At the moment we are in the middle of the logistics of the project: setting up cameras, organizing the boxes of artwork and deciding on work flows and work forms.
We currently focus on the logistics of a large collection survey that will help us determine what is called a “collection anatomy”. Because the collection animation artwork is simply too big and too complex to consider as a whole, it has to be split up in digestible units. These units can be based on all sorts of selection criteria: type, age, size, materials used, country of origin, place in the depot etc. Since the biggest part of the collection has not been made accessible yet, we need to go through all the boxes and make an inventory of all the materials and techniques that we encounter. Simultaneously we will collect data on the amount and the condition of the materials. Later, when we have gathered and combined all this information we will look at the collection from a different angle: which animation films are most important to the collection of Eye and for what reason? Collecting all these facts, values and interpretations will eventually help Eye prioritize in their conservation policy and – as an added bonus – will give a first index of all the materials used in experimental animation and a first overview of the damage one can expect to find in similar collections.
Thankfully, we don’t have to re-invent the wheel as our partner, the RCE (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) is constantly (re)inventing and improving their models for risk-assessment by helping many cultural institutions with the inventory, assessment, valuation and management of their collections. All their findings resulted in a practical and concise handbook (Dutch) one can download from the internet.
For a start we took professionals who have more experience with modern materials and complex collections on a tour through Eyes’ brand new Collection Centre, its digitization department, the restoration department and of course, the depots.