(edited by) Bernhard Serexhe – Preservation of Digital Art: Theory and Practice: The digital art conservation project

Preservation of Digital Art

Ambra V, ISBN-13: 9783990435380, English, 632 pages, 2013, Austria

The preservation of media artworks has a destiny parallel with climate change: the more time passes, the more seriously it’s acknowledged. This thick volume is the final outcome of ZKM’s “digital art conservation project”, which began in 2010 and lasted three years, involving a number of other institutions. The project has been developed through symposia, an exhibition (whose texts have been included), and a series of case studies, illustrated here together with a few introductory texts. The definition of “born digital” artworks is central to the whole project, and tries to make a clear difference with media art, defining a category of artworks developed around digital technologies (with their specific preservation problems.) The specificity and complexity of digital artwork preservation epitomises a path initiated in the early 20th century when contemporary art started to use various perishable materials. Here a whole body of work emerges in the essays, written (among others) by Alain Depocas, Sabine Himmelsbach, Anne Laforet, Aymeric Mansoux, Antoni Muntadas, Jussi Parikka and Siegfried Zielinski, often detailing approaches and strategies in a technical manner. Especially useful as a resource is the collection of diversified case studies and accompanying interviews with the artists involved. In this engaging and precarious scenario, what seems to be still missing is a strategic link between the hacker community and museum conservators, the potential creation of a shared knowledge repository that would make a real difference for the rapidly vanishing recent past.