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92 archive & memory (3)

realm of pure documentation. A different artist will allow future conservators to migrate their code endlessly as long as parameters X and Y are preserved in each manifestation. A third artist might allow his or her work to birth successive generations of derivatives and remixes because their real project is to interrogate these very boundaries. In the book you also propose reinventing the notion, or canon, of social memory. How do you think social memory will help museums, and individual artists, to better safeguard their artworks? In other words, what are the stakes involved for a future preservation that is based on social memory?  Social memory is the long-term memory of civilizations, and the preservation of cultural artefacts (artworks) is one way in which social memory is practiced. Traditional approaches to art preservation serve social memory, but, as Jon and I argue in our upcoming book Re-collection: New Media, Art, and Social Memory, these traditional approaches need to be updated (not just adapted) if they are going to work for new media art. Moreover, these necessary updates are not purely technical or logistical; they occasion our re-thinking of how art preservation serves social memory in the larger sense. One of the arguments you must have heard a lot is that memory is unreliable. It could lead to a mystification of a work or past experience, or important aspects are (purposely) forgotten or changed. What is your take on this? Yes, Jon and I have heard the critique that the Variable Media approach leads to artworks becoming purely conceptual entities whose future manifestations become subject to the arbitrary whims of future curators. However, we argue a) that this is already happening with regard to new media art because preserving the ‘original’ form at all levels is a delusion, and b) recognising the inherent variability in media art will allow us to better control the fluidity (or ‘mystification) of artworks. Galleries and museums already

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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