Things decay. Iron corrodes, reacts with the oxygen in the surrounding air, astoundingly what guarantees life on this planet destroys a metal humans see as symbol for strength, iron-willed iron-clad iron-fists ironing out any trace of irony, that’s when the heroes take over and culture, style and humanity take a break.
As I already mentioned, Plastics do rot away too, I found new texts concerning this topic, at the The Getty and the Victoria and Albert.
Museums store things according to the material they mainly consist of – stones, wooden things, metal objects, ceramics, paintings etc. are kept in single departements where the (nearly) optimal environmental requirements can be procured.
A bit difficile are photographic materials, positives, negatives, glass plates, films, different papers etc. partly treated with an exotic mix of chemicals that in the long run can still react. Film material is not only eaten by fungi – to be correct: The gelatine layer is munched away by Penicillium and others – but the film itself based on nitrocellulose (Ger., Eng.) is highly inflammable and even explosive. If you find some film boxes and want to know what’s inside you do not have to be afraid that they will explode into your face. But you should wear gloves and be careful.
Lyrical Nitrate (Eng.) by DELPEUT and Decasia (Eng.) by MORRISON (Eng.) use such decaying materials to form something new. Searching for “Decasia” on youtube gets some interesting results, DELPEUT’s film is seemingly not there (I am not sure whether this “paradise-lost”-scene is an outtake, the children-exhibition is nice). In the end it’s only shadows on a cave’s wall.