We, in Taxonomedia, regard documentation as a privileged tool to explain an important artistic production which hardly could be conserved through other kinds of strategies. On the one hand, because of the essentially economic questions we have previously mentioned. The conservation projects that suggest solutions such as emulators and migrations are beyond the scope of most museums and media spaces, and probably their efforts in that direction are not sustainable in the medium or long run. On the other hand, there are expressions within art based on technologies that don’t “allow for their conservation”, and if presented with this situation, the artist’s intention must be respected. Finally, also, through their documentation and subsequent availability, the work might be able to survive as a concept and be recreated in other works. Projects like Variable Media delve into the conservation of the integrity of the work regardless of its medium, clearly considering media art within the field of conceptual art, emphasizing a perspective which many would find inadmissible, but is interesting to us.
To be able to access this material as it was in this day represents a huge time investment, a specific budget, provided also that the artist wants to work on that again. In some cases this might mean counting on programmers and developers to generate platforms that allow the piece to work seamlessly in current environments. We have translated a paradigmatic case undertaken for the exhibition Seeing Double (Guggenheim Museum) about the work The Erl King by Roberta Friedman and Grahame Weinbren. Examples like these are feasible if there’s an institution like a museum, a specialized archive or a project that might take charge. It is also possible, if the artist was willing to undertake it herself, as could be in the example you mentioned. She might add some ideas to the piece she didn’t include in the past and the technology she might have to use might also alter the particularities of the work. So we can imagine The Intruder might be different if manipulated, although we leave this aspect at the hands of the artist.
Reinterpretation and documentation are ways of contact with many of the previous works, but unfortunately the experience is hardly repeatable.