Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime-ann> London :: documenting and archiving - results archive 2020
Mason Dixon on Fri, 19 Jun 2009 01:32:59 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime-ann> London :: documenting and archiving - results archive 2020


Please note that the last Thursday club of this term will be.


Goldsmiths, University of London
Ben Pimlott lecture theatre
7pm start

All welcome and free

Theorizing Performance in Virtual Spaces

The presentation will describe and analyze the theoretical issues for
Performance Studies posed by new genres of performance in virtual
environments, such as Second Life. We will also demonstrate
the technological modifications to Second Life that our team has developed
to facilitate a new form of mediated performance and outline the
experiments that we have initiated to take advantage of this technology.
Utilizing a panel discussion format involving live participants and
avatars in Second Life, our presentation aims to shed light on the unique
opportunities provided by virtual environments in formulating new
approaches to theorizing contemporary performance practices.   A
fundamental premise of the discipline of Performance Studies is that
theory is enlivened and most rigorously tested when it hits the ground in practice. We at Georgia Tech have a particular opportunity to test that
premise, because our institution is a meeting ground for technological
practice and critical reflection.

The Augmented Environments Lab (AEL) and the Wesley Center for New Media
are in the process of developing technological modifications to Second
Life that will facilitate a new form of mediated performance, one in which actors and audience share a performance space that is both physical and virtual. We are already planning performances that will take advantage of
this technology: these performances will be a negotiation between
professional improv artists in the city of Atlanta and technologists here
at Georgia Tech.

Members of the team presenting are

Kathryn Farley, Prof. Jay Bolter, Professor Michael Nitsche and grad.
student Jenifer Vandagriff.

Web site for the project: http://arsecondlife.gvu.gatech.edu

On Wed, June 17, 2009 3:13 pm, Kelli Dipple wrote:
It's an interesting discussion.

Often times net art is more than just a website. Works are often
conceptual or performative, involving elements that are not well captured within the browser interface. Take some of the early works commissioned by
Tate, for example.

Looking at the archived websites linked to from the Tate website it is difficult to understand the performative intervention that Graham Harwood's work 'Uncomfortable Proximity' executed, when it randomly opened in place of the formal Tate site, for every 10th visitor. The work was a replica of the Tate site as it existed then, with poignant variations to the imagery and text within. However the Tate site has changed a lot in terms of the way it looks and navigates, 8 years on and this relationship is lost in
the current archive, unless one reads the accompanying text.

There is no documentation of Susan Collin's year long performance as the Director of 'Tate in Space', although a text-based interview reveals the act. This project was launched at the time, with a media release stating, as a fact, that Tate was planning to launch an actual Tate in space. There was an architecture competition, live forums, satellite sightings etc...
Even though we still, on occasion, receive enquiries
about this project, as if it were a real thing (believe it or not), I think that much of the narrative and irony involved in this work is in danger of
being lost in archive as a website on its own.

Every work is different and of course many net art pieces are complete within the browser. It would be difficult to evolve a blanket strategy that
would be suitable for all works. In each case a different sort of
evidence/reference/archive/documentation may be required.

I think documentation is an important consideration in commissioning new work and yet it raises interesting philosophical questions around notions of authenticity and how one might define what the work is. Difficulties
can also arise in terms of ownership, depending on who produces the
documentation. One can employ open content models, but ultimately this
decision is in the hands of the artist/author of the original work.

Documentation can be many things... anecdotal, technical, descriptive...

It is rarely impartial though. An authoritive, tightly edited film about an artist's work, compared to a more informal interview, a recording of the
artist speaking in front of a live audience, in discussion with an
interviewer or a conservator, or a bunch of mobile phone videos uploaded to YouTube by audience members will all give different insights into the

The notion of a networked model put forward in Annet's summery is an
important point. Centralisation and autonomy can put things at greater

Ironically methods employed by other sectors, say archaeology, often
involve digitization. Capturing a stone wall that has lasted a million years, for example, and transcoding it into a short-lived digital format.
I can't help but view the irony in this, but these activities
are often tightly linked to issues of access rather than preservation.

