Documenting the Creative Process for Live Audio-Visual Performances


Despite the robust research field of documentation and preservation practices in media art, there is a lacunae of information concerning the documentation of the creative process in regards to live audio-visual performances. As live audio-visual performances are exceedingly acquired by museums and arts institutions alike, and as digital obsolescence continues to threaten the longterm stability of media art, additional solutions for the preservation of such works are needed. Amsterdam-based media arts organization LIMA seeks to develop new tools for long-term preservation of live audio-visual performances, such as two recent commissioned works. Examining and documenting the creative process of live audio-visual performances is a potential method for increasing authenticity for preservation, and can provide useful information to determine an artist’s intent. In this paper, I seek to answer the following questions: what information is needed to accurately and authentically document the creative process of a live audio-visual performance? Further, how can LIMA integrate the documentation of the creative process into their preexisting documentation strategy? The aim of this research can be divided into two parts: To understand the creative process in terms of media artist’s intentions and requirements for showcasing their works in perpetuity; and to provide insight to LIMA as far as how to structure and implement a method for documenting an artist’s creative process, specifically in terms of live audio-visual performances.

Expanding upon the ample research on documentation and preservation strategies for media art, my research is largely informed by two case studies of new audio-visual works commissioned by LIMA. As the primary research methods, two case studies of new audiovisual performance pieces were conducted in three in-depth interviews conducted via Skype. Forming Folds (2020 - work in progress) is generative audio-visual installation from composer and visual artist Zeno Van den Broek and As Above, So Below (2019) is a live audio-visual performance collaboration between media, sound artist and researcher Sébastien Robert and media artist, designer, researcher and lecturer Mark IJzerman. Examining both audiovisual performances in their various states provided a nuanced and diverse footing in which I grounded my research. In addition, a case study on documentation models for variable media was conducted. The three models include DOCAM’s Documentation Model, The Variable Media Questionnaire and the TATE’s Strategy for the Documentation and Conservation of Performance. The case study was solely informed by literature, and was assessed based upon a criteria outlined in a subsequent section. Both the documentation model and artist case studies involved a qualitative approach, with a combination of inductive and deductive research.

Many issues are at the heart of the documentation of the creative process of live audio-visual works. My research centers on three: the ephemerality of performance; digital obsolescence; and preservation with authenticity. Ephemerality and digital obsolescence are both a threat and a catalyst for live audio-visual performance. Ensuring authenticity for artworks is the object of documentation practices, where the traditional notion of object-based authenticity no longer applies. According to LIMA, “documentation is often all that remains after a work has been shown and experienced. And it is documentation that forms the basis for a reconstruction, new installation or performance of that work” (1). With this in mind, documentation serves a quintessential function in the physical and figurative perpetuation of an artist’s artwork.

Documentation has long centered around object-based artworks. Thus, performance of media art presents a new challenge for the evolution of documentation strategies. In recent years, the issue of how to document ephemerality of media art and performance (both live and software performances) have been the subject of numerous publications, lectures and symposiums. As a result, many different schools of thought considering the topic have emerged. To address these issues of ephemerality, organizations such the Variable Media Network, DOCAM, TATE Museum and LIMA, respectively, have developed documentation strategies tailored to media art and performance-based artworks. My research considers recommendations developed for media art and performances respectively.

Another consideration of my research is universally prescient – digital obsolescence. What steps must an organization take in order to ensure that a work can be viewed––whether reproduced, emulated or reinterpreted––in the case of digital obsolescence? What is at the heart of an artwork once its components no longer function? In interviews as part of my case study, artists articulate the most essential elements both of their processes and of their artworks, and explain how each informs the other to form a symbiotic relationship.

Lastly, I consider how to document the creative process in a way that addresses the issue of authenticity. In my case studies, artists detail the parameters for maintaining authenticity of their live audio-visual performances if they should be performed or restaged in another context. Maintaining authenticity of an artwork should be at the heart of all conservation efforts. I consider measures that artists have taken to document their intent and define authenticity in the past.

In the section titled “Defining the Creative Process,” I define the creative process. In “Approaches to Documentation,” I enumerate the defining elements of the creative process as a synthesis of artist interviews and literature reviews, and note the ways in which artists document their creative processes. In “Approaches to Authenticity,” I consider the notion of authenticity in respect of live audio-visual performances and examine the ways in which artists working with similar requirements have ensured authenticity in the past. In “Artist Case Study,” I present results from my artist case study. In “Spectromorphology as Documentation Practice,” I suggest a new approach to documenting the musical components of live audio-visual performances. In “Documentation Models Case Study,” I showcase results from my case study about documentation models. Finally, in “Recommendation to LIMA’ I make a recommendation to LIMA based upon my research.

 1. “Documentation,” Preservation, LIMA, last modified 2020,


When defining the creative process, one must address several issues: temporality, methodology and ephemerality. Paramount to this research, defining the creative process is an enigmatic process in and of itself. Creativity is both elusive and subjective. However evasive, the creative process is a quintessential step for artmaking through which artists of all varieties make decisions and manifest their artworks.

Within the parameters of this research, the creative process will be defined in temporal terms as taking place between the spark of interest and the performed debut of the artwork. Results from my case studies point to the conclusion that the creative process is not over once the artwork has been delivered; however at this point the artwork takes on a life of its own beyond the artist’s control. All three artists partaking in the case study agreed that the creative process is still in motion after an artwork has been delivered (“for audio-visual performance it never ends… every time you perform you… do something different… it’s a continuation” (2)). However, given the context of the artwork within LIMA’s catalogue, and the current restraints of documentation processes, the definition of the creative process will be reconsidered within a more confined framework. Within the context of this research, where I focus on generative and live performances in particular, the creative process is examined up to the point of an artwork’s delivery at the point of presentation.

As defined loosely from a composite of artist interviews, scientific and creative literature, the creative process begins at the spark of an interest and ends, according to sonic artist Sébastien Robert “when I’ve hit the boundaries of my concept” (3). Sound and visual artist Zeno van den Broek defines the creative process as the “link between concept and how it becomes a piece of art” (4). Mark IJzerman’s creative process begins with “a fascination” (5). For Sebastien Robert, the creative process begins at the spark of an “inner feeling to create and experiment” (6). There is no universal timeline for artists, whether in visual art, audio-visual art or live performance. However, some literature, such as writing that focuses on the visual art process, points to more concrete steps of a creative process.

