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Table of Contents
1. Archiving the Avant Garde: Documenting and Preserving Variable Media Art................................................ 1 2. Bibliography...................................................................................................................................................... 12

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Documento 1 de 1

Archiving the Avant Garde: Documenting and Preserving Variable Media Art
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Autor: Rinehart, Richard.


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Informaes da publicao:: Performing Arts Resources 24 (2004): 74-88.


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Link para o documento do ProQuest


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Resumo: The creation of the "Archiving the Avant Garde: Documenting and Perserving Valuable Media Art" project, intended to provide current and future generations the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by art works and ensure the perpetuation and accuracy of art historical records, is discussed. The project's standards and specific goals and objectives are noted, and the organizations and individuals involved in its operations are identified.
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Texto completo: RICHARD RINEHART Works of variable media art, such as performance, installation, conceptual, and digital art, represent some of the most compelling and significant artistic creation of our time. These works are key to understanding contemporary art practice and scholarship, but because of their ephemeral, technical, multimedia, or otherwise variable natures, they also present significant obstacles to accurate documentation, access, and preservation. The works were in many cases created to challenge traditional methods of art description and preservation, but now, lacking such description, they often comprise the more obscure aspects of institutional collections, virtually inaccessible to present day researchers. Without strategies for cataloging and preservation, many of these vital works will eventually be lost to art history. Description of and access to art collections promote new scholarship and artistic production. Bydeveloping ways to catalog and preserve these collections, we will both provide current and future generations the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by the works and ensure the perpetuation and accuracy of art historical records. It is to achieve these goals that we are initiating the consortium project, Archiving the Avant Garde: Documenting and Preserving Variable Media Art. Arts organizations and museums have been sponsoring and exhibiting variable media art such as video and installation for decades. More recently, they have incorporated even newer art forms, such as ''born-digital'' multimedia art and Internet art, into their exhibitions and permanent collections at an increasing rate. Examples include

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Ouija2000 by Ken Goldberg, one of the first works of Internet art included in the prestigious Whitney Biennial and currently in the permanent collection of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Ouija2000 includes a robotic ''fortune teller'' arm which can be controlled by visitors from across the Internet, moving the real planchette across a Ouija board in a lab. The robot is always the same, but the Internet portion varies as it is presented on computer screens around the world. Another example of work that is not digital, but still presents a challenge to collections, is Stick Spiral by Meg Webster, presented at the Guggenheim. Stick Spiral is a gallery installation in which the artist requires that new sticks be gathered (but not cut) locally for each installation, making it intentionally variable. 13 April 2012 Page 1 of 12 ProQuest

Nearly all the partners in the proposed project, along with many other museums of modern and contemporary art, have accessioned significant works of digital art into their permanent collections, and subsequently begun to address the issues of documenting and preserving the works. Where strategies have been developed, however, they have tended to be ad hoc solutions for single works or institutions, and no one would claim to have a firm handle on these problems. Currently, no national or international level multi-museum projects are attempting to address these issues in a way that is well documented and scaleable to application in other institutions. In short, few museums have any answers to these problems, and the arts and museum community as a whole has almost none--there is no ''best practice'' in this field. We propose a collaborative project that will begin to establish such professional best practice. The collaboration, consisting of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Rhizome.org, Franklin Furnace Archive, and Cleveland Performance Art Festival and Archive, will have national impact due to the urgent and universal nature of the problem for contemporary art institutions, the practicality and adaptability of the model developed by this group, and the significant expertise that this nationwide consortium will bring to bear in the area of documenting and preserving variable media art.

