Symposium: New Media and Social Memory
Richard Rinehart:

New Media and Social Memory

(Save the Date for this Symposium! Program details to follow.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

What is important to remember? This public symposium will explore how the canonical historical record is created and maintained in the digital age by "memory institutions" such as museums, libraries, and archives, and how digital media artists are influencing/hacking/critiquing this construction of social memory. These issues will be explored in concrete terms by focusing on the tangible case study of preserving digital art as emblematic of the larger social issues in preserving digital culture.

Works of digital and Internet art, performance, installation, Conceptual, and other variable-media art represent some of the most compelling and significant artistic creations of our time. These works constitute a history of alternative artistic practice, but because of their ephemeral, technical, or otherwise variable natures, they also present significant obstacles to accurate documentation, access, and preservation. Without strategies for preservation, many of these vital works-and possibly whole genres such as early Internet art-will be lost to future generations. Long-term strategies must closely examine the nature of ephemeral art and identify core aspects of these works to preserve. New media gives us the challenge and the opportunity to revisit the question "what is important to remember?" on a long-term, public scale.

This event is part of a consortium project, "Archiving the Avant Garde", funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (see for details).