What are the Stages of the Creative Process? What Visual Art Students are Saying is a 2018 case study on the creative process of visual art students, produced by Marion Botella, Franck Zenasni and Todd Lubart. The authors examine the cognitive and functional properties of the creative process for artists. In the study, the creative process is defined as “a succession of thoughts and actions leading to original and appropriate productions” (7). The authors describe the creative process on two levels: “macro level, featuring the stages of the creative process, and a micro level, which explains the mechanisms underlying the creative process, e.g., divergent thinking or convergent thinking” (8). In the study, researchers identified 17 stages of the creative process: “immersion, reflection, inspiration, illumination, trials, assembly, ideation, selection, technique, realization, specification, finalization, examination, presentation, break [and] abandoning” (9).

Other studies focus on the more abstract elements of the creative process and the benefits of highlighting such a process. In his article Seeing What, How and Why: The ARTnews Series, 1953-1958, Nigel Whiteley revisits articles published in ARTnews magazine exploring the steps of a visual artist’s creative process. Each article centers around one artist and includes both “a formal analysis, but also…describe[s] some of the decision-making processes of the artist — why the artist had made a particular decision and rejected other alternatives, and to what effect” (10). Whiteley examines Fairfield Porter’s 1954 article on Larry Rivers’s Portrait of Berdie I, 1953. In his analysis, he emphasizes the perceptive benefits of documenting the creative process: doing so provides “insight into the artist’s work in progress and his/her thoughts about creativity. The format enables the artist and commentator to talk about a particular work in terms of its aims, theme, preoccupations and interpretations. Despite its added insight, the decision-making process is lauded by Whiteley as the “most neglected perspective, because it is often inaccessible and apparently mysterious” (11). Ultimately, Whitely’s thesis underlines the most fundamental benefit of documenting the creative process as providing insight into the “what, how and why” of artmaking.

Both artist interviews and literature review point to an inconclusive definition of the chronological steps that take place during the creative process. Although I had initially sought out to order the steps of the creative process, my case studies pointed to the impossibility of such a task, as there is no one path, and it would be inaccurate to posit one. Working with a definition of the creative process that paints it in broad strokes, incorporating abstract language employed by artists, will increase the accuracy of its documentation, and expand what we think of as the creative process. Given the relative lack of information about the creative process for live audio-visual performance, paying close attention to the answers from the case study was particularly of interest, and held greater weight than my literature review.

 2. Sébastien Robert, “Artist Case Study,” interview by Lilli Elias, 2 April, 2020, audio,  77:25.

 3. Zeno van den Broek, “Artist Case Study,” interview by Lilli Elias, 6 April, 2020, audio, 88:34.

 4. Ibid.

5. Mark IJzerman, “Artist Case Study,” interview by Lilli Elias, 10 April, 2020, 81:50.

 6. Sébastien Robert, “Artist Case Study,” interview by Lilli Elias, 2 April, 2020, audio,  77:25.

7.  Marion Botella, Franck Zenasni and Todd Lubart, “What Are the Stages of the Creative Process? What Visual Art Students Are Saying,” Front Psychol 9 (2018),

8.  Ibid.

9.  Ibid.

10.  Nigel Whiteley, “Seeing What, How and Why: The ARTnews Series, 1953-1958”, Journal of Visual Art Practice 3 (2007): 215-228,

11.  Ibid.


In addition to defining the creative process in live audio-visual artists own terms, another goal of this research is to shine light on what should be documented as part of the creative process, and to understand the artist’s relationship towards the creative process. Historically, documenting the creative process for artists has been met with trepidation: “in 1962, Rudolf Arnheim voiced some of the concerns facing both artists and researchers, ‘artists … have learned to tread cautiously when it comes to reporting the internal events that produce their works. They watch with suspicion all attempts to invade the inner workshop and to systematize its secrets” (12). Documentation practices do not necessarily fit into the creative process for artists, or may actively work against an artist’s creative process. It is paramount to consider an artist’s opposition or lack of participation in the documentation of the creative process.

How artists chose to approach the creative process varies, as does how (and if) they chose to document it. In The Art of Documentation, documentation is defined as “the process of gathering and organizing information about a work, including its condition, its content, its context and the actions taken to preserve it” (13). But results from the case studies demonstrate a general uncertainty in terms of activities that artists consider “documentation.” The division “between documentation, process and finished artwork… [is often] blurred” (14). Even further complicating the process, there are different outlets and standards for documentation. For example, artists may take photos of their artworks in stages along the way and consider these documents “documentation.” Conversely, they may discount their todo lists and sketch books from their creative process. Working within the parameters of the creative process, as defined in temporal terms, and following guidelines that I set forth in a following section can aid in clarifying the most essential elements of the creative process.

According to the interviews that I conducted with three artists, respectively, the creative process occurs and is documented in various ways. These include, but are not limited to, in a notebook, to-do app, sketches, emails, photos, grant applications, conversations and walks. Conversations with artists lead me to believe that the documentation of the creative process and the creative process are often blurred and cannot be easily defined independently. Some artists do not realize that certain processes are considered documentation. Artists articulated that the documentation of their personal creative process did not appear to be essential to their art-making process; however, when pressed, they considered certain elements of the creative process insightful for attributing meaning to an artwork.

While artists have varying methods of documentation, there is often a physical manifestation of the creative process that takes place, as well as an intangible one. Understanding how artists document their processes and acknowledging the multiplicity in approaches is essential for implementing a new method of documentation that aids artists in their documentation practices or lack thereof. Documentation of the creative process in a way that feels authentic to the artist is of equal importance.

12. Ibid.; Arnheim Rudolf, The Genesis of a Painting: Picasso's Guernica (Berkeley: University of California Press 1962), 1.

13. Gaby Wijers, Vivian van Saaze and Annet Dekker, “The Art of Documentation” RTRSRCH 2, no. 2 (2010): 15-17,

14. Rebecca Fortnum and Chris Smith, “Special Edition Editorial: The Problem of Documenting Fine Art Practices and Processes,” Journal of Visual Art Practice 3 (2007): 167-174,


Because live audio-visual performances have long failed to fit into the traditional notion of art-object, and have only recently been acquired by museums and art institutions alike, traditional notions of authenticity do not necessarily hold. For live audio-visual performances, I posit that authenticity resides not within the object itself (of which there is often none), but the concept, the artist’s intent and the supporting elements that characterize the nature of the artwork (the essence). I test this theory in my artist case studies. Here, I examine the methods in which one can approach documentation of the creative process in an authentic matter, and explore what authenticity means in this concept.