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The project's collaborative development, methods of dissemination, and compliance with standards such as the Open Archival Information Systems model and metadata standards (see chart below) will yield a strategy that is applicable across communities. Project partners have been carefully selected to include relevant expertise and range from small arts organizations to medium and large international museums. We believe that a model informed by and tested in such diverse settings, with broad public and professional input (described below), will be highly adaptable. Partners also represent a geographic and national spread, from East Coast to Midwest to West Coast. This coverage ensures that a wide segment of the professional community and public will have opportunities to participate in public forums, hosted at partner institutions during the course of the project, intended to gather an even broader cross-section of ideas and feedback than is represented by the partners. The final project report will outline a comprehensive strategy and model for documenting and preserving variable media works, based on case studies to illustrate practical examples, but always emphasizing the generalized strategy behind the rule. This report will be informed by specific and practical institutional practice, but we believe that the ultimate model developed by the project should be based on international standards independent of any one organization's practice, thus making it adaptable to many organizations. Dissemination of the report, discussed in detail below, will be ongoing and widespread. Archiving the Avant Garde is a collaborative project to develop, document, and disseminate strategies for describing and preserving nontraditional, intermedia, and variable media art forms, such as performance, installation, conceptual, and digital art. This joint project builds on existing relationships and the previous work of its founding partners. One example of such work is the Conceptual and Intermedia Arts Online (CIAO) Consortium, a collaboration founded by BAM/PFA, Walker Art Center, and Franklin Furnace, that includes twelve other international museums and arts organizations. CIAO develops standardized methods of documenting and providing access to conceptual and other ephemeral intermedia art forms. Another example of related work conducted by the project's partners is the Variable

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Media Initiative, organized by the Guggenheim Museum, which encourages artists to define their work independently from medium, so that the work can be translated once its current medium is obsolete. Archiving the Avant Garde will take the ideas developed in previous efforts and develop them into community-wide working strategies by testing them on specific works of art in the practical working environments of museums and arts organizations. Project Goals * Develop a comprehensive strategy for documenting and preserving variable and new media artworks. * Develop rules and schema for cataloging variable media art, in compliance with museum community standards and practice. * Develop rules and schema for capturing necessary preservation metadata at the time a variable media work is accessioned into a collection. * Test computer emulation as one component of an overall preservation strategy for digital art works. * Inform the above processes with the best possible museological, technical, and artistic expertise, as well as broad professional and public input. * Document and disseminate the results of the above to the cultural heritage community, and train professionals to implement the resulting strategy. Previous Work by Project Partners * Jeff Rothenberg and the Council on Library and Information Research publish a paper, ''Avoiding Technological Quicksand: Finding a Viable Technical Foundation for Digital Preservation'' (1999), presenting emulation as a viable strategy. (http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/rothenberg/contents.html) * Guggenheim Museum initiates the Variable Media Initiative,

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inviting media artists, curators, and museum specialists to a series of meetings to brainstorm strategies for preserving specific case study works in the Guggenheim collection. (http://www.guggenheim.org/variablemedia) * Richard Rinehart (BAM/PFA) publishes a paper, ''The Straw that Broke the Museum's Back: Documenting and Preserving Digital Art for the Next Century'' (2000) in SWITCH, an online journal of new media art. (http://switch.sjsu.edu/web/v6n1/articlea.htm) * Guggenheim Museum hosts a two-day public symposium, Preserving the Immaterial: A Conference on Variable Media (Spring 2001), at which artists, conservators, curators, computer scientists, and museum media professionals gather to hear presentations on preserving variable media.

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* Rhizome.org begins project to develop and publish a white paper outlining strategy for preserving the Rhizome ArtBase, a collection of digital and other variable media works (Fall 2001). (http://www.rhizome.org/artbase) * Jon Ippolito (Guggenheim) presents on variable media at the annual conference of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (2001). Richard Rinehart (BAM/PFA) presents at AIC on preserving digital art in 2002. Objectives this Project Proposes to Accomplish * Select one or two variable media art works from each partner collection to use as case studies for the project. Test the models for cataloging, accession, and--in the case of digital art--emulation on these works. Organize working conferences with the artist of the case studies and media experts to test the applicability and effectiveness of our model for that artwork. * Formalize and document a Variable Media Questionnaire, a proposed set of elements which can be completed by the artist and collector at the time of acquisition of a work. This

