“Archiving Experience: The Third Generation Variable Media Questionnaire” presented by Bell


Session Title:

  • Still Accessible? Rethinking the Preservation of Media Art

Presentation Title:

  • Archiving Experience: The Third Generation Variable Media Questionnaire




  • The Third Edition Variable Media Questionnaire (VMQ3) is an information system based on a seemingly paradoxical goal: it seeks to preserve artworks by describing how they can be changed. Implicit in this goal is the acknowledgement that the physical components of any artwork, regardless of medium, will eventually degrade and lose their power; the only variable is time. Unlike a traditional museum collection management system that takes a physical artifact to be the point of greatest fixity in an artwork and thus focuses on preserving the artifact, the VMQ3 suggests that there are other aspects of an artwork that may be at least as important to preserve as the artifact itself. If the traditional system is premised on a fixed physical artifact, the VMQ3 is premised on a fixed experience of an artwork.

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