Live audio-visual performances are held to many standards of authenticity, as they synthesize various practices: live performance, media art, musical performance and sound installation. Traditional notions of authenticity consider “evidence of authorship… maintained by the causal link to the artist and the properties that the artist considers mandatory” (15) as the primary earmark of authenticity. In performance studies, “authenticity… is connected to the live and linked specifically to a particular moment and person as performer, which is experienced and valued as a form of ‘presence" (16). Scholar and conservation expert Pip Laurenson questions our notions of authenticity in regards to autographic arts:

“With traditional fine art objects, material evidence is sought for authenticity, demonstrating the hand of the artist. In contemporary art, with the demise of the evidence of the hand of the artist, artists have found other means by which to maintain authority and control of their works via certificates and editions… I would suggest that the concept of authenticity operating in the traditional conceptual framework of conservation is appropriate for a framework in which the objects of conservation are the autographic arts but inadequate for works which are not” (17).

In light of Laurenson’s comments, in this section I reexamine the notion of authenticity in regards to aspects of live audio-visual performances, considering the artist’s point of view as the primary source of knowledge, and strategize ways in which artists practicing live audio-visual performances can ensure authenticity of their works in perpetuity.

In an effort to expand documentation models to include ephemeral and intangible events, individuals and organizations have often looked towards other disciplines as an aid. In Authenticity, Change and Loss in the Conservation of Time-Based Media Installations, Laurenson points towards forms of expression in music to explore the different methods of documentation for time-based media art. With music compositions, “there is a gap between a work as represented as a score and its performance…there is room for interpretation” (18) Laurenson points to philosopher Stephen Davies’s explanation of elaboration on musical scores as a parallel to documentation of variable media: “musical works can be ‘thinly’ or ‘thickly’ specified….Davies uses the terms ‘thin’ and ‘thick’ to indicate the degree to which the composer has determined the detail of the performance through work-determinative instructions" (19). “In time-based media installations, ‘thickly’ specified works are works where the artist has specified the qualities of the work and its presentation as precisely as possible" (20). The more “thick” the specifications of a work, the greater the outcome of future restagings of the work. For live audio-visual performances, documentation should be as “thick” as possible. However, documentation of the creative process can supplement any shortcomings in a “thinner” score, as can the artist’s approach to notation.

Documentation of the creative process of live audio-visual performances in a way that authentically represents an artist’s intention is particularly challenging. Given the instability of the digital aspects of live audio-visual performances due to digital obsolescence, and the ephemerality of performance itself, understanding the intent of an artwork is one of the most sustainable means of comprehending a work in a long-term and meaningful way. Without an authentic representation of an artwork through its documentation, the artwork itself will no longer hold its meaning in the future. Following Laurenson’s approach, I examine authenticity and instructions and scores. In the following subsection, I detail an issue that I encountered in my case study, and provide a brief overview of artists who have encountered similar challenges.

Documentation Strategies for Indeterminate Artworks: Scores and Scripts

My first case case study focuses on two live audio-visual works that are defined by their indeterminate aspects. A goal of the study includes understanding how to properly document this intent and how to understand artist’s expectations if their artwork should be reinterpreted or restaged. According to testimony from both contributors of As Above, So Below (NL, 2019), ensuring an indeterminate quality of live audio-visual performance is one of the most fundamental ingredients for ensuring authenticity in the long term. With Forming Folds, the indeterminate element of the performance manifests as a generative installation. The unforeseeable nature of the performance is one of its characterizing elements. When indeterminacy is one of the parameters of an artwork, how does one capture the intent behind an unforeseeable outcome?

For a solution to this question, I look towards the ways that other artists have informed their intent for indeterminate works, and seek to understand how their intent and the reality align. Historically, when artist’s approaches do not align with typical documentation practices, they forge their own. This can be said of American avant-garde composer John Cage, who, in the 1950s and 1960s, turned to alternative means of documentation through employing “elaborate methods of graphic notation involving a series of transparencies” (21) for his indeterminate compositions (22). Indeterminate composing employs a “composing approach in which some aspects of a musical work are left open to chance or to the interpreter’s free choice” (23). Cage’s graphic notation, as opposed to traditional notation, approached composition beyond notes on a staff –– rather, his drawings communicated to its players what could not be said verbally. Symbols, abstract forms, numbers and shapes were employed to instruct performers of the principal movements of the composition, and in turn, the performance remains indeterminate in nature. Cage’s approach also serves as a set of instructions for ensuring authenticity of the musical work overtime.

Fluxus artists, such as Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, experimented with and approached score with an alternative approach as well, engaging event “scores” to inform short performances. All performances are not alike – with event scores, intent is embedded in score and notation. Performance approaches of such scores are at the discretion of the performer. “Instructions” provided by the artist guarantee “authenticity” in performance no matter the interpretation, embodying the intended expansion of “musicality” introduced by the Fluxus platform.

As demonstrated by avant-garde artist’s experimentation with new forms of artmaking and documentation, ensuring authenticity requires creative methods of documentation that captures the intangible and the ephemeral, moving beyond traditional methods of object-based documentation. With scores and unconventional approaches to notation, maintaining authenticity through documentation is a byproduct of the ability to capture intention rather than relying on the vestiges of something that by definition is intangible.

Live audio-visual performances should follow suit. Because performances cannot be duplicated, reducing an artwork to a set of “instructions” beyond technical requirements, as demonstrated by my artist case study, can establish qualifications for ensuring authenticity as noted by the artist, and for understanding their intent.

Examining Material Manifestations of Intent

Despite the impermanence of live audio-visual performances, it would be remiss to neglect the physical manifestations of the creative process; the form through which artists document their intent is also a primary source for understanding the creative process. Paying close attention to the notes, symbols, pictures and ephemera that accompany such information can help to build a fuller understanding of an artist’s creative process, as it provides a physical manifestation of a creative process taking shape; “theatrical scripts and musical scores are documents that result from the authors’ creative process – they are not the performance itself but made for the purpose of being performed… artists who develop notations as part of the creative process are able to establish connections between ephemeral and document. Notations open up the possibility of reinterpretation” (24). Examining the ways in which artists build and notate their sets of instructions or scores, whether traditional or invented notation, provides insight into the creative process. Instructions and scores are not always examined as documents supporting the creative process; however, they should be reframed as such.

In the next section, I introduce the artist case studies that I conducted and test the limits of the creative process as a method of recognizing intent and maintaining authenticity. Here, I apply the idea of scores and scripts to form my own equations for ensuring authenticity.

15.  Pip Laurenson, “Authenticity, Change and Loss in the Conservation of Time-Based Media Installations,” Tate Papers 6 (2006):13,

16. Vivian van Saaze and Pip Laurenson, “Collecting Performance-Based Art:
New Challenges and Shifting Perspectives” in Performativity in the Gallery: Staging Interactive Encounters, ed. Outi Remes, Laura MacCulloch and Marika Leino (Bern: Peter Lang AG, 2016), 27-41.

