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IFA, NYU: Topics in Time-based Media Art Conservation

April 21, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

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Conservation has long been recognized as a social activity, aimed at preserving objects and artworks as manifestations of values, affects, and stories. But how can conservators reconcile the values of past, present, and future generations, of local communities and global organisations, of the art institution and the public sphere? This presentation will look at conservation through the lens of performativity to address issues of representation, the politics of participation, and the social landscape in conservation. By exploring the challenges posed to conservation by performance and other forms of socially-engaged art, this lecture will reflect on how these types of artworks reframe conservation aims in the public sphere. Issues of representation and misrecognition in decision-making processes will be analysed through feminist epistemology – namely through Nancy Fraser’s work. The presentation will then address the ways in which rethinking conservation through performance allows us to acknowledge the realms of difference and inclusion in our profession. Finally, the lecture will question and reflect on some of the ways in which we can bring new perspectives of compassionate care for artworks, objects, and people to the center of conservation practice.
Dr. Hélia Marçal is a lecturer, researcher, and conservator based in London. She was appointed Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Art, Materials, and Technology at University College London’s Department of History of Art in 2020. Prior to this appointment, she worked as a Fellow in Contemporary Art Conservation and Research of the Andrew W. Mellon funded research project “Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum at Tate and a Science Manager at the Institute of Contemporary History (Universidade Nova de Lisboa). She has been the Coordinator of the Working Group on Theory, History, and Ethics of Conservation of the International Council of Museums’ Committee for Conservation since 2016.
This lecture series is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.