Defining an Ethical Framework for Preserving Cory Arcangel’s Super Mario Clouds

Magnin, Emilie (2016). Defining an Ethical Framework for Preserving Cory Arcangel’s Super Mario Clouds The Electronic Media Review, 4(2015) American Institute for Conservation

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The conservation issues raised by complex time-based media installations are many and related not only to the inherent obsolescence of equipment and technologies, but also to the conceptual and aesthetic implications of change, including change resulting from conservation intervention. Therefore, defining an ethical framework in which conservators can operate becomes imperative for sustaining the collection life of such artworks. This paper, which is based on a Master thesis presented at the University of the Arts in Bern (Switzerland), uses Cory Arcangel’s video game-based installation Super Mario Clouds (2003) as a case study to explore the systematic development of a conservation strategy against the background of current ethical considerations in the emerging field of time-based media conservation. The research discusses several conservation approaches such as replacing equipment, digitization and emulation, and investigates how they can be applied to Super Mario Clouds over the short to long-term. These approaches are evaluated and compared with established conservation ethics on the one hand, and the artist-proposed strategies on the other. Additionally, it exposes the results of a number of practical tests that have been conducted to assess the feasibility of the different strategies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Materiality in Art and Culture > Material analyses


Magnin, Emilie0000-0001-7160-1725


American Institute for Conservation




Emilie Magnin

Date Deposited:

12 Aug 2022 13:31

Last Modified:

13 Sep 2023 10:50

Related URLs:

Additional Information:

Paper presented at the Electronic Media Group Session, AIC 43rd Annual Meeting, May 13–16, 2015, Miami, Florida


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