Caring for live art that eludes digital preservation

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Abstract

This poster outlines my research on strategies of re-enactment to keep alive artworks that rely on performance. While digital documentation for some of these works circulates, the live nature of the works means they evade meaningful digitisation. In an artist/archivist collaboration, Teaching and Learning Cinema, myself and colleague Dr Lucas Ihlein have evolved three principal ways to bring these works from the original artists through to future generations – direct engagement with the original artist, extensive documentation of the re-enactment process and the formulation of new 'expressive' instructions. This approach resonates with a newly ignited discussion in Australia about how the conservation profession can effectively reach beyond institutions to communities. This work suggests that empowering communities to find their own solutions to intergenerational transmission means the process of preservation becomes part of the cultural product, a preservation of doing.

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