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set of descriptive elements outline the parameters for recreating the work in a new medium once the original medium is obsolete, including whether such an option is allowed or prohibited by the artist. This set of elements can then reside within a collection management system and inform future exhibition of the work. * Establish a set of descriptive elements which include a core description (catalog record, wall label) that can be used to manage variable media works of art (see metadata chart below). This set of descriptive elements will be mapped to existing standards for documentation of art, such as the Getty Research Institute's Categories for Description of Works of Art. This enables the creation of cross-compatible records, which can reside in computer systems documenting entire collections, such as museum collection management systems or online public access projects. It is understood that this element set may extend traditional museum cataloging standards by necessarily emphasizing the behavior of works, instead of focusing on aspects of their physicality. * Develop an initial set of standardized vocabulary terms that would be used to populate catalog records and the variable media questionnaire consistently. The CIAO group, of which this project includes several members, has an existing agreement with the developers of the Getty's Art and Architecture Thesaurus to contribute new terms for new media works of art and submit them to the AAT, so that other museums may use them. * Organize three professional conferences, open to the public, that build on the momentum created by the Preserving the Immaterial symposium at the Guggenheim in 2001. This project will engage a very broad community of artists, museum professionals, and computer scientists to collaboratively develop shared strategies. These geographically distributed conferences--one in Cleveland, one in Berkeley, and one in New York--will be hosted by local partner organizations. These ongoing

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professional and public discussions will also be reflected in an e-mail list and project web forum. * Host three working project meetings: one in Cleveland, one in Berkeley, and one in New York. These will coincide with the public conferences, both hosted by the local partner institution to save costs, and will include the steering committee, other professionals, such as curators and conservators from the local institution, artists, and computer scientists from the region. * Publish a professional document, A Guide to Good Practices in Documenting and Preserving Works of Variable Media Art, for artists, collectors, and museums. This guide will be distributed online, as well as in print, and may be used for training or implementation. This document will be offered as a ''plug-in'' resource and will update other community-wide guides, such as the Guide to Good Practice in Digitizing Cultural Heritage by the National Initiative for Networked Cultural Heritage. * Train and encourage a new generation of curatorial and conservation experts in this model preservation approach. The Guggenheim Museum, supported by the Daniel Longlois Foundation, has already established variable media fellowships in their museum conservation and technical departments. Partners involved in Archiving the Avant Garde can also host training workshops at the professional conferences based on the Guide to Good Practice. * Bring the computer science and digital art communities together with the goal of developing an experimental computer emulator and testing it on case study digital artworks to measure the potential for emulation in helping to preserve digital works of art. The emulation strategy proposes to answer the question of how to run current software and documents authored in the original software (such as works of digital art) on distant future computer platforms. Emulation proposes to create emulators, software applications written for future computer platforms, which instruct

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a future computer to behave as if it were an older model, thus allowing the future computer to run old software and old files. The emulated works will then be presented to the original artists and the public to measure the results. This emulation research will lead directly into and inform larger emulation-oriented projects being developed by Rothenberg and others in the digital library community. Test bed emulation will take two forms in this project: a One to two graduate students selected from Computer Science and Information Management programs at UC Berkeley will develop an initial prototype hardware emulator (currently unavailable off-the-shelf) as part of an independent study course with UCB faculty member and BAM/PFA director of digital media Richard Rinehart. These students will work directly with Richard and Jeff Rothenberg to write emulators and test them 13 April 2012 Page 5 of 12 ProQuest

on case study works from the partners' collections. This work will allow us to determine on a smaller scale whether it is feasible and effective to develop hardware-level emulators; test them by running digital art created for one hardware platform on another hardware platform; and then measure the results based on technical findings and response from target audiences. b Simultaneously, the programming team will conduct another test using commercial, off-the-shelf operating system emulators (as opposed to hardware emulators above), such as SoftPC. This work will give us an early glimpse of how a digital artwork created for one OS can be run on a different OS using emulation, and allow us to compare the two approaches for short and long-term implementation. * Develop a preservation model for digital art which is based on Open Archival Information Systems (OAIS), a conceptual framework for digital archives referred to by many large-scale digital library projects. The model would incorporate

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higher-level concepts from OAIS, and place them in the context of an archive of digital art (for instance, defining what constitutes a ''submission information package'' or ''archival information package'' for art). This work would anticipate future work toward more complete compliance with all the technical specifications of the OAIS model. * Offer each project partner a practical software tool for immediately capturing the information necessary to manage and preserve variable media works (namely, the Variable Media Questionnaire and catalog record using standardized vocabulary), and managing the digital files which comprise digital works. This tool would fill a current gap of software for this purpose, and allow the project to gather information immediately for this initiative. The tool will be distributed in an open-source manner to allow further development and improvement, and encourage vendors to include such functionality in future versions of collection management systems routinely used by museums. BAM/PFA has already developed a Digital Asset Management Database, which it will provide freely to all partners to use permanently or until local solutions are developed. (See http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/moac/imaging/index.html for a description of this tool). * Document digital media storage recommendations and migration strategies for keeping the digital files which make up a work of digital art and its documentation. Research in this area is already being conducted in the digital library community (Open Archival Information Systems, for instance), and it is believed that the current project should incorporate this research, as well as the experience of any partner museum which already has a media storage and migration strategy in hand. Standards Used in this Project This project proposes to develop new standards in an area which currently has none. Practices and metadata standards directly support

