The book Die Gegenwart des Ephemeren: Medienkunst im Spannungsfeld zwischen Konservierung und Interpretation documents the lectures presented at the eponymous conference of the IMAI Foundation in November 2012. They are supplemented by IMAI’s latest case study on the restoration of Zweileinwandkino (1968) by Lutz Mommartz.
The book presents several examples of cases and associated concepts such as reconstruction, reproduction, and remake in today exhibition and conversation practice are discussed. What paths do museums and exhibition venues take to show ephemeral works of art? Have categories such as original and copy become obsolete today? To what extent can an interpretation be oriented around the history of a work’s exhibition? Can the performative or conceptual character of works be so distinct that new presentations represent distinctive yet authentic solutions? When conserving sound- and motion-based works of art and presenting them in museums, curators and restorers often have to weigh historical materiality versus the artist’s intention for the work. The concern is to define and preserve the authenticity of the work, which can exist in different manifestations or presentations.