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Media Archive

; © documenta Archive; Ryszard Kasiewicz
Let's take a look in the slide cabinets of the documenta Archive which remain important, as they contain the original slides that have been digitized and now are available in the mediencluster-documenta.de database of the documenta Archive for researchers. These originals often include detailed information.

The Media Archive collects and preserves analogue and digital media from previous documenta exhibitions and makes them available to Archive visitors. Increasingly these are digital copies, but the archive also includes historical color slides, black and white photographs, negatives, diverse video and audio formats as well as some glass plates and records. These various media document exhibitions situations, individual artistic positions, visitors, luminaries and artists of the exhibition as well as the documenta's accompanying programs.

The Media Archive has unique holdings which offer a distinctive documentation of exhibition practices of the 20th and 21st centuries and provide a basis for diverse research efforts in art and cultural studies.

The contemporary witness interviews (audio and video files) being produced in connection with the My documenta project are also being archived. Thanks to an exemplary cooperation with the public television Station Hessischen Rundfunk (HR), the local public access television station in Kassel Offenen Kanal Kassel (OK) and Freien Radio Kassel (FRK), the multimedia holdings of the Archive are being continually expanded.

Acquisitions, gifts and the acceptance of bequests are also allowing ongoing growth in these holdings. Initiated at first through donations of the Kassel Rotarians and continued on a sustained scholarly basis through digitization funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the historical image holdings of the documenta are available in the multimedia database mediencluster-documenta.de for research and at the same time are protected there against decay. At present, the materials available online consist only of photos from documenta 1 - 5 as well as the videos of "100 Days, 100 Guests" from documenta 10.

Material from documenta 6 - 12 will be online soon as well: Punctually for the anniversary in summer 2015 = 60 years' documenta


Your photographs are present in our database?

You have found photographs that you have taken in our database and are surprised that nobody has asked your permission for them to be made available there? If this is the case, it means that we were unable to locate you, despite thoroughgoing efforts to contact you and all similarly involved persons.

We would therefore kindly ask your permission now after the fact that you allow your photographs to enrich our database and be made available for cultural research and teaching purposes. Please contact us. Our media archivist is your contact person. The release form, which we sign together with all holders of rights to photographs, can be found here:

Release Form for Photographers and Holders of Photographic Image Rights


Copyrights and on-site use of materials

A large portion of the image material can be made available for publication on the payment of the appropriate fees. Lending or copying of archival materials (audio, video or image material) is not possible due to applicable copyright law. By appointment, most of the holdings can be viewed free of charge in the rooms of the Archive.


Seminar room for lectures, group work and film showings

Thanks to our cooperation with the Kulturhaus Dock 4 ,  Archive guests can also listen to radio reports and view films in the Dock 4 conference room.   To use this space it is necessary to reserve the room and book it in advance.

The room is suitable for groups of up to 25 researchers or seminar participants who want to work in a concentrated way with holdings of the documenta.


Holdings of the Media Archive

  • Approx. 110000 digital images
  • Approx. 28000 35 mm slides
  • Approx. 500 medium format slides
  • Approx. 10000 black and white photographs
  • Approx. 1000 videos
  • Approx. 500 audio recordings

  • Fees

    Payment is necessary for certain services (e.g. copies and printing services). Please see our List of Fees and Prices. 

    Attention: As our website is under permanent construction, please have a look at our German version of this page as well.
    Veröffentlicht am:   28. 05. 2015  
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