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preservation of variable media art, but it is equally important that the metadata is consistent with other metadata standards in the arts and cultural heritage communities. Compatibility with other standards supports the long-term maintenance of this standard, and makes it possible to use information about variable media art in daily institutional practice, alongside information about other types of art. Standards compatibility also enables the integration of information about digital art collections with information about other types of collections from different institutions. By using community-wide standards for description, records of works of digital art from the current project can be integrated with records of works in other variable media (installation, performance) and traditional media (painting, sculpture) in large union databases of works owned by several collaborating institutions, such as the Museums and the Online Archive of California (MOAC)Consortium and the Art Museum Image Consortium. Below is a possible metadata scheme that could be used to create catalog records for variable media art works, and a ''crosswalk'' from that proposed scheme to existing cultural heritage standards. The first column includes a set of elements based on a subset of the Dublin Core (an international digital library standard for describing digital documents of any type). The second column (with sample content in italics) represents a minimal/core descriptive record for variable media art. The third column represents a minimal/core technical record for variable media art. The following three columns represent equivalent elements from three other metadata standards: Encoded Archival Description standard for describing collections used by archives worldwide; Categories for Description of Works of Art, the Getty standard for museum art cataloging; and lastly, MARC, the bibliographic record format standard used in libraries from the Library of Congress to localpublic libraries. This record schema below is intended for only a minimal catalog record for a work. We understand that to record the highly complex artistic and technical structure of variable media works, we will also need to develop a detailed record format, for which we will explore the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) currently being developed by Library of Congress.

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Community Input and Feedback At the start of the project, partners will establish a network of websites, one hosted by each partner, documenting the project and focusing on their hosted event and case study artwork. These websites will be hyperlinked to form one seamless professional and public resource on the topic of documenting and preserving variable media art. The regional conferences are intended to gather expertise and professional feedback on the progress of the project. These events will be documented with video/audio recordings and transcripts, both of which will be available on the host institution's web resource and included in the final report. The project will also establish a professional e-mail discussion list devoted to preservation of variable media art. This e-mail list will be tied into the regional conferences, inviting international discussion on the topics leading up to the conference. The specific topic of the list may change focus leading up to each event and will be moderated for that time period by the project liaison from the institution hosting the symposia. Each of the partners in this project has been selected in part because of their existing national leadership in the areas of museology, art, and new technologies, including successful large-scale collaborative efforts. BAM/PFA currently leads a statewide consortium of twelve museums as part of the Museums and the Online Archives of California (MOAC) to provide integrated online access to collections. Walker Art Center established the Digital Art Study Collection, one of the premiere museum collections of digital art. Rhizome has established ArtBase, perhaps the largest single collection of digital and net.art works to date. The Guggenheim pioneered the Variable Media Initiative, engaging scientists, conservators, and artists from across the country in an ongoing professional dialogue. The management plan for this project will be highly decentralized, ensuring that no one person or institution will unduly influence the model strategy for preserving variable media art and thereby reduce its adaptability. The nature of this collaboration is conceived as a

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network, rather than a hierarchy, with each partner being a node on that network that feeds out into local communities and artists. Each partner in the project will name one staff member to act as project liaison, though others from that organization may participate as well. The liaisons bring to the project extensive professional expertise, and--together with the computer scientist consultant--comprise the project's steering committee. Steering Committee * Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive: Richard Rinehart, Director of Digital Media * Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: Jon Ippolito, Assistant Curator for Media Art, and Carol Stringari, Senior Conservator of Contemporary Art * Steve Dietz, Curator of New Media * Franklin Furnace Archive: Martha Wilson, Director

