Annet Dekker – Collecting and Conserving Net Art


Routledge, ISBN-13: 978-0815382416, English, 202 pages, 2018, UK

Annet Dekker is one of the major experts in the conservation of digital artworks, who in the recent years has produced a substantial body of work defining and questioning the resistance of traditional institutions and conservation practices to an essential part of contemporary art. This book, specifically, focuses on a very controversial topic: the feasibility and preservation of net art, with all the controversies that this embodies. Dekker explains how all the major dismissive arguments about preserving net art are based on an incredibly outdated vision of art and artworks. Her painstaking effort is to argue against this dismissal through a series of case studies, proposing alternative strategies. One of the most relevant challenges embraced is to foster the acceptance of ’versioning’ and ’process’ as a quality of both the artworks and the conservation process. The other substantial argument is the redefinition of ‘documentation’ as the modus operandi for a more dynamic process, which extends up to the re-creation of the work in the future, and ‘networks of care’ as collective support. It is a seminal work, for all the categories involved, putting forth key arguments which might finally lead to digital/net art’s acknowledgement in a moment which (paradoxically) we already debate as post-digital.