The imai foundation was established in 2006 in order to promote the distribution, preservation, and public awareness of media art. An indispensable basis for imai is the video art collection of the Cologne media art agency 235 Media. The collection and the structure of distribution associated with it were built up beginning in the 1980s and were transferred to the imai foundation – through support from the Kunststiftung NRW (Art Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia), the Kulturstiftung der Länder (Cultural Foundation of the Federal States), and through cooperative agreements with the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf and the Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast.
The archive maintained by imai encompasses approximately 3000 artistic and documentary works which provide a broad overview of the development of video art all the way from the pioneering era of the 1960s right up to the present day. Upon request, the archive inventory is available for research and scholarly purposes as well as for seminars. More than 1300 works from the collection can be viewed online free of charge via the imai Online-Katalog .
imai conducts studies devoted to the conservation and restoration of video art on a regular basis, and presents workshops and symposia which propose up-to-date solutions. Regular exhibitions, screenings, and publications provide insights into the comprehensive archival inventory of imai.