17. Pip Laurenson, 4.

18. Ibid., 5.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid.

21. Jimmy Stamp, “5 1/2 Examples of Experimental Music Notation,” Smithsonian Magazine, 5 June, 2013,

22. John Cage’s 1952 composition 4’33” exemplifies a key work of indeterminate composition. 

23. “Indeterminacy (music),” Wikipedia, last modified 19 April, 2020,

24. Ana Carvalho, “Live Audiovisual Performance and Documentation”, in Besides the Screen, ed. Virginia Crisp and Gabriel Menotti Gonring (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 162-176.


This case study is an exercise to determine the first intention of the research: to understand the creative process in terms of a media artist’s intentions and requirements for showcasing their work in perpetuity. 

Problem description

The creative process is an effectual yet often neglected element of metadata.  In order to understand how to document the creative process, it is important understand how an artist views the creative process, both as it occurs individually and in general. Further, it is paramount to determine the creative process specifically for live audio-visual performances, taking note of elements that diverge from that of a visual or object-based artist's processes. What are the elementary steps of the creative process that should be captured as the creative process? What decisions, negotiations and selections inform the work? What is an audio-visual artist’s method for capturing said creative process? And how can we translate an artist's creative process into a universal equation? 

Case Studies

Two case studies were conducted concerning two respective live audio-visual performances: As Above, So Below (2019), a collaboration between Mark IJzerman (live visuals) and Sébastien Robert (live sound), and Forming Folds (exp. 2020) from sound and visual artist Zeno van den Broek. Case studies were conducted over three interviews in Spring 2020 via Skype.

Questions asked included those that specifically targeted the creative process, as well as those that were more focused on the artwork itself.

Questions that were asked (a sampling):

What is the creative process?

How do you currently document your creative process?

Do you see the creative process as separate from the artwork?

What do you want to express in this artwork?

How does collaboration fit into your creative process?

Does presentation format change the outcome of the piece?

How does one properly document an artist’s intention?

What is the responsibility and role of an artist in documenting the creative process?

What makes an artwork authentic or inauthentic?

How do you document your intention?

Are pieces fixed once they are delivered?

What are your instructions for recreating the form?

What are the most important elements of your creative process that should be documented?

Forming Folds:

The goal of my artist case study was to understand the creative process as defined by artists and learn about what aspects of their pieces they find most integral to their artwork. Breaking down the artwork into its most important elements helps to define the artwork in terms of its essence, rather than its form. The first task was to see the artwork through the same lens of the artist(s). Here I reflect on the insight gained by participating in a long-form interview.

Forming Folds is a generative audio-visual installation “focused on researching and expressing the relation between the digital and our spatial perception” (25). At the time of this interview, Forming Folds was still in the gestation period – van den Broek’s interview provides much insight into the creative process of an artist in real time. For example, the artist shared his struggle to find the right form: “My ideal installation is something that is generative… at the same time, it has to make sense. If it’s a video file that runs from a to b and gives the same experience, that’s also fine for me. I’m not really tech-fetishized…. In the end it’s all about how it’s being experienced by the people” (26). Understanding this aspect of his creative process and revisiting this step in the future can improve the way a curator understands the intention of an artwork. 

The artist emphasizes the generative nature of the artwork, which means that, although it is an installation, it undergoes a software performance during each iteration. If the artwork is not technically generative, this interview informs the reader of the artist’s intention and decision-making process behind the work. In the future, as needed, a curator can implement technologies to pursue the artist's initial intention for their artwork. 

An interview such as the one conducted for the case study can get to the root of identifying an equation for determining the defining elements of an artwork. Corresponding questions can determine the decision making processes that supported each elemental aspect. This must first be supported by an understanding of the artist’s creative process, how they currently go about documenting it, and the artist’s views on authenticity.

Van den Broek’s view of the creative process was communicated as an entanglement of process and concept. The artist continues, “The concept for me is setting boundaries, so I find the subject, and then I do more research about how things work, and some theory, then I do some experiments with the medium, and then the concept creates the box within which I work in those boundaries" (27). Defining the creative process in steps related to a personal process expresses the most elemental and important decision making junctions to document.

Paying close attention to the way in which the artist documents their creative process is also of sizable importance to documenting the creative process. Van den Broek’s current method by which he documents his creative process consists of several steps occurring in tandem: notating and drawing in sketchbooks, taking walks and taking notes in an app called Todo List. The artist elaborates: “sometimes when I get home I look at the sketches and imminently start working or other times they just pile up and become a really long list… I remove the boxes once I’ve completed the tasks. I really like to use the walks to activate the brain… the todo notes are more to make sure that I don’t forget, and the notes on paper in the sketchbook are more part of the process" (28). Although he doesn’t currently have a process in place to document intention, he finds that writing applications for funding is helpful because it forces him to write down his ideas and your intention in a precise manner. According to the artist, “otherwise it would just be in my mind.” With this piece, he was forced to articulate his intention because he applied for a grant. He asserts that personal writing, applications, interviews and talking to his friends is his way of documenting the creative process: “language and discussion to make ideas more precise” (29).  

Accessing materials used to document the creative process, understanding the artist’s process, their view on authenticity and ways of documenting their creative process and intention are equally important for properly documenting the creative process. An interview, such as the one conducted for the case study, can get to the root of such elements of an artwork. 

In addition to understanding the artist’s viewpoint on the creative process, my case study provided my with an equation to ensure authenticity of a given artwork. For Forming Folds, the equation is as follows:

Basic equation for ensuring authenticity (“Often my work is structured in time” (30). Authenticity is the ability to maintain these elements over time) = 

Command (rotate) + Movement (how the artwork moves) + Time (minutes) + Shape + Form (video + moving images + sounds OR installation) + Time + source material + Recreating the motor (force + rotation) + Material (aluminum and steel) + signal process (how the sounds are processed) + indeterminacy (generative element) + concept (31)

Breaking down the work into an equation for the purpose of this case study yields a basic equation for live audio-visual performances. In conjunction with an equation for my second artist case study, which diverges slightly from this equation, the simplification of the components of a live audio-visual performance showcases the areas in which creative decisions take place. Corresponding questions (see Lima Recommendation) can expand upon such decision making processes (the creative process) that support each elemental aspect of the artwork.

As Above, So Below:

As Above, So Below is a live audio-visual performance that both visualizes and sonifies the La Araucanía region in south-central Chile. The subject of the performance addresses “the shrinking amount of old-growth forest and biodiversity versus the increase in eucalyptus and pine plantations in La Araucanía, in which the indigenous Mapuche are about a third of the total population” (32). The subject is represented in several abstract ways, however, never explicitly. Both artists insist that it would be inauthentic to categorize the work as representative of the Mapuche people: “ It would not be authentic to claim that a film like ours helps the position of the Mapuche People” (33).

