Self-proclaimed “interface artist” Johannes P Osterhoff begins a new performance work, titled “Dear Jeff Bezos."
For over a decade, the kaledescopic RGB labyrinth that is paperrad.org has served as a beacon for the proliferacy of the collective known as Paper Rad. While their output spanned a spectrum of forms including comics, cartoons, music videos, installation, sculpture, performance, bands, records, and international tours, the web was in so many ways Paper Rad's substrate. In their work that extended beyond the computer screen, they spoke in the parlance of the amatuer web and personal computers. Paperrad.org was for roughly eight years the center of a flurry of activitry – serving to satiate the collective’s international fanbase. Today Rhizome is pleased to announce the launch of a full archive of paperrad.org, available in the ArtBase. Thanks to Rhizome's preservation efforts, paperrad.org will now live on beyond the lifespan of the collective itself.
In celebration of the launch of this archive, Rhizome is pleased to share with our members a special edition of The Download featuring Paper Rad's GIF PAK (2012). The GIF PAK is a collection of 24 great animated gifs from the site including background images, popular cartoon characters, and promotional materials for tours and gallery shows. This collection was curated by Paper Rad member, Jacob Ciocci.
Rhizome has always placed an emphasis on, and played a leading role in the preservation of born-digital works of art and culture. Since 2001, our archive, the ArtBase has grown to become one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind, and our preservation practices have inspired an emerging generation of archivists. Here at the end of 2012 however, we find ourselves on the precipice of a new moment. Our ambitions have grown, or mission expanded, and we need your help in order to accomplish our goals in 2013. Please consider making a donation to our Annual Community Fundraiser to help us realize our preservation efforts.
Recently, we were generously donated two machines (seen above) from 1993, that functioned as servers for a NYC based electronic bulletin board system (BBS) that many readers will be familiar with: The Thing. This BBS was one of the earliest online communities of artists, curators, and critics, and grew to become a forum for international discourse – all of this pre-dating the emergence of the World Wide Web. In 1994, when The Thing migrated to the web, much of the BBS material was left behind. As well – the material nature of the experience of using The Thing was forever changed – transitioning from a text-based or crude graphical interface, to the new interactive affordances of the web.
Rhizome is on a mission to rescue data from these machines, and others, that contains the sole remaining complete record of The Thing as a BBS. Our goal is to restore access to this data through a virtualization that will allow the public to interact with The Thing BBS. In order to accomplish this task, there are very real costs. This is Rhizome’s first forray into a project involving digital forensics, and with your support we can secure the crucial hardware required for this work.
In 2012, the scale of our web archiving efforts grew exponentially. In the past, works that were preserved in the ArtBase tended to be of relatively small scale – solitary works or projects. We are now archiving sites that are much larger in scope, including the legendary website of prominent collective, Paper Rad. In order to make large scale web archiving efforts a larger part of our everyday operations, we need the community's support in order to grow the Rhizome team.
The past year was a boon for expanding the ArtBase collection. This past summer, the prolific Rafael Rozendaal donated the entirety of his finished works produced to-date – consisting of 75 websites in all. In addition to this sizeable donation, we preserved over seventy works, just a few highlights of which including:
Takeshi Murata • Paper Rad • Kari Altman • Dragan Espensheid • Old Boys Network • Hugo Arcier • Justin Kemp • Michael Manning • Paint FX • Brian Khek • Timur Si-Qin • Digital Crafts • Brenna Murphy • Tabor Robak • Sebastian Schmieg • Rosa Menkman • V5mt • Johannes P Osterhoff • Christine Love
While our preservation efforts and accomplishments in 2012 have been no small feat, our goals for 2013 are ambitious to the extent that we can’t realize them without a bit of help. I hope that you will consider a donation today, so that Rhizome may continue to ensure the longevity of these important slices of history.
There is a new addition to the ArtBase's collection that we are rather excited about: TwiLight (1991-1997), a screensaver for Atari TOS by Dragan Espenschied, Alvar Freude, and Peter Scheerer. There are two points to be excited about here: first, TwiLight now holds the crown of being the oldest piece of software in our collection. Second, Espenschied has amazingly completely reconstructed the screensaver's various modules as in-browser simulations, using the original graphics and HTML marquees. On the following page one can see what is a relatively accurate representation of the original software. If you'd like to run the original software in an Atari TOS compatable emulation (or vintage hardware), the orignal software can be download here: LZH (925 kb), ZIP (939 kb).
For the traveler who desires a journey through space and time, a visit to Long Island City is highly recommended. The second iteration of Aram Bartholl's DVD Dead Drop project is available at the Museum of the Moving image until October 27th. Titled INSERT DISC (produced in collaboration with Robert Sakrowski), the project presents a journey to the heyday of artist produced interactive CD-ROM's: the 90’s.
⇸ Around the corner from the main entrance of MMI, one will find a CD / DVD sized slot carved in the side of the museum. Come equipped with a blank DVD-R. Insert the disc. After roughly seven minutes, your disc will be returned – its heat sensitive dye freshly encoded with a complex package containing relics of the past.
⇸ After returning to your personal computer, mount the disc on any Mac or PC (Linux or Windows) with at least a 2.2 Ghz processor and 8 Gb of free hard drive space. The DVD contains a virtual disk image (.vdi) virtual machine compatible with Oracle’s free and VirtualBox software. Following the simple setup instructions in the DVD’s README.txt, one will find themselves booting up a Ubuntu desktop...
In situations such as this, it behooves a web based archive of internet art to promote access to the original, and if necesary and feasible/justifiable, a modified access copy that follows the preservation wishes of the artist. Documentation is an increasingly alluring strategy, and used in tandem with bit-level preservation of the original provides a much more future proof solution for large collections. We will be looking at this strategy and others at Thursday's event. Hope you can join us: http://newmuseum.org/events/584
Client side emulation is not practical when the main goal is broad access (for everyone - not just the savvy) to a web based archive. That being said, there is a solid argument to provide an access copy as well as the original bitstreams.
We should post our g+ conversation.