Documenting for Present Use: The Interplay of Documentation and Human Expertise in the Exhibition of Interactive Digital Installations

Carlijn Juste (Lille)
This article is interested in the documentation necessary for exhibiting interactive, digital installations, how it is created and how it influences the way an artwork is deployed in an exhibition. Digital artworks can be extremely difficult to install. They require specific knowledge, variable materials and technological equipment. Moreover, digital artworks can be ephemeral and subject to change. Documenting digital art is not only important for preserving and restoring works for the future but also for installing digital artworks in the present. Documentation functions as a set of guidelines for limiting errors and misinterpretations. Therefore, documentation impacts the actualisation of each artwork by indicating which elements are needed and how they should be connected. By providing instructions regarding how to install an artwork, documentation also allows the artist or the collecting institution to exercise authority over an artwork.

A Plant’s View: Documenting Presence in Olafur Eliasson’s “Your uncertain archive”

Olivia Eriksson (Stockholm)
This article examines how presence and participation in contemporary installation art is reconfigured in online documentation. Considering documentation as an essential component of the art experience, it discusses its ramifications from an artistic as well as an institutional perspective. Using internationally renowned installation artist Olafur Eliasson as example, the article focuses on the documentation of his large-scale installation works in the ongoing art project “Your Uncertain Archive” (https://olafureliasson.net/uncertain). This online archive gathers Eliasson’s artistic output in one (virtual) place, using various techniques to capture and expand on the original on-site art experience. Special attention is devoted to the video documentation of the recent exhibition Life (Fondation Beyeler, 2021), which uses subjective shots, masking and optical filters in order to make the claims of the exhibition more accessible to online audiences.