Barbra Latanzi, The Letter and the Fly (2002 )
Trevor Owens interviewed Rhizome Digital Conservator Ben Fino-Radin for the Library of Congress blog on digital preservation, The Signal. In the interview, he discusses Rhizome's ArtBase collection, including work like Barbara Lattanzi's The Letter and the Fly (2002) and Lev Manovich's Little Movies (1994). He also talks about the role the collection plays in the Rhizome community as well as his unique job with the organization:
Trevor: Could you tell us a bit about how the collection is being used? To what extent is the audience for the collection artists in search of inspiration? To what extent is it for the general public? To what extent is it for scholars and researchers?
Ben: Currently the collection is used most heavily in academia, and by curators and researchers. Many professors of new media integrate the ArtBase into their lesson plan, designing research and curatorial assignments centered around the students using our members tools to curate exhibitions.
Trevor: I don’t think there are many people out there with the title of digital conservator. Could you tell us a bit about how you define this role? To what extent do you think this role is similar and different to analog art conservation? Similarly, to what extent is this work similar or different to roles like digital archivist or digital curator?
Ben: I drew the distinction with my title for two reasons: 1) I am at the service of an institution that lives within a museum, and 2) the digital objects I am cataloging and preserving access to are not “records” by the archival definition. They are artifacts – and as such require a different kind of care.
I am responsible for the stewardship of intellectual entities that are often inseparable from their ...