Digital Art Conservation. The Challenges of Conservation
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe
Espace Multimédia Gantner, Bourogne
House of Electronic Arts Basel
Digital Art Works. The Challenges of Conservation
How can digital data be secured in the long term if one's new laptop is already obsolete the moment it leaves the store? This phenomenon also causes difficulties in art: What happens to net art once the internet environment for which it was conceived has changed? Should artworks which were once developed for the PC be shown on an iPad? The exhibition “Digital Art Works. The Challenges of Conservation” fundamentally explores questions related to collecting, exhibiting, and preserving computer-based art works and sheds light on the work revolving around digital art conservation.
For a few decades now, digitalization has enabled and simplified the processing and distribution of data; digital data are available on the internet for all users at all times. However, the conservation of digital content has been subject to an increasingly rapid adaptation to new technical systems. This circumstance creates uncertainty concerning the sustainability of our cultural memory.
On the basis of ten case studies, the partner institutions of the project “digital art conservation” have tested a variety of strategies for the long-term conservation of these art works, which are rendered fragile by the rapid pace of technological change. The ten case studies form the core of “Digital Art Works. The Challenges of Conservation”; they open up the broad spectrum of problems in the conservation of digital art and point to the necessity of preservation. Paired with a didactic “documentation area”, the art works themselves will be the focus of exhibition: classics such as Nam June Paik's “Internet Dream” or Jeffrey Shaw's “The Legible City” will be presented as will be more recent works by the Dutch artist duo Jodi, or the French artist Antoine Schmitt. “Digital Art Works”, then, stays abreast of an art genre that is representative of our age and art form's life of its own both inside and outside of the museum.
The exhibition is accompanied by a supporting program that is directed at schools, young people and adults. Additionally, a lecture series will deal with special themes addressed in the exhibition.