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83 speculative scenarios

As the scope and content of the vocabulary of these archives varied greatly, one of the buzzwords at that time was ‘interoperability’, technologically as well as in ‘terms of terms’. In relation to terminologies the ‘lack of a standard vocabulary’ was considered a main obstacle to establishing connections between archives: Everyone used different

6 V2_ (2003) Deliverable 1.2. Documentation and capturing methods for unstable media arts, p. 9. publishing/articles/1_2_capturing. pdf/view?searchterm=deliverable.

labels for similar things, sometimes for the same artworks.6 The hope was that interoperability between the archives would be enhanced through a merging and solidification of terms. But is it really desirable to have a standard vocabulary and flatten possible interpretations by selecting a single preferred one? My research showed that only ten terms were shared by all databases. These included Artificial Life, Surveillance and Virtual Reality. Many were quite unspecific or very general (Animation, Performance, Television, Collaboration); others reflected more on digital archiving itself (Archive, Database, History). At the other end of the spectrum, terms that were specific to one database archive only provided insight into the focus of that individual archive. I found these terms much more interesting than the shared ones. Moreover, juxtaposing the different attributes each archive contributed to a richer understanding of an artwork. These non-shared terms offered the opportunity to identify certain interpretations as, for example, the Langlois Foundation’s or Rhizome’s. This shifted the anonymous, truth-indicating notion of a single archive’s terminology back into perspective as being one interpretation of several other equally adequate ones. Such a perspective was missing at the level of an individual database’s specific terminology; this type of insight would also have been thwarted if a uni­ forming standard terminology had been applied. On the  specu­­­ lative meta level I created, a multitude of relations and comparisons could be drawn and thus a kind of interoperability was achieved that was simultaneously based on overlaps as well as differences. I’d like to return this comparative discourse to singular database archive categories. Categories are a way of gaining an overview of a system. Mapping the territory of an archive in such a way is achieved by reducing complexity. This provides a benefit on the macro level, but has the opposite effect on the micro level of individual projects

Speculative Scenarios — Edited by Annet Dekker  

There is a growing understanding of the use of technological tools for dissemination or mediation in the museum, but artistic experiences th...

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