Over the coming weeks, Net Art Anthology will come to a close, and along with the launch of "The Art Happens Here" exhibition and publication, we're beginning the important task of documenting all the essential scholarly research and preservation work that comprised its making.
Digital preservation has been a core focus and necessity of this project. This work, ably led by Dragan Espenschied with Lyndsey Jane Moulds—and leveraging Rhizome's Webrecorder and the EaaS framework—has been accomplished, in large part, thanks to significant support for our preservation program from Google and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf and Google Arts & Culture. In 2017 and 2018, they've generously powered the presentation of many of the Net Art Anthology 100 through Google Cloud infrastructure, and supported much needed access to our tools and services for artists and other institutions.
Today, to recognize the coming close of Net Art Anthology and to mark our collaboration with our colleagues at Google, we're excited to release the following multi-platform documents narrating the making of this essential endeavor. These include:
- "Saving Internet Art": A new page at Google Arts & Culture, featuring narrative exhibits on the restoration of key works from Net Art Anthology, and other Rhizome preservation efforts;
- Vint Cerf's insightful writing on the challenges and necessity of digital preservation;
- A commissioned essay by Erin Prinz Schwartz on digital preservation through the lens of One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age (Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied, 2013-ongoing); and
- For the wonks out there: the publication of our Anthology preservation matrix, featuring a rich, ongoing record of status of and preservation notes for the full Anthology 100. (For our salt, a very exciting addition to the world of publicly available Google Sheets.)
You may also notice that the full list of Anthology works is now shared online at anthology.rhizome.org.
L: Vint Cerf exploring Starry Night in "The Art Happens Here"; R: Yael Kanarek discussing World of Awe
To share this new material with artists, members of the preservation community, and fellow Googlers, we hosted a launch at the New Museum on Friday, January 25.
At the event, Vint Cerf spoke about vernacular digital repositories like personal computers and email longs and the stories they could possibly tell about their moment. Dragan Espenschied discussed Rhizome's approach to digital preservation and the challenges of "blurry objects." Artists Yael Kanarek and Eva & Franco Mattess explored their Net Art Anthology works, respectively World of Awe and Life Sharing, followed by Lyndsey Moulds and Aria Dean discussing their preservation and curation of those projects. And Michael Connor gave gathered guests a tour of "The Art Happens Here." You can find images from this event at our Facebook page.
Rhizome's digital preservation program supports social memory for internet users and networked cultures through the creation of free, open-source, user-friendly software tools that foster decentralized and vernacular archives, while ensuring the growth of and continuing public access to the Rhizome Artbase. Software projects at Rhizome include Webrecorder, as well as our major contributions to Emulations as a Service and Wikibase.
We're honored to contribute to Google and Google Arts & Culture's commitment to vastly expanding access to cultural heritage, and grateful for their partnership and collaboration.