The creative process of As Above, So Below Both is representative of two artists mediating their personal ideals of the creative processes, and practicing their art making both individually and together. For Mark, the creative process starts at a fascination but never ends for a project. He explains, “because I come from such a technological background, very often this fascination is something technological… Where does it come from, how does it work? The next question is what kind of story can you tell?…It starts in my head, but at some point, I realized that you have to be on the ground"(34). For Roberts, “every single step that you take from the first rough ideas to the creation of an artwork (from a to z)” is a part of the creative process, which never truly ends for a live audio-visual performance. 

The method in which the collaborators document their creative process diverges: IJzerman has typically referred to notebooks, and recently made a blog to showcase his process. Robert believes that the creative process is “always triggered by an external push,” and doesn’t have a specific method in place to document it. Rather, he seeks external eyes to help to document the creative process, such as video documentation or an interview. 

Beyond the concrete elements of the live audio-visual performance, this artwork relies on the inertia and convergence of several separate yet intertwining elements: collaboration and unspoken communication between both collaborators and indeterminacy. Both collaborators agreed that interview questions or conversations posed throughout intervals of the creative process would be helpful for reflection and ultimately the best practice for documenting the creative process. 

Conversations with both artists exposed the intricacies and particularities that define authenticity and intent. For example, the importance of indeterminate elements as well as “liveness” of the medium is paramount to maintaining authenticity. This can be understood in the several manifestations of the source material used in As Above, So Below. Holobiosis, a 2020 video premiered by FACT Magazine, contains many elements that make up As Above, So Below. However, the creative process was different, resulting in an altered work of a different name.  Both artists articulated that the authenticity of As Above, So Below is contingent on its indeterminacy and performative element. Acknowledging the distinguishing nuances of the individual artworks lies in recognizing the decisions and negotiations that took place during the creative process. Understanding why, for example, the artists chose one presentation format over another can be very telling to curators looking to recreate a performance in the future, and gaining insight into the decision-making process can ensure an authentic and abiding representation of an artwork.

There are two divergent equations that make up the “authenticity equation” for this artwork, exemplifying the manifold interpretations of any work, even from collaborators. 

Authenticity Equation for Mark IJzerman:

Feedback algorithm + 2nd or third generative element + aesthetic + “how visuals and sound are intertwined” (35) + technology that was used + the source material + how the source material was used + where I gathered the source material + artist lens + signal process + time + flow (scenes) + indeterminism (36) + documentation + (source) material that was not used 

Authenticity Equation for Sébastien Robert:

signal process + live interaction + duration + scaling + presentation format

Case Study Analysis

Results of the case study reveal the following points about an artist’s creative process: artists determine their own formula for ensuring authenticity. Posing thoughtful questions that pertain to moments when decisions are made can encourage articulation of said creative process. Each artist defines the creative process in different terms. Working within a time-based definition of the creative process allows for flexibility for artists to define their own steps. Ultimately, important elements for each artist overlap, but different vocabulary and syntax is used to express it. Establishing a uniform set of questions that pertain to the creative process will help to promote a common language for discussing the creative process. The creative process is captured in many different ways, but an interview is necessary to supplement any physical remnants of the creative process.

My recommendation for LIMA draws on information provided by artists, and is owing to their insight. With this information, I am able to make a recommendation to LIMA as to how they can integrate the documentation of the creative process into their current system, and support artists to properly document their creative process.

What Should Documented?

Artist case studies reveal that, although “equations” for ensuring authenticity diverge in syntax and vocabulary, many of the same elements are present or overlapping for all three artists. In conjunction with my literature review, I define 15 elements of a live audio-visual performance that must be represented in documentation in order to ensure authenticity of a given artwork. In my recommendation section, I propose accompanying questions to inform the decision-making process behind each component in an effort to properly document the creative process.

  1. Negotiations: Defining decisions
  2. Intention: Aim of the artwork
  3. Context: Where research is grounded 
  4. Intention: Aim of the artwork
  5. Tools: To reach a goal
  6. Methodology: how to get there
  7. Format: Presentation of research
  8. Research: How view was formed
  9. Process: Way to get there
  10. Collaboration: Approach
  11. Musicality*: Sonic Spectra
  12. Duration: length
  13. Performance: Live aspect
  14. Scale: Size
  15. Evolution: Process

 25. “The LIMA Collection: New Work - Mark IJzerman, Sébastien Robert, Zeno van den Broek and Nan Wang,” last modified 12 December, 2019,

26. Van den Broek, interview.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.

29. Ibid.

30. Ibid.

31. Van den Broek, interview: “What I am sending to the engine is as much of a composition as the sound (the command) – it’s part of the whole artwork (how the artwork moves).”... In the end the physical form does really matter; it’s more about how to capture this lens which I’m creating… I don’t think the physical form really matters; it’s more about the step from the concept into the the artificial content.”

32. “The LIMA Collection: New Work - Mark IJzerman, Sébastien Robert, Zeno van den Broek and Nan Wang.”

33.  IJzerman, interview.

34. Ibid.

35. Ibid.

36.  Ijzerman, interview: “I’m looking for this punk feeling.”


One of the 15 most important elements of a live audio-visual performance is musicality. However, with current documentation strategies for media art, the nuances of musical features are often sidelined or diminished in comparison to documentation of other aspects of the work. Capturing and storing “the contextual and live aspects of work such as internet art, performance art and live electronic music” is notoriously challenging, but not impossible (37). Sonic aspects of live audio-visual performances are incredibly important to the overall integrity of an artwork. Documenting sonic components of live audio-visual performances is contingent on the ability to capture all aspects of a performance and to be able to recreate it in perpetuity. Moreover, electroacoustic and electronic music is often difficult to document in notational terms that would typically be reserved for instrumental music. 

Like indeterminate compositions, a musical score proves insufficient for documenting most electronic and electro-acoustic music. The identity of electronic and electroacoustic music depends as much on technology, such as hardware and software, EQ and methods of amplification as it does on notes. A spectromorphological approach can compliment graphical or notational transcription, providing a more accurate documentation of an intended sonic spectra. Likewise, for electronic and electroacoustic music, documenting the signal process is often far more effective for maintaining integrity of a work than a recording or a score. For this reason, I propose a new procedure for documentation of audio that takes root from the musicological field: spectromorphological analysis and a new approach to documentation of the signal process  Spectromorphology is the “perceived sonic footprint of a sound spectrum as it manifests in time” (38). Spectromorphology lends itself to time-based approaches to documentation, making it particularly complimentary for describing time-based and generative artworks. A spectromorphological analysis of audio provides artists with the language to articulate the intended shape and footprint of their music in concrete terms. Introduced as “a tool for describing and analysing listening experience,” spectromorphology is a synthesis of two terms referring to “the interaction between sound spectrum and the ways they changed and are shaped through time” (39).  Language that is used in a spectromorphological analysis is inclusive of classifications such as directional analysis, gestural, textural motion and behavior. Employing language specific to the intended shape and perception of music overtime through spectromorphological analysis is one of the ways that artists, conservators, archivists and records managers can increase accuracy in documentation practices. Introducing spectromorphological analysis as a documentation strategy for live audio-visual composition will encourage more fluidity for documenting the musical component of the creative process. Spectromorphological analysis should be conducted by the musician who is attributed to the work, rather than a representative of the institution, as it expresses intention. However, in order to interpret the analysis, a specialist should be consulted by the institution.

