Three Threats to the Survival of New Media


version 1.4 by Jon Ippolito

"... To be a historian of new media art is a precarious career choice. It's a lot easier to be a historian of old media, if only because the artists you study are no longer likely to turn around and contradict your theories; Picasso historians had a much easier time talking about his work once he was pushing up daisies instead of painting them. But if dead artists are a boon for historians, dead media are not. In fact, as soon as the media you study become obsolete, it's a bit of a stretch to call yourself a "historian of new media."

The bad news I have for new media historians is that the objects they study are in danger of evaporating out from under their studious gaze. On three separate battlegrounds, dinosaurs fattened on broadcast economies threaten to trample the newer species evolving in today's electronic networks. In some cases this attempt is deliberate: Microsoftus Rex and TimeWarnerSaurus have little interest in encouraging the unimpeded evolution of media. In other cases, as I hope to show, even new media advocates--including many of you in this room--unwittingly buy into hierarchic models of preservation, property, or professorship that endanger the unfettered evolution of digital art..." From Three Threats to the Survival of New Media by Jon Ippolito.