Hi Rick, Roger, Bronac, Oliver et. al.,
As someone transitioning from curating new media art to art consulting, specializing in helping private collectors acquire new media work, I find this discussion germane. But I wonder how strategies designed for museum collections might also apply to individual collectors?
The San Francisco gallerist Catharine Clark (of Catharine Clark Gallery) has for instance worked out a legal and viable strategy for a collector to acquire an artist's work that exists only on the Internet, so that he (the collector) does actually own the work but it is is still available to anyone to access online. It's complicated and the collector is exceptionally altruistic so this may not be a universal solution. Also, I'm not sure how this particular strategy will function if/when the Internet becomes obsolete and the piece either disappears or must be translated into a different form/medium. There are also questions of appraisal -- how is value assessed for works like this?
The point is: the challenges of collecting new media art are not just for museums any more. Any thoughts?
Independent Curator / Writer
176 Alvarado Road
Berkeley, CA 94705
[log in to unmask]
From: Richard Rinehart <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Mon, Mar 15, 2010 1:40 pm
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] OPEN MUSEUMS
Hi Roger, Oliver, Bronac, et al,
Yes indeed, interesting discussion and hopefully seed of action/collaboration! Roger, that a truly "open museum" may take 30 years is either a disheartening prospect or a supreme challenge (guess which I choose?)
Oliver, you could not be more right of course in that so many of the early efforts to document/preserve/provide access to new media art forms have fallen by the wayside and the entire genre is in danger of being lost to history. I also agree that the big funders that could help turn this around so far seem disinterested or unaware (despite my repeated advances; ahem! :). Many government funders are still focussing on preservation/access projects around *representations* of traditional art collections (image banks of paintings, etc.) and most museums with mixed collections are similarly focussed. To be fair, this is in part because the overwhelming majority of cultural collections (and research) is still comprised of these collections.
However, as Oliver points out, new media art is in danger of being utterly eclipsed and this period of history and ongoing artistic practice made unavailable to research (which will only compound the problem). There are more museums dealing with new media art in their regular operations, but usually without any special collaborative effort and thus it gets subsumed into traditional practices or treated as any other multimedia objects. There are valiant efforts, and Roger, you described many of them from libraries and elsewhere focussed on access to new born-digital culture, and many of them are focussed on the broader realm of "digital culture and knowledge" where often new media art in particular gets lost in the shuffle. New media art is certainly part of the bigger puzzle, but it also has its special needs.
To that end, and toward performing my duties as one of our invited discussants this month on commissions - let me ask you all; how might commissions help this situation? Beryl has brought up the Lab model; how is this model different? Back in the day at the Guggenheim, Jon Ippolito was thinking of how to build in preservation and access as part of the commission/purchase/exhibition of new media art (Jon smartly knew where museums place their efforts). Jon, do you want to describe that model for us? At BAM, we were similarly able to slip in even the tiniest notion of an open museum inside a curatorial/exhibition program.
Do others know of innovative commissioning models that also have the long-term in mind?
Digital Media Director & Adjunct Curator
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
University of California, Berkeley
2625 Durant Ave.
Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250
On Mar 14, 2010, at 4:09 AM, Bronac Ferran wrote:
> Hallo everyone- thanks, this is an interesting discussion.
> Roger said: many of these issues were discussed at the CODE > conference some
> back. Good news: there is still a webcast of the conference available
> In terms of some of the other points I recently wrote an essay > commissioned
> by Arts Council England called Rethinking Ownership and in this I > suggest
> that if a national collection of digital art was to be created it > should not
> be a selected one (such as the ACE Film and Video, Poetry and Visual > Arts
> collections which were spawned some decades ago) but it could be > created in
> another way which for eg could see funded works (and initiatives > such as
> CODE which took place in 2001) and many earlier seminal works from > the mid
> 90s onwards elected by the generators of the projects to be included > in a
> distributed collection where the key thing is that the learning and
> documentation of process (which is often housed within summary > reports only
> seen by the funder then filed) is shared openly and available and > accessible
> through an easy mapping process and one might of course add to this > open
> sourced code or other redistributable aspects. So what is preserved > is not
> only the work but the context, which is vital for so called new media
> projects (and interdisciplinary projects in general)....
