Restoring 'The World's First Collaborative Sentence'

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Douglas Davis, "The World's First Collaborative Sentence" (1994). Detail.

On Monday, the New York Times ran an article describing the Whitney Museum's restoration of an early online artwork by Douglas Davis, The World’s First Collaborative Sentence (1994). 

Many of the comments posted to the article offered sage advice for the conservation team, free of charge. According to Francesco of New York, “it was probably build in java or php and they need to update the server.” VJBortolot of Guildford, CT, expressed surprise “that the Whitney didn't … use an legacy browser … and run it in a Win95 environment on a vintage computer.” E.W. Chesterton of Palm Beach simply wrote, “Oh please! It’s html!”

Expert diagnoses notwithstanding, it’s well worth delving a bit further into some of the complex issues that emerged during the Davis restoration.

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Rhizome Community Campaign: A Message from Christiane Paul

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"Since the mid-90s Rhizome has been an invaluable resource for critical explorations of net art, media arts, and network cultures. As the new media world evolved, Rhizome always ingeniously reinvented itself, building its programs and community. Rhizome's ArtBase, with its more than 2,500 works, by now has become the supreme model for the collection and study of online art forms." – Christiane Paul

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