I am struck by the idea proposed in Annet's outline of thinking about
'permanent access' rather than 'digital preservation'. Is access about permenace? (certainly not in the case above) / or indeed, is permenace
about access?

Challenging our established notions of permenace may well be useful.


-----Original Message-----
From: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org
[mailto:NEW-MEDIA-CURATING {AT} JISCMAIL.AC.UK] On Behalf Of Caroline Langill
Sent: 17 June 2009 12:58
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] documenting and archiving - results
archive 2020

I think Myron is correct, there is something needed which moves beyond
classification and nomenclature.

It is for this reason I did extensive interviews with the artists whose
work I chose for my Shifting Polarities project. For those of you not
familiar with it, I named exemplary works of Canadian electronic media art
from the 1970s and 1980s. The interviews contextualize the artist's
practice and then offer anecdotal, as well as important historical
information, about the chosen work's conceptualization and fabrication.
Availability of these interviews online (for how long though is a
question) enables scholars to situate the work beyond a taxonomic

Also, and this goes back to a conversation I had with Simon Werrett on
the Banff shuttle at Refresh!, works could be kept in a degraded
dysfunctional state in order to keep the technical components available.
Simon pointed out that for scientific historians the components of
scientific instruments - even fasteners - contain important historial
information which speak very specifically about the historical narrative
of the instrument. We could apply similar thinking to new media works
which are no longer active.

Finally, we lost an important artist in Canada recently. Juan Geuer, who
worked with optics, lasers, and seismic sensors to produce exquisite
real-time projections of the earth's activity, to name one part of his practice, passed away on May 2nd at the age of 92. Now, Juan was active until the day he died, so there is a vast body of work which now needs to be dealt with, placed in museums, etc. One of his works is permanently installed in a basement gallery of the Ottawa Art Gallery. The work, Al
Asnaan, has a very sensitive horizontal pendulum which
senses the earth's movement, but also the movement of the audience in the gallery (this work is very close to the earth's surface since Ottawa sits on the Canadian Shield). The work is very complex to install and Juan, because he lived for so long, was solely responsible for installing and
maintaining the work. Anyone can see what is coming here. The gallery
realized, due to his advancing years, that they would need to have a
record of his knowledge, beyond the owner's manual accompanying the work.
They had the foresight to make a videotape (is
that what we call it now?) of Juan installing the work, two weeks prior to
his passing. The video document will provide details which will be
integral to an understanding of the work, not just in terms of setting it up in the gallery, but also how the artist's hand produced, and maintained
a relationship with it.

I expand on with some of these questions in an upcoming article in

Here are some links related to what I've been talking about above:

Shifting Polarities:

Juan Geuer: www.juangeuer.com (make sure you scroll down beyond Juan's
photograph to get to the website link).

All for now,


Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 10:12:04 -0500
From: mturner {AT} CC.UMANITOBA.CA
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] documenting and archiving - results

I've been following along and recall that we've had similar
discussions in the past, often cropping up when we've attempted to come to terms with just what net art is. We do of course need techniques for descriptive documentation of projects. But I think there's a need for
more than just taxonomic and technical description.

If the physical presence of a work is going to disappear or almost
disappear, it's important to have descriptive responses which recreate
the presence of
the work and the contexts which informed it.   This would take some
curatorial management, but the tools are there for involving audience
and developers.

Myron turner

Sarah Cook wrote:

Sandra Fauconnier and Gaby Wijers at NIMK: how has involving the
public in curatorial selection of works in the archive (through the new
mediatheque, or curator for a day project, for instance) led to new
ways of thinking about preservation and documentation of the works?
Can you tell us a bit about inside-installations.org and the
OASIS project (Open Archiving System with Internet Sharing)?

Aymeric Mansoux at GOTO10: do you think the idea of 'open-sourcing'
documentation tasks, by distributing them to the makers/ developers, is
a good solution?

any thoughts from any others would be great too, thanks sarah


Myron Turner
Searchable Database of Art and New Media News Feeds Over 500,000 news items supplied in response to queries http://net18reaching.org/ artrss

nettime-ann mailing list
nettime-ann {AT} nettime.org