Media + Tech Storage

Artworks incorporating electronic technology, such as film, sound, digital files, and other media have particular storage and conservation needs. For example, a painting in the right environment can withstand time for hundreds of years; but an artwork involving technology may become “dead” after only five to ten years. The technology industry that produces the medium constantly pushes forward with new products, ceasing production of older models. Sensitive digital media can succumb to perils such as bit rot, demagnetization, and sticky-shed syndrome.

Some major museums and a few large collectors can afford the in-house resources to maintain the equipment, specialized protocols, and storage environments required to preserve media-based artworks. These requirements include digitization, technology obsolescence-checks and mitigation, file redundancies, regular checksumming and media refreshing, detection and replacement of defective elements, and preservation of archaic or unique hardware. These rigorous demands for safeguarding are becoming more widespread as more artists use technology in their art. Without appropriate services accessible to typical collectors and smaller institutions, a wide range of technology based artworks are at a high risk of being lost or rendered impossible to exhibit.

Minnesota Street Project Art Services is the only full service art storage company to make preventative conservation and digital preservation of artworks accessible.

We offer a secure archival storage system for analog and digital media, as well as digital files themselves by following best practices from digital archiving fields such as ISO 16363 and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance. We maintain a system that not only keeps these artworks secure despite the effects of entropy, but is also easily accessible to collectors at any time.

Additionally, we maintain unique protocols to assure that elements such as monitors, players, and disk drives are exercised regularly and backed up with appropriate spare parts and anti-obsolescence plans.

When we receive media-based works from clients, we identify media and components that require special care and recommend appropriate protocols that can include any of the following:

  • Special handling and cold storage of media components
  • Digital archival capture of analog media
  • Secure archival storage of digital files
  • Transcoding and conversion of files to preservation friendly formats
  • Creation and recording of calibration data to facilitate component replacement while maintaining artist intent and aesthetic consistency
  • Scheduling of regular power-up of components that require periodic activation, testing, and refreshing
  • Acquisition of spare components for replacement upon failure
  • Replication of media and playback apparatus (as authorized by artists) to allow exhibition while original equipment and media are archived and preserved

Every aspect of these special services are integrated into our database and storage management tools, making it possible for us to seamlessly manage storage and conservation of works that combine both media-based and traditional elements and objects.

Our media-art storage and conservation protocols and services are only available to our storage clients.