> It was suggested as a provocation in an independent essay but there > may be
> the germ of something here worth exploring
> On 14 March 2010 10:20, roger malina <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I agree with your point:
>> "What is needed in the (Digital) Humanities isan institutional >> support
>> equivalent to that in Astronomy, Biology or ClimateResearch, in >> order to
>> create enough momentum and adhesion the main fundingorganizations >> like
>> NSF, NEH, the European Research Council, DFG, VolkswagenFoundation >> etc.
>> have to support on an international level the necessaryresearch
>> structure for research in Media Art and the Digital Humanities >> ingeneral
>> needed in the 21st century."
>> What broke things open in astronomy was the fact that inter >> governmental
>> and institutional agencies created a funding climate that enabled >> virtual
>> observatories with public access. Data by itself is usually useless >> unless
>> you have the accompanying metadata, analysis software, international
>> protocols and standards, middleware etc ( and that means time and >> money).
>> Plus the realisation by
>> astronomers about the new kinds of science that could be done by >> combining
>> databases from different
>> observatories ( and different time periods)- which is what you are >> arguing
>> in the humanities is also the case.
>> Some of the new kinds of art scholarship and art that can come out >> of open
>> systems are being discussed at several conferences this spring and >> summer
>> the Leonardo Day at the NETSCI 2010 conference in Boston :
>> and also the the High Throughput Humanities conference in
>> April 30)
>> goal: The High Throughput Humanities satellite event at ECCS'10 >> establishes
>> a forum for high throughput approaches in the humanities and social
>> sciences, within the framework of complex systems science. The >> symposium
>> aims to go beyond massive data aquisition and to present results >> beyond
>> can be manually achieved by a single person or a small group. >> Bringing
>> together scientists, researchers, and practitioners from relevant >> fields,
>> the event will stimulate and facilitate discussion, spark >> collaboration, as
>> well as connect approaches, methods, and ideas.
>> This makes the strong argument that cross coupling humanities and >> art data
>> bases new kinds of research
>> and art are enabled.
>> There are a number of initiatives that are relevant to >> methodologies coming
>> out of the
>> cybernetics community- such as for example:
>> *Cybernetics: Art, Design, Mathematics — A Meta-Disciplinary >> Conversation
>> Finally of course HASTAC in the usa has been working hard on many >> of these
>> <http://www.hastac.org/>HASTAC ("haystack") is a network of >> individuals
>> institutions inspired by the possibilities that new technologies >> offer us
>> for shaping how we learn, teach, communicate, create, and organize >> our
>> and global communities. We are motivated by the conviction that the
>> era provides rich opportunities for informal and formal learning >> and for
>> collaborative, networked research that extends across traditional
>> disciplines, across the boundaries of academe and community, across >> the
>> cultures" of humanism and technology, across the divide of thinking >> versus
>> making, and across social strata and national borders.
>> Leonardo and Siggraph are cosponsoring at SIGGRAPH in LA a full day >> on
>> 20XX.EDU the future
>> of learning in the digital age that builds on the macarthur funded >> report
>> the future of learning
>> institutions in the digital age=this report make a number of relevant
>> to an OPEN MUSEUM movement.
>> (yes its available under a creative commons license)
>> I dont think we have any equivalent international efforts of the kind
>> is suggesting yet.( maybe crumb
>> readers know of some) ,and the
>> kinds of actions in the museum world that Rick is arguing for have >> been
>> generally driven by intellectual property
>> control and monetarising issues ( the Louvre in Dubai..) rather than
>> enabling new kinds of scholarship and art.
