CONSERVING TONY CONRAD: Keeping an artwork alive

  • Aya Kaido
  • Vanessa Peterson

'Conserving doesn’t mean looking back, ever. It always means looking ahead.' Directed by Aya Kaido Produced by Vanessa Peterson Cinematography by Will Wilkinson Edited by Pawel Stec Music by Tony Conrad ***** How can a museum attempt to conserve a performance? This short doc follows Tate's Time-Based Media Conservation team, curators and researchers from Tate’s Reshaping the Collectible Research team as they attempt to conserve and re-stage avant-garde artist Tony Conrad's Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain, a performance artwork comprising of 16mm film, projectors, and several musical instruments. Tony Conrad is no longer alive, and the artwork didn’t have a written score for future performances. The Reshaping the Collectible project team brought together past performers of the artwork and a new set of performers to produce a new score, as well as working together to re-perform 10 Years Alive on the Infinite Plain at Tate Liverpool as part of the annual LightNight festival in May 2019. Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum is a major research project focused on recent and contemporary artworks which challenge the practices of the museum. Responding to Tate’s bold acquisition policy and building on its pioneering research and expertise in this field, the project is contributing to theory and practice in collection care, curation and museum management. Support for the creation of this film was provided by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.