itself.

  1. A good proportion of the performance and devised theatre works shown at NRLA do not have paper-based scripts or detailed diagrams scored in advance, and therefore their legacy is reliant on the documents and accounts produced during and after the event. A prototype HTML version is currently available on this website.
  2. A good proportion of the performance and devised theatre works shown at NRLA do not have paper-based scripts or detailed diagrams scored in advance, and therefore their legacy is reliant on the documents and accounts produced during and after the event.
  3. Some interesting problems occur when using a single videotape to represent a performance artwork. Archival videos can be of very poor quality, often made with no budget but a lot of good will.
  4. Some interesting problems occur when using a single videotape to represent a performance artwork. Or was the video requested by funders and actively loathed by the artist?
  5. If an individual is actually named, the individual is instead a creator or collaborator.

Other problems are associated with using any single method of documentation to record an event. Each technique has its own inherent limitations for instance, video is essentially a 2D technique attempting to describe 3D space.

The PADS project began by finding out what had already been done to conserve ephemeral contemporary art forms in the widest sense. These, usually time-limited projects often focused on installation or media work, in such projects performance art is typically seen as a subcategory. INCCA International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art acts as a repository for such artist interview material and an international platform for joint research.

This project focused on the preservation of ephemeral art in a general sense, but made special mention of the special challenges of preserving a record of performance art. The Variable Media project placed artists in central roles of deciding how their work should be preserved.

  • The MPEG-21 metadata framework, on which MANS is based is already widely supported by media industries and so promises a high degree of future interoperability;
  • If an individual is actually named, the individual is instead a creator or collaborator.

Archivists and conservators then facilitated this process. Another aspect of the Variable Media work, which was to have a great influence on the PADS project, was the classification system. Mulready suggested extensive case studies but unfortunately these were not carried out. The MANS system is also granular; scores may be very brief or extremely complex depending on available resources and user requirements. The MPEG-21 metadata framework, on which MANS is based is already widely supported by media industries and so promises a high degree of future interoperability.

Development When the review of existing research was complete some very specific project aims were defined for PADS: Constructing this score then began with a series of interviews with the artist.

  1. INCCA International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art acts as a repository for such artist interview material and an international platform for joint research. Another aspect of the Variable Media work, which was to have a great influence on the PADS project, was the classification system.
  2. This project focused on the preservation of ephemeral art in a general sense, but made special mention of the special challenges of preserving a record of performance art.
  3. The MANS system is also granular; scores may be very brief or extremely complex depending on available resources and user requirements.
  4. The PADS score also points the user towards these physical remains, linking to material objects held and accessible in the Theatre Collection.

These type categories will vary between different works, so this list below is offered as an illustration only: If an individual is actually named, the individual is instead a creator or collaborator. Gestural elements are portions of a performance which are usefully studied in isolation. This might be sections of dialogue or performed actions. A manageable number of Gestural elements were defined via interview.

Case study

Finally, a set of usage guidelines was drawn up to allow PADS to be used by third parties. A key benefit which has emerged while developing PADS has been the opportunity to engage closely with the artist when building a score.

PADS also engages closely with the end-user of the score: PADS is essentially a network or web of discreet blocks of data, which can potentially be linked in many ways and so encourages an active - rather than a passive - researcher.

It is particularly hoped that PADS will be used to document a performance which is later to be re-enacted, thus testing the limits of recordable detail. A graphical user interface which will allow for easy browsing of all PADS scores is currently in development.