On the interplay of past, present and future: How can contemporary art conservators contribute to the preservation of contemporary musical heritage?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


With the proliferation of multimedia musical works comes a need for new ways of preservation. The activity of conserving these works has, therefore, been extremely hampered as they are accommodating beyond sound also video, theatrical features, scenographic components, among other elements. Due to their nature these works require particular preservation strategies that cannot be limited to the maintenance of the musical text. As such their preservation involves the production of a complementary documentation. It is, however, not always easy to define who is responsible for producing that documentation. Could conservators of contemporary art assist in this task?With the dematerialization of the art object in the 60’s new conservation paradigms emerged along with a contemporary conservation practice. Unlike the traditional view of conservation that freezes artworks in a single state, a dynamic contemporary art conservation practice became more usual. This approach considers the artwork trajectory, where change is managed and documented as part of the work itself. In this case, preservation is based on the production of documentation on the works’ tangible and intangible features. This approach is especially relevant regarding performance-based artworks, such as installations, performance art, time-based media artworks, among other.Departing from this perspective, an overview of current contemporary conservation practices and theories will be presented and explored while reflecting upon the question: how can conservators contribute to the preservation of the contemporary musical heritage?In sum, the aim of this paper is to demonstrate that new networks of preservation are fundamental to create. In this case including composers, interpreters, archivists, and conservators working together on the interplay of past, present, and future for the preservation of our contemporary musical heritage. To explore this view, some case--studies by the Portuguese composers Clotilde Rosa (b.1930) and Miguel Azguime (b.1960) will be presented.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventOld is New: The Presence of the Past in the Music of the Present - ESML e FCSH/NOVA, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 24 Nov 201626 Nov 2016


ConferenceOld is New
Internet address


  • preservation
  • heritage
  • documentation


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