>> Rick Rinehart's call for an OPEN MUSEUM movement that provides:
>> "In the Open Museum, the source code and other files
>> for digital artworks from the collection are free for users to >> download,
>> study, use, and re-mix into new works " i suspect is at least a >> thirty year
>> (thats how long it took in astronomy)
>> On Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 5:26 PM, Oliver Grau <[log in to unmask]
>>> Thank youRoger for this. You made a very important point for all >>> of us
>>> here and Istrongly like to support your thought by adding my five >>> cents.
>>> Comparablewith natural sciences, digital media and new >>> opportunities of
>>> networkedresearch catapult the cultural sciences within reach of >>> new and
>>> essentialresearch, like appropriate documentation and preservation >>> of
>>> media art, or evenbetter, an entire history of visual media and >>> their
>>> human cognition by means ofthousands of sources. These themes >>> express in
>>> regard to image revolutioncurrent key questions. In order to push
>>> humanities and cultural sciences intheir development, it is >>> necessary to
>>> use the new technologies globally and create a research >>> infrastructure
>>> which is organisided much more intercontinental than now.
>>> Since the foundation of the pioneering Databaseof Virtual Art >>> anumber of
>>> online archives for digitization and documentation arose:
>>> LangloisFoundation inMontreal, Netzspannung at the Frauenhofer >>> Institut
>>> or MedienKunstNetz at ZKM * most of these projectsterminated, their
>>> funding expired, or they lost key researchers like V2 inRotterdam. >>> Even
>>> the Boltzmann Institut for Media Art Research in Linz, faced >>> recently
>>> itsclose-down after an evaluation. In this way the originated >>> scientific
>>> archiveswhich more and more often represent the only remaining image
>>> source of the art works,do not only lose step by step their >>> significance
>>> for research and preservationbut in the meantime partly disappear >>> from
>>> the web. Not only the media artitself, but also its documentation >>> fads
>>> that future generations of researchersand public will not be able >>> to get
>>> an idea of the past and the art of our time.To put it another way, >>> till
>>> now no sustainable strategy exits. What we need isa concentrated and
>>> compact expansion of ability. There is/was increasingcollaboration >>> with
>>> these projects in a variety of areas and in changingcoalitions. >>> But in
>>> the field of documentation projects - real preservationprojects do >>> not
>>> exist yet (beside fantastic case studies) - the focus is >>> stilldirected
>>> too much towards particularisation, instead of concentrating >>> forces,what
>>> is essential strategy in most other fields (as Roger pointed out).
>>> Manyindividual projects are definitely innovative but too small and
>>> without clearlarger scientific strategy and safe financing, which >>> is not
>>> their fault. Someprojects are already expired and not carried >>> further.
>>> Lots of competence and culturalwealth, but too much separationism.
>>> Especially the university based researchprojects and partly also the
>>> ones which are linked to museums have developedexpertise that >>> needs to
>>> be included in cultural circulation, not only in orderto pass it >>> on to
>>> future generations of scientists and archivists but also togive it a
>>> chance to flow into future university education in the fields of
>>> art,engineering, and media history. Clearly, the goal must be to >>> develop
>>> a policyand strategy for collecting the art of our latest history >>> under
>>> the umbrella ofa strong, let’s say “Library of Congress like”
>>> institution. Ultimately, however, this can onlybe organized by a >>> network
>>> of artists, computer and science centers, galleries,technology >>> producers
>>> and museums. Those projects which collected culturallyimportant
>>> documents in the past and which often expired, were not further
>>> supportedor even lost their base must be supported and reanimated. >>> They
>>> should beorganized like a corona around an institution which >>> receives
>>> the duty ofdocumentation and may be even the collection of >>> contemporary
>>> media art, such aninstitution could be in the USA, the Library of
>>> Congress; in Europe, besidesthe new European digital libraries >>> database
>>> Europeana, it could be the BibliothequeNational, the >>> BritishLibrary, the
>>> V&A or in Germany beside the ZKM for example the >>> DeutscheBibliothek or
>>> even better a Max Planck Institute.Interestingly the libraries show
>>> increasingly interest to archive multimediaworks and their
>>> documentation; however, the usually complex cultural andtechnical >>> know
>>> how is lacking in order to preserve principal works of the >>> mostimportant
>>> media art genres of the last decades. Not only can the
>>> internationalstate of Media Art be a hinderance in creating common
>>> projects, also the FUNDINGINFRASTRUCTURE of media art >>> documentation so
>>> far, has normally promotedprojects for 2, 3, or more years, >>> neglecting
>>> sustainability. A structure whichupdates, extends and contextualizes
>>> research * whether in historical orcontemporary contexts is >>> required.
