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Saturday, June 1 • 10:30am - 11:00am
(Electronic Media) A Hands-Off Approach to Controlling Media-Based Artworks

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Brad Dilger, Multimedia Specialist, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Richard McCoy, Conservator of objects and Variable Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art

With the continued and increasing use of electronic media components in contemporary art projects, a need has arisen to efficiently and accurately control the active cycle of these components while on display. The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) has created a novel approach to effectively manage its contemporary art projects that have electronic media components using a “hands-off” approach.

There are several methods controlling electronic media components in galleries, such as simple timers, manufacturer-based, internal controls, the occasionally unreliable human controller, and computerized control systems. For the past 7 years the IMA has tested, installed, and maintained an innovative and effective approach to controlling its electronic media components in the gallery with a completely computerized control system. The IMA’s solution, which was created through an inter-departmental working group from the Installation Department, Conservation Department, and Information Technology (IT) Department, does not require daily human interaction to maintain a gallery schedule. This relatively low-cost solution allows electronic media components to be controlled both autonomously and via web-based graphical user interface (GUI). This GUI can easily function from smart phones.

Autonomous control of electronic art is based on a system of linking together different software and hardware components from various manufacturers. This technology has had widespread use in commercial, educational, and residential applications to control all aspects of a building functions: Lighting, HVAC, security, entertainment, irrigation, are just a few systems that can be covered by computerized control systems. It is believed that the IMA is the first museum to apply this system to electronic media components in contemporary art projects and has been using the solution for nearly a decade with great success.

This approach achieves an important goal of relieving staff from having to physically manipulate electronic media components in the gallery on a day-to-day basis, and has dramatically increased the efficiency and proper functionality of contemporary art projects by reducing their gallery “downtime” caused by errors.

This paper will discuss three case studies based on IMA art installations. These case studies will demonstrate the success and limitations of the system, and provide clear guidance for other institutions for installing this system.

avatar for Richard McCoy

Richard McCoy

Executive Director, Landmark Columbus Foundation

Saturday June 1, 2013 10:30am - 11:00am EDT
JW Marriott Meeting Room 201-203 19 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

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