Expanding documentation strategies for sonic components of live audio-visual performances is the first step for expanding documentation methods of the creative process. By defining and highlighting new documentation strategies that effectively and authentically capture the sonic components of a live audio-visual performance, the overall documentation process becomes more accurate and the vocabulary of description expands. This allows for curators to probe into the creative process behind these decisions with a finer comb. 

In the next section, I will examine the sufficiency of current documentation models, using my requirements as a guide. 

37.  “Conservation and Restoration of New Media Art,” Wikipedia, last modified 28 June, 2020,

38. Ibid.

39. Denis Smalley, “Spectromorphology: Explaining Sound Shapes,”  Cambridge University Press 2, no. 2 (2011): 107-126,


There are currently few sustainable and long-term models for documenting media art. Further, there are no models for specifically documenting the creative process for live audio-visual performances. This is a quintessential misstep in that a fundamental component of media art is the volatility of its media platform, as well as an instability of its media. This research seeks to develop a new approach or expand upon an existing method for documenting an artist’s intentions as they arise in the stages of the creative process, before a product has been completed. Through an analysis of this documentation as well as current information collected by the organization, curators should be able to recreate, reassemble or restate a live audio-visual performance.

In conjunction with the case studies for determining best practices for documenting the artist’s creative process, the case study of current documentation strategies for media art and live performances was conducted with the goal of coming to a better solution than the current strategy for documentation of live audio-visual media art performances. While several documentation strategies for live audio-visual performances do exist, there are no current documentation models for documenting the creative process in this context. Examining the results of my case study, where I analyze three documentation models for time-based media and compare and contrast them to each other, I am able to examine the state of the art of documentation strategies. This allows for my recommendation to LIMA concerning their current documentation strategy to be grounded in current and relevant information about documentation strategies. 

My case study examines three current documentation strategies for time-based media art: DOCAM’s Documentation Model, The Variable Media Questionnaire and the TATE’s Strategy for the Conservation of Performance Based Artworks. Additionally, it examines LIMA’s current documentation practices. Lastly, an examination of all documentation strategies, including LIMA’s current documentation strategy, reveals that new language is needed to describe music. In a previous section, I introduced spectromorphology and a new approach to signal process and notation as a means of expanding documentation practices. 

To assess and on what grounds and whether these documentation models are sufficient, I created the following criteria:

•For time-based artworks, documentation models must express the intangible, working in opposition to the historical object-oriented methods of documentation (40).

•Documentation models must be able to accommodate and represent variable media.

•Models should be flexible. The creative process is imprecise and transitory. The model should consider the creative process as occurring over time, and as interrelated to various processes.

•Models should follow the records continuum model. Documentation of the creative process can take shape in various forms; records that are used to represent the creative process may also be activated during other stages of an artwork’s lifetime.

•Documentation models should be able to accommodate descriptive meta-data and artist interviews.

Variable Media Questionnaire

The Variable Media Questionnaire is the brainchild of the Variable Media Network.

The primary goal of the design is “to help a work's creators and users write guidelines for translating their works into new media once the original medium has expired” (41). Drawing on four preservation strategies: storage, migration, emulation, and reinterpretation, the Variable Media Questionnaire offers solutions for the threat of digital obsolescence and seeks to aid artists in articulating their technical needs. The Variable Media Questionnaire operates outside of the typical object-oriented documentation strategy. Rather, “artists are encouraged to define their work independent of any medium so that the work can be translated once its current medium becomes obsolete. This approach is centered on the content of the work rather than the medium” (42). Organized in four sections –  Media, Parts, Interviews and Resources – the platform is open-ended. The variability of the platform lends itself to conducting artist interviews, as the medium-independent line of questioning often elicits highly descriptive responses to questions about a work’s past and future incarnations(43). With that being said, documents are confined to only one classification, failing to acknowledge the diverse usages of documents in different contexts.

The Variable Media Questionnaire is particularly concerned with mitigating digital obsolescence, which is perhaps why this method is insufficient in its current state for documenting the creative process. While the digital limitations of a work are expressed, the solutions are more tech-oriented than creatively informed. Rather than focusing on the creative decisions made by artists and the intent of the work in a more abstract sense, the model “takes into account the work and the context in which it evolves. It confirmed the necessity to let go of traditional preservation methods that focused on the recreation of the work, regardless of the artist’s intention, and think of new ways to document obsolete artworks” (44). Given its emphasis on technical details, the Variable Media Questionnaire is not fit in its current form to accommodate documentation of the creative process.    

Another drawback of the documentation model is the emphasis on motions set in place from acquisition, rather than the process that takes place beforehand, and the steps that need to support acquisition. The Variable Media Questionnaire could greatly benefit from incorporating a section specifically tailored to the creative process, paying close attention to the junctions in which decision-making takes place, which could greatly inform the future understanding of the artwork.


The DOCAM Documentation model is optimal for capturing variable media. Documents that are regularly accepted by the model include “the artist’s original documentation for a work  (e.g. models, simulations, interviews, etc.), documentation related to hardware (e.g. equipment manuals, vendors and suppliers), exhibition parameters (e.g. physical space, budget,) and environmental parameters (e.g. acoustics, paint colors)” (45). The flexibility of the documentation that is accepted lends itself to the various methods in which the creative process is documented. 

With that being said, the DOCAM model has problematic elements that render the model less than ideal for documenting the creative process. The DOCAM model is successful in “illustra[ting] the links between the work’s documents, producers, life cycle steps, successive iterations, and components” (46) [throughout its lifecycle]… it “brings together, organizes and makes accessible the documentation created by various contributors throughout the lifecycle of a media artwork” (47). But this also has drawbacks. The model’s visual interface organizes the lifecycle of an artist’s work into four categories: creation, dissemination, research and custody. Although each record must fit into a subcategory of one of the four categories of a work’s perceived lifecycle, each document can have multiple agents. Adopting a visualization model that allows for more fluidity between designating a record’s multiple functions, as it does for specifying agents, would render the model more optimal for representing documentation of the creative process.

