Reflections on the Impossibility of Material Continuation

Hölling, Hanna Barbara (2017). Reflections on the Impossibility of Material Continuation The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, 17(1), pp. 163-166. University of Minnesota Press 10.5749/movingimage.17.1.0163

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Have you ever considered, or been challenged by, the recent artistic media based on film, video and computer code, the so-called non-traditional media? Certainly—you might say—these media are, in a sense, nothing really new, since they are already a part of our increasingly mediatized culture. Indubitably, digital media cast their shadow on every aspect of modern life; they both form our culture and are being formed by it. Changeable by nature, digital media question established views considering what an artwork is, or might be, and what is being exhibited and preserved, as well as what enters the realm of cultural memory, and in which configuration. Being in the process of continuous reformulation and in and re-scription, these artworks move between formats and platforms, seemingly unconcerned with the gravity of their physical carriage—media as vehicles, as it were, of the concept, a floating synthesis of an artist’s mind and of all those engaged in the work’s genesis. But beware: the future of ever-expanding digital memory comes upon us, an immortalization gesture of sorts, directed against forgetting and oblivion. The digital cloud, multi-nodal, networked system of intra and internet, web-based mobile platforms, increasingly participatory applications, peer-to-peer formats that lack any representational content, have already commenced generating a multiplicity of mutable versions, variations, and clones. They lack reference to any of the familiar object-based (or objectified) strategies that for decades formed theories of traditional conservation. Imagine, then, the unfulfilled dreams of these stewards of heritage that attend to materialist ideologies by wishing to conserve artworks as physical objects.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Materiality in Art and Culture
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Materiality in Art and Culture > Contemporary Art and Media


Hölling, Hanna Barbara0000-0002-3063-4405


A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general




University of Minnesota Press




Hanna Barbara Hölling

Date Deposited:

08 Sep 2023 10:55

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2023 10:55

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Moving image, film, preservation, Ela Wysocka




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