>>> The funding and support infrastructureswhich have been built in >>> the end
>>> of the last century are not suitable forscientific and cultural >>> tasks in
>>> the Humanities of the 21st Century.
>>> What is needed in the (Digital) Humanities isan institutional >>> support
>>> equivalent to that in Astronomy, Biology or ClimateResearch, in >>> order to
>>> create enough momentum and adhesion the main fundingorganizations >>> like
>>> NSF, NEH, the European Research Council, DFG, VolkswagenFoundation >>> etc.
>>> have to support on an international level the necessaryresearch
>>> structure for research in Media Art and the Digital Humanities >>> ingeneral
>>> needed in the 21st century.
>>>>>> roger malina 13.03.10 13.45 Uhr >>>
>>> Look forward to seeing the book. Re the Open Museum discussion,
>>> i recently posted my Open Observatory manifesto
>>> I am heavily influenced here by my work as an astronomer over the >>> last
>>> years. Thirty years ago astronomers viewed the data they took ( in >>> those
>>> photographic plates) as their personal property and their careers >>> hinged
>>> controlling this data ( and their students careers depended on their
>>> to their
>>> professors data). Today NASA and NSF now have a contractual >>> stipulation
>>> all data
>>> funded by NASA must be made publically available= its funded by >>> public
>>> so the public has a right to access it. This has led to a scientific
>>> revolution in
>>> astronomy= more science is now done on the hubble data archive, than
>>> new observations= and more science is done by other people than by >>> the
>>> astronomers who took the data. The international virtual observatory
>>> has generalised this and there are now shared data analysis tools >>> that
>>> open sourced.
>>> This open data is still not the case in many fields of science even
>>> the data was funded by public monies, but its a growing trend >>> (even in
>>> genome project). And indeed
>>> the model is that the scientist is funded up front to take the >>> data, and
>>> its open sourced. In the humanities its still not the case often= >>> and
>>> to collections is tightly controlled ( cf the ongoing debate about >>> the
>>> So a first piece of your open museum proposal could simply be that
>>> any work commissioned using public monies must be open sourced
>>> on the ideological basis that the public paid for it so they have a
>>> to it. And indeed the artist is paid up front ( just as the >>> scientist is
>>> up front)
>>> This approach obviously ignores the fact that in art ( as opposed to
>>> a lot of the art economy depends on speculation and that a small >>> tiny
>>> of artists get very rich because the intellectual property can be
>>> monetarised in speculation. I guess in science the equivalent is >>> that a
>>> scientists have benefited from very lucrative patents that they have
>>> which are not so much speculative but are market driven. Patents >>> that
>>> from government funding are tightly regulated, with the inventor >>> and the
>>> getting their share.
>>> nd in the book edited by Ghosh in the leonardo book series
>>> Open source software is considered by many to be a novelty and the >>> open
>>> source movement a revolution. Yet the collaborative creation of
>>> has gone on for as long as humans have been able to communicate. >>> CODE
>>> at the collaborative model of creativity -- with examples ranging >>> from
>>> collective ownership in indigenous societies to free software, >>> academic
>>> science, and the human genome project -- and finds it an >>> alternative to
>>> proprietary frameworks for creativity based on strong intellectual
>>> the museum issue is tangentially addressed
>>> On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:59 PM, Richard Rinehart wrote:
>>>> Hello again New-Media-Curating,
>>>> In addition to the other mischief we like to cause individually, >>>> Jon
>>>> Ippolito and I are co-authoring a book for MIT Press, due out >>>> Spring
>>> '11 on
>>>> collecting and preserving new media art .
