Hello All:

I am a Grad student studying Library and Info Science. I am currently researching the topic of preserving and I'd like to get a few artists to weigh in on the topic. Very broadly, I'd like to know if any artists are thinking about preservation issues when creating work, if keeping the work for perpetuity is a concern, if anyone has consciously chosen to let an artwork die (and why you've made that decision? ) and any other suggestions/concerns you can offer on the topic. For full disclosure, I would be interested in referencing some of the responses in a term paper and presentation.
Thank you in advance for your assistance!



, Rob Myers

For I tend to be less worried about preservation issues than with my other software art. Participating in the current state of the web requires using a range of software and network technologies that may not be supported in a few years time. And the potentially ephemeral nature of the web is, for me, part of the charm of

But that said I do three things to try to help with preserving my software.

I place the work under a Free Software license, so it can be copied, stored and modified as needed by anyone who wishes to preserve it.

I make the source for the work available from a popular public repository, so it can be easily found and downloaded, and the download location is likely to remain supported.

I use mainstream software and technology, so it is more likely that people and systems capable of working with it will be available for longer.

My net art project "paintr" is currently offline due to the original getting lost during a server move, but the code is available here: and I will restore the project from that when I get the new server set up more.

, q

save it to a flash drive

"no pain no gain" - orlando bloom

, Tracy

There was a time when saving it to a ZIP disk was "preservation". That is, until one heard the click of death coming from the ZIP drive.

, Frederic Madre

I made a piece which is intended to self-destruct but includes some form of preservation ('copies')
you can browse it and see how it works for you
but, for instance, this
is 40% destroyed
this one
60% available (the indicator is approximative)
and that
is still there as it was then

still few that have completely disappeared!

, x-arn

In both online art projects latency is crucial to define aesthetic experience. Latency in Constantini's work once it is experienced a few times becomes predictable, but in Le Guennec's work the way the image becomes saturated with crossing lines is a random process that always points to the possibility of a chaotic future defined by traces left on the image by previous visits: functioning like a transparent archive of its history.

The Latency of the Moving Image in New Media, by Eduardo Navas

, Vijay Pattisapu

95% of my stuff is dead and gone, and I'm glad, since 99% of what I make is trash that embarrasses me to no end between 2 weeks & 2 years later. So I go for disposable vectors: Oekaki over Tegaki, forums over blogging, social networks over making websites, email over almost everything … . Maybe I'm a minority on this one. I should have learned the art of the pseudonym like many have here and on the rest of the Internet, but it's just too late for me and my IP address.
Good luck with your study!

, Salvatore Iaconesi

there are so many possible points of view on this!

on one side:

technology fades. It fades faster now (i had a really a hard time finding a RS232 port last week.. only USB) with technologies becoming obsolete and incompatibly different every what.. 6 months? :)

but it's part of the whole experience!

technologies make us do things. It's not that they are "just" enablers for activities and processes. They also "force" us to do things, such as hunting for software drivers, dealing with system behaviours, buying new components because you're the only one left with a specific one (it happened with floppy disks, with ports, with processors, video cards.. everything).

it's right in some ways, wrong in other ones, but it's part of teh experience we have of networks, computers etcetera..

so it's probabily part of the "artwork" as well..

on another side:

as someone said before platforms become fundamental for experiencing some works. cpu power, network connection speeds, media types, codecs, technologies… all of these combine to form the experience we have of a work. Even the fact that different people can have different experiences from it (or, to the extreme, someone can even have the experience of not being able to see the work completely, possibly because he has the wrong technology, not enough CPU power…) according to what they have available to access a work.
In many cases "preserving" just cannot be translated just in a matter of "keeping somewhere a computer on which this work sunctions correctly".

on yet another side:

it's surely romantic to have the idea of a "digital artwork" restorer, such as we have them for paintings, frescoes and antique furnitures.
but it would be a totally arbitrary work, i guess.
what would he/she do? adapt software? produce a virtualized platform? keep a PC or a C-64 working like a mechanic?
in any case it would look more like a re-enactment of the work.
and so it would be nice to make this thing explicit and significative, and leave it to open source practices, such as Rob sad a couple of messages before.

and yet on one more perspective:

and then, in the end… who would choose what to preserve? little old me? a community? "people"?
we are describing a complex thing here, that could be possible only if performed by an institution of some kind. Someone that could guarantee for a long time the availability and maintenance of a virtualized platform, a connectivity, a software/hardware expertise…. lots of stuff.
while it would be surely a lovely job to do (both at managerial and executive/technical levels) it looks a bit "strange" to say the least.
Especially when most of those works are highly "immaterial" in themselves.
And, even more, especially when many speak about the change from the kinds of processes in which "institutions do things", describing a more rhizomatic approach to life, made from emerging dynamics and processes, and from dialogue.
There seems a bit of an ecosystemic unbalance in these kind of efforts.

And, in my opinion, also a tragic disconnection from the meaning of many things.

and, possibly, in a last point of view:

we live on information and on communication. on documents, videos, images, comments, hyperlinks, relationships, emotions. it could prove more significative, ecological, sustainable and evolved to go beyond this model in which a "thing" is kept in "a dusty closet" (or in something thatis conceptually the same) to be able to experience it for ages, and to turn to models in which "things" are kept alive as people use them and modify them, and share, update, describe, film them.

as a model it's a bit far from the average egocentric artist :) but it's what it would be nice to do, no?