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* Cleveland Performance Art Festival and Archive: Thomas Mulready, Director * Rhizome.org: Francis Hwang, Director of Content and Technology * Consultant (RAND Corporation and Independent Consultant): Jeff Rothenberg, computer scientist Subcommittees will be organized around project objectives, and filled by partner organization staff and others, such as artists and computer scientists, as appropriate. Subcommittee topics will include: * Variable media questionnaire * Core catalog record * Standard vocabulary * Emulation of digital works Other participants in project meetings and public symposia will include the new media artists responsible for creating the variable media case study works from each partner. Artists will advise on the

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strategy for preserving their work, and relevant staff from each institution, such as conservators and curators, will also participate. The process for evaluating Archiving the Avant Garde will begin early in the project timeline. Many components of the final report will be created in a cumulative and iterative fashion, incorporating ongoing discussion, situational examples from the case study artworks, and most importantly, public and professional feedback into the project's ongoing website. As such, the report will constitute a community forum as much as a publication. Each partner will write a section of the final report, detailing how the model developed and will be implemented in his particular organization. Further, partners will evaluate how the project's goals were met. This combination of formal and informal evaluation and documentation will serve to present the project's findings. The final report will outline the project's methodology; experience in applying developing models to several case study works from each institution in a real-world setting; and, finally, a comprehensive strategy forfuture documentation and preservation of variable media works. Archiving the Avant Garde will take a practical approach to solving problems in order to ensure the feasibility and success of the project. It will focus on key issues previously identified by the partners, and will leave other parts of the puzzle to be solved by future initiatives in ongoing communication with this group. The arts community will need to develop software tools which enable collections care professionals to implement the necessary new description and metadata standards, but does not attempt to develop such tools in the context of this project. Since such tools are already being developed by a separate project under MOAC, Archiving the Avant Garde will share information with that project and benefit from its work. Similarly, the prospect of developing full-fledged software emulators is one best solved by a team of computer scientists, who will work closely with members of the proposed project to cross-fertilize methods and share results. While thisundertaking is focused on immediate goals, the overall collaboration between partner organizations and their various initiatives will be significant in bringing together the computer

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science, arts, standards, and museum communities in an open-source model to maximize collective efforts and guarantee that benefits are far reaching. Testing such a model in practical, real world environments at large and small institutions, with case studies based on actual works in affiliate collections, will lead toward paradigms which are cost effective, scaleable, and practical. Participants fully anticipate implementation of some version of this model to preserve works of variable media in their collections. Partners will focus on their case studies work for clarity and ability to make comparisons, but after completion, they will extrapolate to other works in their repositories. Given their commitment to preserving works of art and developing a workable model for preserving non-traditional works, the results will be not only sustainable, but also essential to other institutions of modern and contemporary art. We anticipate that Archiving the Avant Garde will give rise to future ventures, which may be designed to explore certain aspects in more detail, such as expanded standard vocabulary, full OAIS compliance, and/or further emulation. Future projects may also adapt this model for international use, or refine it for a particular institution.

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END

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Termo especfico: Projects, Preservation, Archives, Art, Accuracy, History, Standards, Business operations
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Assunto genrico: Arts and Entertainment Industry


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Identificador / palavra-chave: Arts and Entertainment Industry, Projects, Preservation, Archives, Art, Accuracy, History, Standards, Business operations
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Ttulo: Archiving the Avant Garde: Documenting and Preserving Variable Media Art
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Autor: Rinehart, Richard


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Ttulo da publicao: Performing Arts Resources


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Volume: 24
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Detalhes da fonte: Theatre Library Association Symposium: Performance Documentation and Preservation in an Online Environment
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Pginas: 74-88
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Ano de publicao: 2004


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Data de publicao: 2004


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Ano: 2004
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Editora: Theatre Library Association


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Local de publicao: New York, N. Y.


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Pas de publicao: United States


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Assunto do peridico: Theater


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ISSN: 0360-3814
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Tipo de fonte: Scholarly Journals


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Idioma de publicao: English


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Tipo de documento: News


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Artigo principal do documento: Tables


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ID do documento ProQuest: 2150720


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URL do documento: http://search.proquest.com/docview/2150720?accountid=14643


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ltima atualizao em: 2012-01-27


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Base de dados: International Index to Performing Arts Full Text


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Bibliography
Citation style: APA 6th - American Psychological Association, 6th Edition Rinehart, R. (2004). Archiving the avant garde: Documenting and preserving variable media art. Performing Arts Resources, 24, 74-88. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/2150720?accountid=14643

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