Founded in 1999, the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of digital art containing over 2,500 art works. Encompassing a vast range of projects from artists all over the world, the ArtBase provides an online home for works that employ materials such as software, code, websites, moving images, games and browsers towards aesthetic and critical ends. The mission of the ArtBase is to provide free, open, and permanent access to a living and historic collection of seminal new media art objects.

As any artist who has worked with technology for more than a few years can verify – things break. Browser support disappears, software compatibility changes, links expire. At Rhizome, we aim to ensure the longevity of these works, not only to ensure that years from now an accurate record of this period of creativity and culture exists, but also to enable researchers to interact with and observe these materials in their intended forms. Mitigating obsolescence while respecting artistic intent is a direct extension of Rhizome's primary mission of supporting and promoting art engaged with emerging technologies.

Artworks entered into the archive through artists submissions, annual commissions and special invitation. We welcome submissions to the ArtBase – they are reviewed by our curatorial staff on a regular basis.





We store a copy of the original artwork on ourservers, maintained by leading data storageprofessionals. During this stage, a descriptiverecord of the artwork is created, includingmeta-data about the artwork’s technology,content and context.

 

Works are checked for broken URLs ortechnological obsolescence. If repairs are needed,we create another copy of the original artworkand perform the necessary fixes on this copy. 

 

 

We then host the artwork here on our site,providing 24/7 free access and historic context. Our records areshared with other institutions in order topromote the artworks themselves, and to furthercataloging standards for new media and digitalart.

 


URLs: As long as the work’s original website remains online, we continue to direct visitors to this original site while also providing a link to our archived version of the work. In the event that a URL breaks or the artist can no longer maintain the work, we promote our archived copy of the artwork as the primary link.

SOURCE CODE: Our goal is to leave the original source code of an artwork intact and to always maintain original copies of an artwork’s files. We believe that an artwork’s source code is inextricably bound with the artist’s process and practice, and exemplifies the technological and cultural landscape in which the work was created. As such, source code should always be preserved. That said, there is a long tradition ofintervention in the preservation of traditional artworks, and we believe that suchpractices can also be used to preserve digital art. The need to leave codeuntouched is outweighed by the need to make these important works viewable inperpetuity. If an artwork needs to be updated to comply with contemporary technologies, we create a separate, specially-named copy of the work that we modify as needed, leaving the original file untouched and available online.

IN RESPECT OF THE ARTIST: We respect the artist’s intent and wishes for their artwork. We always seek permission to exhibit and notify the artist when repairing artworks in the ArtBase. While we fervently believe in taking the necessarysteps to make these works viewable, we simultaneously understand that it may bethe intent of the artist that these works degrade in time and we fully respectthese wishes. When artists agree to have their works rehabilitated, we work directly with them to select the best means of representing their work in a sustainable format.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: We believe that the intellectual property of all artists should be protected, and we support open culture initiatives that promote creative and innovative uses of digital materials. Though "all rights reserved" by default, we provide artists the option to assign a Creative Commons license of their choice to their artwork before it is published here on Rhizome. 


• Access to our collection is completely free and open to the public.

Rhizome Members receive advanced access to artwork records as well as special features throughout the site. Members have the ability to tag works with keywords, add public comments to records, as well as curate works into online exhibitions. Additionally, members receive other benefits such as limited-edition artworks, sneak peaks to exclusive content and discounts on admission to Rhizome events.

Organizational Subscriptions are available to educational institutions, community art centers, libraries, and museums. These subscriptions allow staff, faculty, students to gain member-level access to all of Rhizome.org's features. Contact Rhizome's Collections and Membership Manager Zoë Salditch at zoe.salditch{at}rhizome.org for more information. For schools and organizations in low-income areas, Rhizome offers discounted organizational access program: contact info{at}rhizome.org for details.


We are currently developing a broad chronology of media art, net.art, and Internet art, and areresearching the historic relationship between art and technology in order todevelop a more diverse and genuine cultural context for the ArtBase collection.

As well, we are working with early net.artartists to update, repair and provide a stable hosting platform for theirartworks. Stay tuned for updates as this exciting work continues and theseimportant artworks become available in the ArtBase.