Glossary

Analog
Audio and video devices that read data in a continuous and linear manner. VCRs (videocassette recorders), tape players and record players are examples of analog devices.
Archivist
Museum professional responsible for collecting, organizing and conserving historical records and primary source material on artists and artworks.
Bauhaus
German art and design school (1919 - 1933) that emphasized functional design in architecture and the applied arts.
Blu-ray Discs
Optical disc storage media format. Blu-ray Discs play high-definition video and can store more data than DVDs (digital video discs).
CD
CD stands for "compact disc". It is an optical disc that stores digital data.
Conceptual Art (United States and Western Europe, 1960s)
Artworks based on the idea rather than the object. Conceptual artists are against the commodification of art.
Conservation
Steps taken to maintain the components of an artwork, including research, documentation and physical treatment. The goal of conservation is to prevent deterioration in order to ensure that the artwork can be exhibited over the long term.
Conservator
Museum professional responsible for maintaining the components of an artwork over the long term. This is achieved by research, documentation, hands-on restoration, and the control of environmental factors.
Curator
Museum professional who explains the aesthetic and historical value of artworks through research, exhibitions, publications, conferences and acquisitions.
CRT
CRT stands for "cathode ray tube". It is used in television monitors to display images on a screen with an electronic beam.
Dada (United States and Europe, 1920s)
Group of artists who moved away from the accepted norms of culture and aesthetics in their artwork. They used techniques such as cut and paste, collage, photomontage and the ready-made to react against World War I and to question the nature of art.
Deterioration
Process of technological decay and degradation that can occur in a media artwork over time. If ignored, the outcome can be that the artwork no longer functions.
Digital
A digital device that stores, processes and transmits information (audio, video, etc) by breaking the data into numbers (ones and zeroes). Hard drives, CDs (compact discs) and DVDs (digital video discs) are examples of digital devices.
DOCAM
The Documentation and Conservation of the Media Arts Heritage aims to develop new tools aimed at better documenting and conserving media art through various studies, research groups, and university courses.
Documentation
Research, collection and organization of information.
DVD
DVD stands for "digital versatile disc" or "digital video disc". It is a popular device for storing and viewing video. The DVD has largely replaced VHS (video home system) technology.
Emulation
Conservation strategy that involves imitating the original aspects of an artwork using current technologies.
Exhibition
Show that displays artworks in a given location (museum, gallery, café, etc).
Flash memory card
Data storage and transfer device.
Fluxus (United States, Europe, Japan, 1960s)
International group of artists, musicians and designers interested in "intermedia" collaborations. Fluxus artists are anti-commercial and interested in interactive qualities in art.
Gamma Ray
Type of electromagnetic radiation.
Installation
  1. Mounting of an artwork in an exhibition space;
  2. Artwork that involves sculptural material and various other media, and that influences the viewer's experience of the exhibition space.
LCD
LCD stands for "liquid crystal display". It is a screen found in televisions and computers that works with pixels and a light source.
Media
Communication devices used to transmit and store information.
Media Art (Media arts, media artwork, media artworks)
Artworks that depend on technology to function. Examples of artistic disciplines that fall under the media art umbrella includeBiotech Art, Computer Art, Digital Art, Electronic Art, Interactive Art, Kinetic Art, Multimedia Art, Network Art, Robotic Art, Sound Art, Space Art, Technological Art, Video Art, Web Art..
Migration
Conservation strategy that involves upgrading old equipment and materials to newer standards.
Minimalism (1960s)
Artworks in which the content and form are as simplified as possible. Minimal artworks often include geometric forms and industrial materials.
Performance Art (1960s)
Artworks that consist of given actions performed and choreographed by the artist at a certain time and place. Visual artists, poets, musicians and filmmakers can be involved in these live events.
Pixelation
Visual effect whereby individual pixels (small coloured squares) can be discerned in an image.
Pop Art (United States and Britain, 1960s)
Artworks that are inspired by elements of popular mass culture, such as advertising.
Reinterpretation
Conservation strategy that involves recreating an artwork each time it is exhibited according to current standards and practices.
Storage
Conservation strategy that involves physically keeping an artwork in a safe environment, where the temperature, lighting and humidity are carefully monitored.
Technician
  1. Museum professional responsible for installing and dismantling artworks;
  2. Museum professional specializing in different areas, such as computer or audio-visual equipment.
Technological Obsolescence
Result of technology becoming outdated and unavailable. If one technological aspect of a media artwork becomes obsolete or is incompatible with new software, the entire artwork may cease to function.
VCR
VCR stands for "videocassette recorder". It is a recording device that uses videocassettes with magnetic tape to record audio and video from television.
VHS
VHS stands for "video home system". It is a device for recording and viewing video. The VHS has largely been replaced by DVD (digital video disc) technology.
Video Art (1960s)
Artworks that consist of video content.
Zoetrope
Device that creates an illusion of movement due to the quick rotation of still images. The zoetrope was invented by British mathematician William Horner (1786 – 1837) in 1834.

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This resource was published by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). For comments or questions regarding this content, please contact CHIN directly. To find other online resources for museum professionals, visit the CHIN homepage or the Museology and conservation topic page on Canada.ca.

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