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Wednesday, May 31 • 11:00am - 11:30am
(Electronic Media) Overcoming your control issues—Arduinos as an emulation strategy

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Arduinos are low-cost, open-source and easy-to-use microcontrollers, supported by a large community. As a flexible and programmable platform, they can take input, monitor processes, create output, and connect to a number of external devices and custom electronic circuits using various protocols. Their design is tailored towards a non-technical audience, which makes them accessible tools for both advanced technicians and anyone less familiar with electronics. Originally created for artists and designers, they are found in numerous contemporary art installations. By describing two case studies, this paper explores their application as part of a conservation treatment: Bruce Nauman's Life Death/Knows Doesn't Know, 1983, a neon lights installation whose sequencer stopped working; and Anthony McCall's Slit Scan, 1972, a high-speed slide projection that ran too fast with available slide projectors. While there were rather straightforward technical problems to solve, diving into each case study—together with curators and the artist or their representatives—revealed a more complex set of issues. Using Arduinos allowed for a quick change of settings and their comparison brought new facets of the works to light. With contemporary devices like these various hardware emulations are possible. Arduinos in particular have the potential to replace legacy controllers used in sequenced media artworks that have since become obsolete or difficult to source. By introducing Arduinos to a wider audience other possible applications for conservation may be revealed, leading to further research on this innovative device.

avatar for Martina Haidvogl

Martina Haidvogl

Associate Media Conservator, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Martina Haidvogl is the Associate Media Conservator at SFMOMA, where she has piloted documentation and preservation initiatives for the Media Arts collection since 2011. Martina has lectured and published internationally on media conservation and its implications for museum collections... Read More →

avatar for Sasha Dobbs

Sasha Dobbs

Exhibitions Technical Assistant, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Sasha Dobbs is an Exhibitions Technical Assistant at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where she installs and supports media-based artworks. Her freelance work includes consultation with artists and curators for audio-visual and interactive elements, troubleshooting and repair... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 11:00am - 11:30am
Comiskey Concourse Level, West Tower

Attendees (46)