Collaboration and Connections: Postprints of the AICCM Paper, Books and Photographic Materials Special Interest Group Symposium, Sydney 1-3 April 2004, pp. 17-21
International contemporary art practice over the last thirty years has increasingly been researching and utilizing the new media technologies, ranging from video to interactive computer based installations and internet applications. Such artworks are conjoined with the rapid cycles of change and improvement that are a feature of these technologies, and as a consequence are subject to seemingly insuperable problems of maintenance and conservation both in terms of their software and hardware architectures. As an artist engaged with new media over this period, as well as having worked for ten years in Europe’s first and largest new media museum – the ZKM in Karsruhe, Germany – I have had direct experience of these maintenance challenges and have formulated conservation and archival strategies that can be undertaken by individuals and museums to effectively ensure the long term durability of media art works. These strategies address the question of the inviolability of the original and the sufficiency of artist directed digital cloning as a means of allowing the artwork to migrate to new hardware and software platforms as the older ones fall into inoperative obsolescence. They also examine the differentiation between the contemporary and long term cultural signification of a media art work, given that transient techno-social conditions may often be integral to the experience and connotation of such a work. In my presentation I shall elucidate these issues with reference to my own artworks as applicable case studies.