Time-Based Media Project

 TBMC 1 

About the Time-Based Media Project 

The Time-Based Media Project at Carnegie Museum of Art is a multifaceted initiative focused on stewarding film, video, audio, and computer-based artworks into the future, and on catalyzing research and discussion in the field. The project launched in 2011 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Phase I, which concluded in mid-2014, centered on examining and cataloging CMOA’s time-based media collection and taking initial steps to make it more widely available to researchers and the general public. The museum also hosted a three-day public symposium, A Collection of Misfits: Time-Based Media and the Museum, to address the challenges of building and maintaining time-based media art collections within a museum. 

Comprised of nearly 1,000 time-based artworks, CMOA’s time-based media collection reflects the history of the museum’s department of film and video, established in 1970. As part of the first wave of museums to celebrate moving image work, CMOA played a central role in legitimizing film as an art form, hosting historical screenings, director’s retrospectives, and monthly appearances of avant-garde filmmakers from around the world. It was at the forefront of a movement that eventually resulted in the integration of time-based media in museum collections worldwide. Preservation efforts undertaken during Phase I have enabled ongoing presentations of collection works in CMOA’s Scaife Galleries. 


Phase II: Where We are Today 

With an additional grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded in 2013, the project team is now undertaking Phase II. Spanning three years, the second phase will promote the long-term stability and vitality of this collection; make it more widely accessible to a variety of users on - and off-site; and advance discussions among museums, artists, and other constituents about methodologies and standards for preserving time-based media art. 

Additionally, the project team will also be working to preserve a sizable collection of archival resources. These materials provide valuable context for the artworks and add depth and dimension to our understanding of the evolution of the field. Phase II programming includes Double Exposure, a series of screening events presenting contemporary perspectives on pioneers of the past. A symposium, scheduled for October 22–24, 2015, will build on the museum’s successful 2013 conference A Collection of Misfits: Time-Based Media and the Museum, bringing leading experts in the field to Pittsburgh. Phase II will culminate in a website, book, and exhibition planned for 2017. 



Misfits 2015: A Symposium on Time-Based Media and the Museum
October 22-24, 2015
The aim of the Misfits 2015 symposium is to encourage discourse around the practical and philosophical considerations involved in building, maintaining, exhibiting, and preserving time-based media art collections. Bringing together professionals from all points along the media continuum—artists and archivists, curators and conservators, academics and media archaeologists—the symposium address the opportunities and challenges of working with time-based media.

Learn more and register now. 

Program Notes blog series:
Read more about the project on the CMOA Blog.


The Andrew W. Mellon Time-Based Media Project is made possible due to the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Image credits: 1. Carnegie Museum of Art Visiting Filmmaker tickets from the 1970s. Image: Department of Film and Video Archive at the Carnegie Museum of Art. 2. Dara Birnbaum, installation view of Damnation of Faust: will-o’-the-wisp (A Deceitful Goal), 1985, 3-channel video installation; color, sound; 4 min; Purchase: gift of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Fine and the Carnegie International Acquisition Fund. 3. Carnegie Museum of Art Visiting Filmmaker posters from the 1970s. Image: Department of Film and Video Archive at the Carnegie Museum of Art. 4. Department of Film and Video general admission tickets. Image: Department of Film and Video Archive at the Carnegie Museum of Art.