>>>> I include below a brief excerpt from the book relevant to our
>>>> this month on commissioning variable media art. In it, I'm >>>> proposing a
>>>> model for an archive of new media art I call "the Open Museum" and
>>>> describing perhaps a new way that commissioning could be seen to
>>> function in
>>>> I was originally inspired along these lines by the V2 arts
>>> organization in
>>>> Rotterdam that had a stipulation in which new media works >>>> commissioned
>>>> their lab space must remain open-source within the lab space for
>>>> commissioned artists. It got me thinking, why not take that great >>>> idea
>>>> couple steps further.....
>>>> "Students, scholars, and the public can currently access images and
>>>> *representations - of artworks held in museum collections, but they
>>>> access the collections themselves. The Open Museum takes >>>> advantage of
>>>> unique property of new media that allows one to share the original
>>>> diminishing it. In the Open Museum, the source code and other files
>>>> digital artworks from the collection are free for users to >>>> download,
>>>> use, and re-mix into new works. In this way, even the casual >>>> student
>>>> peer under the hood and examine the inner workings of these >>>> artworks
>>> in the
>>>> way that previously only privileged scholars could with traditional
>>>> collections. .......
>>>> Intellectual property law was created to balance the private need >>>> with
>>>> public good. It grants authors and artists exclusive rights over >>>> their
>>>> for a limited period (not a short period, sometimes 90 years >>>> after the
>>>> artists lifetime) after which the rights in the work move into the
>>>> domain. The artist has time to find ways to earn a livelihood from
>>>> work and this is seen as an incentive to create in the first place.
>>>> then, could not public museums act as stewards of the public good >>>> and
>>>> compensate the artist earlier rather than later by commissioning >>>> works
>>>> the Open Museum, after which they apply Creative Commons licenses >>>> and
>>>> release the work to the public. The museum would earn their >>>> renown not
>>>> the quality of art they obtain in exclusivity, but for the art they
>>>> and then give away. The artist gets money up front and still owns
>>>> work. And the public is served by waiting months rather than >>>> decades
>>> to gain
>>>> access and rights to use the work in question."
>>>> Two more items.
>>>> Within the Berkeley Art Museum's net art portal, we were able to
>>>> *some* of the function of the Open Museum - an open-source net art
>>>> Call it a baby step.
>>>> (see http://netart.bampfa.berkeley.edu and scroll down to >>>> NetArtchive)
>>>> An earlier post to this list (from Leigh I believe; I lost the >>>> email),
>>>> outlined how public institutions in Scotland are now using their
>>> muscle to
>>>> gain IP rights in works they commission. While public art funding >>>> and
>>> IP are
>>>> quite different between the UK, US, Canada and elsewhere, I >>>> wonder if
>>>> Open Museum provides a more positive spin on how public >>>> institutions
>>>> partner with artists with regard to the disposition of IP in
>>>> works - or - is the Open Museum just another step toward big >>>> brother
>>>> What do you all think? What are the ways in which commissioning new
>>>> *could* work in addition to how it already works? What are your
>>>> Richard Rinehart
>>>> Digital Media Director & Adjunct Curator
>>>> Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
>>>> University of California, Berkeley
>>>> 2625 Durant Ave.
>>>> Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250
>>> Roger Malina is in France at this time
>>> 011 33 (0) 6 15 79 59 26
>>> or (0) 6 80 45 94 47
>>> Roger Malina is acting Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de
>>> Marseille Provence and Executive Editor of the Leonardo >>> Publications at
>>> Press and member of the steering committee of IMERA the >>> Mediterranean
>>> Institute for Advanced Studies.
>> Roger Malina is in France at this time
>> 011 33 (0) 6 15 79 59 26
>> or (0) 6 80 45 94 47
>> Roger Malina is acting Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de
>> Marseille Provence and Executive Editor of the Leonardo >> Publications at MIT
>> Press and member of the steering committee of IMERA the Mediterranean
>> Institute for Advanced Studies.