Performing documentation in the conservation of contemporary art

About the conference
Contemporary art conservation requires a re-assessment of the distinction between the work and its re-configuration in documentation.
Although documentation is crucial for the survival of many contemporary works of art, it is never neutral: all approaches, formats, media and systems have their own inherent affordances and blind spots and always transform what they document. Furthermore, in process-centered, technology-based or performative artworks in particular, we often can no longer make a sharp distinction between an original work and its subsequent documentation or replication: documentation is part of the work’s very core.
On the other hand, even the most meticulously documented works will need to be re-installed or re-performed regularly in order to survive, because otherwise important tacit know-how will get lost.
The role of the artist in this process is central, but contested: what if s/he changes her mind, loses interest or is no longer available? And what if the authorship of the work is distributed over several actors? Also, the role of the conservator has taken new dimensions: conservation responsibilities and tasks are now distributed over a diversity of agents.
Performing Documentation in the Conservation of Contemporary Art is jointly organized by the research project Documentation of Contemporary Art and the Network for Conservation of Contemporary Art Research (NeCCAR).
Scientific committee
Renée van de Vall (UM), Vivian van Saaze (UM), Gunnar Heydenreich (CiCS), Rita Macedo (FCT-IHA-UNL), Lúcia Almeida Matos (IHA-UNL/FBAUP)
Local organisation committee
Rita Macedo, Lúcia Almeida Matos, Cristina Oliveira, Andreia Nogueira, Hélia Marçal, Teresa Azevedo
Call for conference papers
The next NeCCAR conference, at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, will evaluate and critique existing documentation techniques and approaches in relation to process-centered, technology-based and performative works of art. We encourage proposals that discuss one or more of the following topics in connection with the above mentioned types of artworks:
  1. Oral testimony in documentation of tangible and intangible elements in contemporary art;
  2. The role of social sciences and humanities in documentation of contemporary art;
  3. Documentation in conservation practice;
  4. The changing role of archives in documentation of contemporary art;
  5. Dissemination of documentation practices: the role of museums, interaction with the public and the use of media technologies.
Submission deadline extended: 12 February 2013
Work-in-progress meeting for emerging researchers in contemporary art conservation
19 June 2013, Lisbon, Portugal
The Network for PhD Candidates and Postdoctoral Researchers in Conservation of Contemporary Art and NeCCAR are jointly organising a work-in-progress session, in conjunction with the Performing Documentation in the Conservation of Contemporary Art conference, for emerging researchers and cordially invite you to submit works-in-progress.
The meeting offers a unique opportunity for emerging researchers in the field of contemporary art conservation to discuss each other’s work-in-progress, such as a draft chapter of your thesis or an article, in an informal, confidential and constructive setting.
Selected participants will receive a €500 travel grant from NeCCAR.
Submission deadline – Abstract and motivation letter: 15 February 2013; Full chapters: 31 May 2013