MAC interview

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Informing, promoting and conserving contemporary Quebec art

The Contemporary Art Museum of Montreal was founded by the Government of Quebec in 1964. Its function is to inform, promote and conserve contemporary Quebec art, and to ensure an international contemporary art presence through acquisitions, exhibitions and other activities. With nearly 8000 works, the collection includes contributions by major figures of Quebec and Canadian Art, as well as works by international artists of great renown. It includes works on paper, paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations, videographic and cinematic works and works of various media and techniques, including new technologies.

The Mimsy relational database has been used by the Museum since the early 2000s. In 2004-2005, a data migration was carried out to Mimsy XG. This system manages data about the works in the collection, the artists, events, publications, etc., as well as operational information associated with the collections or with works presented at the Museum during temporary exhibitions.

The Museum is currently working to consolidate its various databases and to collate, validate, document and digitise contents and media of all kinds within a centralised Mimsy XG system. This vast digital project aims to open multiple perspectives on the collection by facilitating in-house research and content dissemination, as well as increasing visibility through digital platforms and mediation tools for the general public. Mimsy XG allows the integration and viewing of the collection’s newly digitised video works, audiovisual recordings related to major events from the Museum’s programming (performances, lectures and seminars with artists), as well as access to digitised publications such as exhibition catalogues. It has also helped with development of a specific view for managing artists’ Archives. This view is used to describe all levels (fonds, series, file, etc.) and to link them together. Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, note books and learning logs from the artist Paul Émile Borduas’ archives – a major figure in the history of Quebec and Canadian art, leader of the Automatist movement and lead author of the manifesto Refus Global (Total Refusal) – will in particular be consultable in digital format directly from the database.

Access to various media via the collections management system goes hand in hand with contemporary art. Mimsy XG allows us to view the entire collection of video works from the Museum, the video recordings showing the installations set up and also to listen to soundtracks. Curators can quickly grasp the essence of a work. This is a very powerful tool.

Anne-Marie Zeppetelli Collections and Information Resources Manager, MAC

Among the major digital projects in progress, the Museum is preparing the online publication of a selection of major works from its collection on its corporate website. Programming an interface between Mimsy XG and the web platform will serve as a “bridge” for the transfer and regular update of data. With this new showcase of the collections, a broad audience will not only be able to discover the works and artists, but also to access a myriad of rich content. In addition, and to facilitate research, the Museum will provide Internet users with links to collection data from Mimsy XG.

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