PLAYBACK 1996 brings together a diverse group of professionals including distinguished conservators, scientists, video artists, media curators and television engineers to undertake the challenge of preserving the hundreds of thousands of hours of cultural and artistic history recorded on videotape. Video technology and videotape have a relatively short shelf life (10 to 30 years). The video artworks, broadcast and cable news and entertainment programs, events documents and other information recorded with video hardware are susceptible to extinction if preservation techniques and standards are not defined. PLAYBACK 1996 offers those who attend the opportunity to participate in the creative process of developing solutions.
For the first time ever, experts from the conservation community and experts from various aspects of the media arts are coming together to build alliances with one another around the common goal of preserving video collections held in museums, galleries, libraries and other repositories throughout the world. For eight months prior to the event of the conference, eight working groups consisting of conservators, curators, video technicians and artists, preservation administrators and archivists are meeting to discuss the vital issues related to the task of preserving our cultural history as told on videotape. The salient points culled from these brainstorming sessions will be presented at PLAYBACK 1996, with plenty of time for questions and discussion incorporated into the schedule.