The Digital Oblivion. Substance and Ethics in the Conservation of Computer-Based Art [de Karlsruhe]

The Digital Oblivion. Substance and Ethics in the Conservation of Computer-Based Art — 
International symposium :: November 4-5, 2010; 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
 :: ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Lorenzstrasse 19, 76135 Karlsruhe, Germany.

As part of the three-year EU-funded research project digital art conservation, this international symposium aims to investigate the future of our digital cultural memory, focusing in particular on the preservation of computer-based art.

For a couple of decades now, digitalisation has allowed the content of cultural memory to be more easily processed and circulated. However, the preservation of digitalised contents is fundamentally conditioned by the need to adapt to an ever more rapid sequence of new technical systems. This functional obsolescence presents a systemic threat to digital cultural memory. Again and again, previous criteria of cultural memory such as longevity and authenticity are led ad absurdum.

The practice and theory of art collecting and preservation have seen a paradigm shift, presenting institutions, curators, conservators and scholars with a new set of as yet unsolved problems. Whereas traditional media and tools remained in the hands of artists and curators, new digital media have reduced the autonomy of these cultural actors.

Parallel to day-to-day museum and exhibition practice, conservation theory has recently seen a normative debate on the ethics of preservation. This discussion is comparable to developments elsewhere in the humanities and natural sciences, as well as in bioethics and environmental ethics and aims to overcome the current uncertainty surrounding the preservation of digital media art as part of our cultural heritage.

This set of interconnected themes forms the context for the questions posed by the first of two symposia within the framework of the project digital art conservation: What consequences will the ongoing systemic change of cultural memory techniques have for our consciousness of time and of history, and for our image of ourselves and the world? Are traditional criteria for conservation—a work of art’s originality, longevity and inherent economic value — at all applicable to new digital media art? Should standards of best practice be developed for the conservation and collection of digital media art?


Prof. Dr. Hans Belting Professor emeritus for the science of art and media theory, Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe
Prof. Dr. Edmond Couchot Professor emeritus Université de Paris VIII
Alain Depocas Director of the Centre for Research and Documentation, Daniel Langlois Foundation, Montréal
Herbert W. Franke Artist, scientist and writer, Egling
Rosina Gómez-Baeza Tinturé Director, LABoral Centre for Art and Creative Industries, Gijon
Prof. Dr. Hans Dieter Huber Head of degree programme conservation of new media and digital information, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart
Antoni Muntadas Artist, New York
Daria Parkhomenko Director, LABORATORIA Art & Science Space, Moscow
Dr. Ingrid Scheurmann Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz, professorship architectural heritage and applied historical building research, Technische Universität Dresden
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Serexhe Head curator, ZKM | Media Museum, Karlsruhe
Prof. Dr. h.c. Peter Weibel CEO, ZKM | Karlsruhe
Dr. Klaus Weschenfelder President, ICOM Germany
Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski Professor for media theory, Universität der Künste, Berlin

*Image above: Courtesy of ZKM | Karlsruhe.
© Frank Fietzek.

Oct 31, 20:53
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