Other issues stem from DOCAM’s visualization of the lifecycle of an artwork and its records. For example, the model distinguishes conception from production in the creation stage of the model. As highlighted in the artist case study and corresponding literature, the line between conception and production is blurred, and there are many other steps that occur throughout the creative process that are not properly represented in the model. An examination of a DOCAM case study on David Rokeby, Machine for Taking Time (Boul. Saint-Laurent) exemplifies the limits of the DOCAM documentation model for documenting the creative process. While correspondences between the artist and curator are considered a part of the creation stage, and subcategorized as the conception stage, the correspondences detailing technical requirements can be immensely useful during other stages of the process. 

TATE’s Strategy for the Documentation and Conservation of Performance

The Tate’s Strategy for the Documentation and Conservation of Performance is a method of documenting performance, which diverges from the purpose of the first two documentation models analyzed in this case study in that it shifts its focus from digital-born works to performance art. With that being said, the TATE considers performance a time-based media, and defines it as encompassing “more perennial materializations” in conjunction with ephemeral ones (48). Examining methods for documenting performance in a difference context expands the reach of my research.

The Tate’s Strategy for the Documentation and Conservation of Performance has three “key areas”: documentation, capture of performance and workflows. Unlike many previous forms of documentation, the Strategy addresses the importance of a time-based analysis and method of capturing a process. The documentation section of the Strategy consists of The Performance Specification, The Activation Report, and a Map of Interactions – a thoughtful and interweaving strategy that acknowledges the presence of time and nonlinear nature of time-based media. With that being said, there is no section considering the creative process, nor is there a section specifically considering music or sound. Ultimately, the tool is myopic – it was developed with the threat of ephemerality, rather than digital obsolescence in mind. Its object is the performance itself rather than the process surrounding it.

LIMA Documentation Model

Although LIMA does not currently document the creative process, the infrastructure of its current documentation strategy for variable media is flexible enough to accommodate the creative process. The documentation model itself is a unique model that takes into consideration research and recommendations from DOCAM, and in cooperation with SMBK, Tate and INCAA, among other organizations.

LIMA’s documentation package currently consists of several tools for describing media art. This includes extensive metadata such as “context, content, structure, form of information and its management over time with key information around the title, artist, institutions and producers, year of production, content description, keywords, describing the manifestation, item and components, technical data and requirements” (49). Additionally, viewing reports, an intake checklist with questions about equipment, artist interviews (which becomes a document/video), a case study report, video documentation for future presentation, and photographs and texts. In the Description section, descriptions of the work as well as the history of the artwork’s development & description of the work in relation to the artist’s oeuvre are considered. The History of the Installation includes reconstruction of installation moments and video registration and documentation, while the registration of artwork components includes identifying and technical specification, as well as instructions on installation and preservation recommendations. The appendix to registration includes an interactivity script and the intended role of the audience, as well as an installation manual and instructions. Lastly, the package includes the source code and program backups, as well as the complete system backup. 

Case Study Reflection:

Although all of the models examined are flexible enough for documenting variable media, each have common issues in terms of lifecycle and emphasis. All documentation models assessed (besides DOCAM) begin the documentation lifecycle post-acquisition. DOCAM, which begins collecting documents at creation, categorizes creation into two parts: as either conception or production, but never as both. This greatly limits the flexibility of documents to take on multiple roles beyond their primary use, such as instructions or technical requirements. The Variable Media Questionnaire faces the same issue, while the TATE’s Strategy does not have the infrastructure to categorize or visualize such information. Documentation is defined as “a source of information that may fill in many roles, depending on its use and timing” (50). As such, the documentation strategy employed by LIMA must be reflective of the variability of documentation in its usage. The strategy must acknowledge that not only does the creative process take place up until the delivery of an artwork, but also documentation of the creative process is not limited to materials that serve the sole purpose of documenting the creative process. As demonstrated in this research, instructions, scores, technical instructions and other various materials employed to inform other aspects of the work can also contain details about the creative process. Allowing for documents supporting the creative process to be categorized in several categories would rectify a limitation of the currently available documentation platforms, and increase the availability of information supporting the creative process. Flexibility within the visualization interface should ultimately be a goal for the organization (51).

40. Laurenson, 1.

41. “Background,” Variable Media Questionnaire,

42. Gaby Wijers, Vivian van Saaze and Annet Dekker, “The Art of Documentation,” 24.

43. Caitlin Jones, “Surveying the State of Art (of Documentation),” La Fondation Daniel Langlois (2008),

44.  Gaby Wijers, Vivian van Saaze and Annet Dekker, “The Art of Documentation,” 24.

45. Jones.

46. “DOCAM Documentation Model,” DOCAM,

47. Ibid.

48. “Strategy and Glossary of Terms for the Documentation and Conservation of Performance,” Documentation and Conservation of Performance (March 2016 – March 2021), a Time-based Media Conservation project at Tate,

49. LIMA, “Documenting Digital Art” Powerpoint.

50. “Documentation,” DOCAM.

51. Both the DOCAM Documentation Model and the Variable Media Questionnaire are most successful in the ease in which one can control the visual interface. 


As demonstrated, the creative process varies for every artist. My recommendation approaches the creative process by first understanding where decisions are made, then inquiring about the process by which an artist came to their decisions. This was implemented in artist case studies with Zeno van den Broek, Mark IJzerman and Sébastien Robert, where I reduced the most essential elements of the artwork to an equation, and then developed an approach to capturing the decision-making process for each major element.

My recommendations to LIMA as to how to document the creative process for live audio-visual performances are as follows:

First, artists should be encouraged to provide copies of whatever documentation feels relevant to their process. This includes documents and ephemera such as notes, drawings, film, photographs, aural and written commentaries, instructions, scores and any source materials that could inform the decision-making process (52). Once information is documented, it should be available to both artists and the organization, but not to the public, (unless previous arrangements have been made) as to respect the privacy and mystery of the creative process. Classification schemes for documents should be flexible enough to allow for multiple uses of any document.

Second, I recommend introducing a new approach to documentation for sound spectra as detailed in a previous section. Spectromorphological analysis is a step in the right direction for emphasizing and documenting the musical aspects of live audio-visual performances proportionally to the other aspects of the artwork.

Third, inspired by my case studies, an interview in the form of a one-on-one conversation between an artist and a representative of the organization can provide an immense amount of insight into the decision making progress, intentionality and authenticity. Although LIMA already conducts an artist interview, the current interview is concerned with the work post-acquisition. Introducing an additional interview that takes place during the creative process, before the work has been delivered or premiered, will supplement any documents representing the artist’s creative process. In the following subsections, I detail the recommended interview process as a supplement to LIMA’s preexisting documentation strategy.


