Fragile Permanence. Moving between objects and networked processes

Published on June 19th, 2016


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What can be done if the technology is already out of date the moment you switch on the computer? How do we deal with works of art that are dependent on proprietary software that’s no longer being updated by its manufacturers, or whose manufacturer no longer exists? How can net-based projects be preserved for the future?

Conservation Piece(s) – Conference on the preservation of performative media
date: 27 June 2016
time: 09:30 – 18:00

Digital art, in its countless manifestations, has become a household word in creative production; its cultural relevance is unquestioned. But its conservation does present new challenges to museums and collections alike: After all, we are not talking about static objects that can be “stabilized” in the classical sense; rather, digital art is akin to performance, because new conditions can arise in each process or each performance. What can be done if the technology is already out of date the moment you switch on the computer? How do we deal with works of art that are dependent on proprietary software that’s no longer being updated by its manufacturers, or whose manufacturer no longer exists? How can net-based projects be preserved for the future?

These complex themes are to be the focus of a conference on the preservation of digital art, sponsored by the HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel) in cooperation with the department of conservation and restoration at the Bern School of Arts. Theoretical impulses and practical examples will be examined.  As a prelude to the series “Conservation Piece(s)” the event aims to bring together conservationists, theoreticians and intuitions with experience in digital culture and technology, to examine the current state of affairs in this field; to draw lessons from current projects; to provide a glimpse of new conservation strategies; and to promote cooperation between institutions in the field.

Speakers:
Yves Bernard (iMAL, Brussels), Annet Dekker (free curator and scientist, team member of “Digital Preservation” at Tate, London), Dragan Espenschied (Rhizome, New York), Agathe Jarczyk (Hochschule der Künste, Bern), Frieder Nake (pioneer of computer art, Universität Bremen), Klaus Rechert (Universität Freiburg – bwFLA), and more.

Course: 
Introduction to CD-ROM art, conservation of a CD-ROM, obtaining an environment for software execution, appraisal, exhibition, web; Q/A
Duration: 2h
Directors of the workshop: Dragan Espenschied and Klaus Rechert
The use of emulation—meaning software that can be used to make one computer behave like another—has become much simpler thanks to the development of new frameworks that are especially designed to preserve digital artifacts. Using CD-ROM art from the 1990s, a workshop will show how institutions can use emulation to preserve the functionality of such works for internal evaluation, for local exhibitions or for public access. Use of the framework bwFLA/Emulation is made possible by the Universität Freiburg.

Location:
HeK (Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel)
Freilager-Platz 9
CH-4142 Münchenstein/Basel


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