Since 2011, he has been restoring and culturally analyzing 1TB of Geocities data. From 2012-13, he lead on a renowned research project to conceptually and technically integrate the Transmediale Festival's collection of CD-ROM art into the Emulation as a Service framework, "bwFLA". In 2013, with the University of Freiburg, Espenschied helped preserve a personal computer from the legacy of media philosopher Vilem Flusser. His publications include the influential reader "Digital Folklore", and the papers "Large-Scale Curation and Presentation of CD-ROM Art", "Emulation in the Context of Digital Art and Cultural Heritage", and "An Architecture for Community-based Curation and Presentation of Complex Digital Objects".
In his artistic career, Espenschied focuses on the historization of Digital Culture from the perspective of computer users rather than hackers, developers or "inventors" and together with net art pioneer Olia Lialina has created a significant body of work concerned with how to represent and write a culture-centric history of the networked age.
Game-Master Dragan Espenschied oversees surfers in this picture from competitor Arjun Srivatsa
At Trailblazers 7, surfing was all about different ways that indexes and taxonomies are created and used, and about excellent airhorn-puncutated stadium pop provided by DJ Smart & Outgoing.
The competition took place yesterday at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club; given the use of a one-button mouse, no keyboard, and no back button, qualifying surfers in the competition were asked to navigate a "trail" from one website to another, only by clicking. Without the use of search engines, browsing the web requires careful thinking about how websites are organized and interconnected. Often, successful trail blazing involved navigating to some link-rich environment. Whether surfers found this in editorial content (like M. Hipley's heavy usage of the New York Times website) or in the rather unsorted universe of user contributions (like Nick DeMarco always heading straight to forums and comments), finding these "indexes" and understanding the ordering of material there was crucial for success.
Cory Arcangel, Bomb Iraq (2005). Screen capture of found hypercard program.
"In 2005, Cory Arcangel bought a used computer at a Salvation Army store in Buffalo, New York. Originally he was attracted to it because of its rarity: the Macintosh TV was a rather badly designed, half-hearted hybrid of a Macintosh Computer and a TV set, that performed neither of its designated functions very well and lacked any cool things that might come from the synergy. The machine was a commercial flop, only around 10,000 units were produced during a few months between 1993 and 1994."