In addition to collecting any documents or ephemera that artists used or produced to capture their creative process, an interview that divulges and explicates specific aspects of an artist's creative process is absolutely necessary. In theory, my recommendation to LIMA would include several interviews throughout the creative process to capture the decision-making in real time. However, under the constraints of a small organization with finite resources, a more realistic approach would be to conduct one interview using recommended questions as a guiding principle. 

Both my case study and literature point to person to person interviews as best practices for documenting the creative process accurately. The format of an interview places the responsibility on both the artist and the organization, a wish that was articulated by all artists participating in the artist case study.

  The method of interview has been embraced by artists and conservators alike as the most effect method of knowledge transfer, and has been proven as a reliable source for acquiring technical and content-related information, especially for conservation. Applying a similar approach to the creative process is a natural crossover. Several guidelines for the artist interview should be applied to the documentation of the creative process. These include: “•Identify common goal: preservation of physical object along with artist’s intent.

• Focus on materials, processes, and tools

• Inquire about artist’s intent and aesthetics

• Allow artist to consider his/her choice of materials

• Observe development of work in progress

• Include artwork, tools, and materials (props to illustrate points)

• Ask how he/she makes material selections

•Ask if he/she has taken recommendations from anyone: other artists (54)”

Interview Questions

Interview questions are not proposed as an alternative to physical documentation of the creative process; rather, interview questions are supplemental. Results from my artist case study indicate that artists document and articulate their creative process in varying modes; likewise, evidence of the creative process is often immaterial. This strategy accounts for the certitude that “the concept of evidence has two equally operative components, presence and absence” (55). An “evidence-based reading of artists’ records [is often] based solely on the documents and information present in the archives” (56). While there is much to be said about the value of absence, interview questions eliminate much uncertainty that arises from absences, and help to fill in the blanks where material evidence falls short. With that being said, interview questions can also bring to light the reasoning behind absence.

Interview questions were written and assessed upon whether or not they fit guidelines established by literature and artist interviews. Questions should pertain to the following subjects: source material, interest, angle, approach, collaboration, intent, decision-making, invisible decision-making, research, format, confines, context, selection, reuse, materials, representation, evolution, negotiations, absences, dynamics between performers, dynamics between audience and performer. Not all interview questions will be pertinent to every artwork. Questions should be asked in a non-hierarchical or chronilclogical order. Case study results point to the benefits of flexibility – conversations should flow, and artists should feel the freedom to jump between questions and topics. Order is limiting, as it detracts from an artist’s mode of expression.

Recommended questions follow:


-What negotiations were made during the ideation and art making process?

-How did these negations manifest in the artwork?


-How was research conducted?

-Did you encounter any bias during this stage?

-How did you choose your sources?

Source Material:

-What interests you about the source material?

-Why did you choose to represent some source material over other materials?

-Why did you choose to represent source material as part of your practice?


-what was the process of realizing intent?

-How did you come to form your angle for this artwork?

-Was the goal of the artwork developed during the creative process?

-Does the goal of the artwork serve a clear or abstract agenda?


-Why are certain materials take preference over others?

-Why did you select, reuse or rework materials? 

-Why did you create these materials yourself?


-Why did you decide on this presentation format over others?

-How does the format of this artwork inform the source material?

-How important is the format of this artwork to its integrity?

-What elements influenced your decision to present your artwork as a live audio-visual performance?

-Are there other formats that you experimented with that either worked or did not work?


How did the context of this artwork shape your creative process?


Why did you choose your specific methodological approach to this artwork?

How does methodology fit in to your creative process?


-Which factors informed the decision for collaboration?

-Which choices did you make that diverged from the group?

-Did collaboration change the original intention of the artwork?

-What is the intended role for each member? 


How is the spectromorphological spectrum of the artwork intended?

How does the signal process characterize the artwork?

What are the musical properties of the artwork?

Are there musical limits or barriers that inform the artwork?


What are the attributes of performance that characterize the artwork?

Why did you chose a performance as the artwork’s form?

Are there any aspects of the work that do not need to be performed?

What do you see your role as in the performance?

What is the approach to the live elements of the performance (i.e. generative, indeterminate)? How did you come to this decision? What is their role in the integrity of the artwork?


What elements contributed to the timing of this performance?

How important is timing to the integrity of the performance?


What elements informed the scale of the artwork?


Have you made personal progress throughout the creative process of this artwork?

How has your artmaking progressed throughout this artwork’s creative process?

Do you work on one artwork at a time, or are there other artworks that you are currently working on? If so, how do they influence this artwork?


What is your creative process?

How do you record your creative process?

What is the role of others in your process?


Without the creative process, there is no artwork. But without the artwork, what remains? Can a detailed report and analysis of decisions made during an artist's creative process inform the future of an artwork beyond the capabilities of current documentation strategies? My artist case study and literature review point towards the benefits of documenting the creative process as a method of understanding decision-making, which is sometimes all the remains once an artwork is no longer present. Documenting the creative process for live audio-visual performances, which are notably under-represented in the research field, can only increase an organization’s grasp of an artwork under the threat of digital obsolescence and ephemerality. 

The goal of my research was twofold: to learn what information is needed to accurately and authentically document the creative process of a live audio-visual performance, and to recommend to LIMA how they can integrate the documentation of the creative process into their preexisting documentation strategy. My artist case studies and literature review points towards 15 nonconsecutive attributes of live audio-visual performances, and suggests accompanying questions for the organization to ask artists that capture the creative process behind each decision. My suggestion to LIMA includes an interview, a flexible method of capturing accompanying documentation and an emphasis on documenting the musical components of the artwork. “Thickly” documenting a live audio-visual performance is contingent on asking relevant questions, and collecting pertinent documentation that expands upon process. This will improve LIMA’s documentation strategy for live audio-visual performance substantially.

52. Rebecca Fortnum and Chris Smith, “The Problem of Documenting Fine Art Practices and Processes,” Journal of Visual Arts Practice 6, no. 3 (2007): 167-174.

53. See Lydia Beerkens et al., The Artist Interview. For Conservation and Presentation of Contemporary Art. Guidelines and Practice (Prinsenbeek: Jap Sam Books, 2012); Samantha Sheesley, “Artist Interviews as Tools for Diligent Conservation Practice,” The Book and Paper Group Annual 26 (2007) 161–65,

54. Sheesley, 163.

55. Ann Butler, “Artwork or Documentation: Artists’ Records as an Extension of the Artwork.” Paper presented at  Artists’ Records in the Archives, New York, 11-12 October, 2011.

56. Butler.


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