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Saturday, June 1 • 10:00am - 10:30am
(Electronic Media) FUTURE, or how to live Forever

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Net artist Igor Stromajer started to delete all of his net artworks in 2010. Over a period of 37 days he deleted one of his artworks each day, from the conviction that “if one can create art, one can also delete it. Memory is there to deceive”. Other artists like Constant Dullaart and Robert Sakrowski are giving people guidelines on how best to document their, or other people’s, net artworks. Their approach of subjective documenting, and straightforward collecting of meta data is aimed at the participation and exchange of the collected documentation by all parties interested in preservation of Internet based artworks. At the same time more and more net artists are translating their online artwork into objects, sculptures and installations, experimenting with ways to present and document their work for future generations.

In the last decade a discussion on how to preserve net art for the future is also starting to emerge in museums for contemporary art. This growing attention is wonderful and more than justified, but most methods still depart from the ‘final’ project, albeit static, variable or networked. What has been given little attention is the ways these works are made (produced) or documented by artists. In this paper I will argue that the way artists make, use and present their documentation, from the work in progress to the final presentation, can give a lot of information about the work, which is of vital importance for the preservation or recreation of a work. By analyzing artists’ documentation methods and comparing these to the information that is asked for in traditional museum documentation models showed that specific and inherent qualities of the artworks are not taken into account in the models up till now. For example, closer analysis of Blast Theory’s creative processes indicated that integral information might get lost when using standard questionnaires or applying emulation methods that transfer the game-play to new platforms.

In this paper I will trace and map out the consequences for conservation by analysing the multiplayer game Naked on Pluto, a work that is based on process and relies on a commercial and restricted online platform; Facebook. Although this is a rather extreme case study, because there is still little analytical reflection on artworks that proliferate on commercial social media platforms let alone interest of museums for presentation or acquisition of these works, I will show that this practice is gaining attention with artists and thus can be regarded as paradigmatic for contemporary artworks. When it comes to born-digital artworks, conservation has missed the ability to understand the specific and large-scale changes that computational culture has brought about. Most practices still depart from the traditional object oriented way of dealing with the artwork and fail to understand computing as inherently cultural, social, networked and process based. I argue for a conservation practice that departs from the digitally native and adopts similar strategies. Instead of working towards an object-oriented approach of fixation I propose to focus on documenting the process and experience of a work, i.e. keeping knowledge and memory alive but accepting a loss in history.

avatar for Annet Dekker

Annet Dekker

Arts Professional, University of Amsterdam
Annet Dekker is an independent researcher and curator. She is currently Researcher Digital Preservation at Tate, London, Post-doc Research Fellow at London South Bank University / The Photographers Gallery, and core tutor at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (Master Media Design and... Read More →

Saturday June 1, 2013 10:00am - 10:30am EDT
JW Marriott Meeting Room 201-203 19 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

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