DARIAH Connectivity day at Re
:Trace Conference for the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology
The 7th International Conference Re
The diverse challenges in documenting and preserving media art online and offline constitute one of the most important discourses within the various disciplines from art history, image sciences to information and computer studies. Due to its dynamic, ephemeral, complex and/or processual structure and conditionality founded in digital technologies as both
Media art can be both born-digital art as well as an image-carrier for
The theoretical and practical challenges of archiving media art were put into perspective by bringing together different stakeholders (scholars, artists, institutions) to discuss solutions for preservation methods in the long run in and outside of museums, and underline the importance of network strategies. As outlined in the DARIAH Re-Use Charter, future strategies and networks were discussed to archive media art as comprehensively as possible, and with open science methods to share media art with the public as active participant.
Lectures and interactive discussions were held on these topics with sessions on preservation strategies and dynamic archiving. In a poster presentation, over 20 emerging scholars from all over the world presented their theories, practices and research tools for media art archiving.
Programme in detail
The introductory keynote from Sarah Kenderdine (EPFL, CH) portrayed the different ways in which digital technologies are used to mediate cultural heritage works and sites and create immersive virtual experiences. Kenderdine also discussed how interpretative communities in often multicultural cities constructed meaning during their experience of these environments, stressing the importance of allowing viewers to become active participants of her artworks.
First session “Collection – Archiving – Preservation”
The four lecturers discussed recent tendencies in media art theory and aesthetics, and the relationship to archiving methods and exhibition strategies.
- Francesca Franco (Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, IT) presented curatorial practices from the exhibition “Algorithmic Signs”, which
thematisedearly media art from the 1960s and 70s. Focussing on the relationship between computer programming, art andcreativity, she argued for exhibiting media art by combining practices from contemporary art with interactive methods to incorporate media art more deeply into the discourses of contemporary art while being able to exhibit them in their intended implementation within a museum space.
- Giselle Beiguelman (FAU-USP, BR) questioned the sheer possibility of archiving media art in its conceptual and aesthetic core, and not only its outer appearance. While
analysingmedia art archives as databases to document the past, she argued for net artworks such as her own to be always processual and ephemeral and thereby situated in the space of the possible.
- From museum practices and artistic perspectives, Janina Hoth (ADA, AT) took a step back to look at these complex set of questions from a scholar’s point of view. After presenting several methods of documentation for media art, she critically reflected on the ideals of originality and authorship in regards to the collaborative and modular structures of media artworks. Hoth suggested an approach to media art
artefactsnot as original objects but open and re-usable data to not only archive media art in its current state but document its interactive and processual structure.
- Annet Dekker (Tate, UK) presented examples of light and dark archiving in artistic practices by introducing artworks, in which questions of data storage and archiving methods have become the subject of investigation in terms of data re-use, open access as well as restricted dark archives. Her analysis proved once more, how artistic practice, scholarly analysis
andtechnological research are intertwined.
Second session “Dynamic Archiving”
Artists and scholars from European and international key institutions presented their archive projects.
- Anne-Marie Duguet (Sorbonne, FR) talked about “
anarchive” – an archival project for media art even before Jacques Derrida’s canonical book “Archive Fever” was published. She stressed the importance of integrating artists into the archival process of their own work and argued for individual methods based on the single media artworks.
- George Legrady (UC Santa Barbara, US) presented
visualisationtechniques from his artistic work from more than two decades. Legrady worked with different kinds of archival data to develop his interactive works from pre-digital photography to installation. He also questioned the archival storage system on the Internet in regard to Big Data and surveillance techniques.
- Patricia FalÇao (Tate, UK) presented preservation projects, which are applied for time-based media artworks as a museum object. The preservation focuses not only on archiving the artwork in its conceptual and aesthetic
implementation,but as objectfor public exhibitions too. She focused on the changes to workflows and skills that are currently being implemented to mitigate the risks for the preservation of these types of works.
The final session invited participants from
- Howard Besser (founding director of the NYU Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, US), Max Thun-Hohenstein (director, Museum for applied arts Vienna, AT) and Patricia FalÇao stressed how museums still need to create new infrastructures to fully integrate media art into their exhibition spaces.
- Oliver Grau and Wendy Coones (Department for Image Science, Danube-U, AT) demanded a revised collection policy, which acknowledges media art as part of contemporary art and requires a European-wide network of collaboration due to the newly developing and complex preservation methods.
- Sarah Kenderdine and Giselle Beiguelman debated with audience members, whether museums are the only space for media art, and stressed the importance of online archives and exhibitions. Marianne Ping-Huang petitioned for
an integrationof online archives for media art suchthe Archive of Digital Art into repositories like Europeana.
The keynote from Martin Kemp (Oxford University, UK) introduced the audience to analysing and understanding (digital) cultural heritage with media art histories methods. Kemp presented his research between scientific progress and art history on Leonardo da Vinci’s oeuvre as both artist and inventor. Proving that research and technological process in the Digital Humanities is often ahead of its time, he showed groundbreaking digital animations from the 1980s and onwards that brought Leonardo’s sketches to life and offered a new approach to his inventive studies.
The DARIAH Working Group Image Science and Media Art Research invited participants to discuss the necessity of network structures to bring together the different stakeholders and combine efforts in collaborative research and funding. As a next step, the Archive of Digital Art (ADA) community was planned to be expanded to incorporate institutions and offer a digital space for open dialogues between all stakeholders for media art archiving.
The Connectivity day also resulted in a re-evaluation of the Liverpool declaration with regards to the DARIAH re-use charter. The goals in the declaration, which was signed by over 450 researchers worldwide, were widened to adapt research infrastructures within the wider context of DARIAH.