One of the most visionary writers and communicators about art and
technology was Jonathan Benthall with his monthly columns in Studio
International from March 1969 to the early 1970s when he decided
'avant-garde contemporary art was a dead end' cited in interview with
Professor Alan Macfarlen ((2005).
He's coming to speak on 26th July at a one day symposium in Cambridge which
may offer some new insights into this 'marginal/mainstream' dialogue as
other speakers include Jasia Reichardt, Roger Malina, Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon,
Neal White as well as Gustav Metzger.
Hope to perhaps see some of you there. Thanks to Johannes and Paul for
these fascinating emails.
all best wishes
On Saturday, 28 June 2014, Paul Brown <[log in to unmask]
> Hi everyone
> If I may briefly put my tuppence into the mix:
> I studied art from 1965 and only later - in 1968 at Cybernetic Serendipity
> - discovered what I will for brevity call “computer art”. So I see myself
> as an artist. I am continuing a tradition that goes back via 20th century
> constructivism, etc… to Cezanne and further back to Giotto and beyond. I
> adamantly opposed (as many of you will remember) the attempts in the 2000’s
> to claim that “new media” was significantly different from the art of the
> past. This mistaken attitude only helped to ghettoise the field.
> The other thing to consider is the long-established conservatism of the
> mainstream art world. The “new” has always found it hard to break in. An
> editorial in the Studio Magazine (in 1929 I think) asked if it was time to
> reconsider Cezanne or whether to just leave him in the “amateur” category.
> Another editorial in Modern Painters (in 1979 I think) asked if
> photography had matured enough to be considered as an art form. The
> lessons of the Salon des Refuses (in 1863) didn’t get accepted into the
> British art education system until the Coldstream Report was implemented
> after 1963 - over 100 years later.
> In my opinion it’s foolish to expect the mainstream to comprehend or
> accept the new work. They have too much invested both intellectually and
> economically in their entrenched attitudes and memes.
> The lesson of art history is that art that pushes the boundaries has
> always been an outsider activity.
> Some institutions are breaking the mould - Doug Dodds and his colleagues
> work at the UK’s V&A Museum is an eminent example. London’s Barbican have
> a serious programme addressing digital and electronic arts - both my son
> Daniel and I have work in their “Digital Revolution” show that opens there
> this week. Others dabble (one was famously quoted recently that they had
> “done” digital art and it was time to move on…).
> It seems to me that this is just business as usual. Complaining about it
> is a waste of breath. Just get on with making the work and getting it
> seen. The mainstream will catch up in a hundred years or so.
> Best to all
> On 29 Jun 2014, at 08:11, Goebel, Johannes <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Dear Crumbs,
> > Please allow me to share a different view to Oliver¹s perspective.
> > Since I am not a known member of the new/digital media circles, I should
> > maybe give a few pointers to my background so what I write is not by
> > necessity heard as the voice of a disenchanted person, but as coming from
> > someone who has been involved deeply in parts of the field discussed in
> > this list. This background does not pre-qualify my view, but it does give
> > an indication of my continuous involvement in some parts of the field.
> > I have worked in institutions focused on ³digital² and ³art² in two
> > phases. 13 years as a founding member of ZKM in Germany and then 13 years
> > as founding director of EMPAC in the US. And then outside of such
> > institutions in the 13 years before ZKM, I was learning some trades in
> > field starting with computer music at Stanford, trying to get ³something
> > going² in Germany with a culture deeply averted at the time to the
> > combination of ³digital² and ³art(s)² which is another interesting
> > subject.
> > As part of these positions I curated and organized in 1989 the first
> > MultiMediale festival of ZKM, which then took place up to the opening of
> > ZKM. At ZKM I was able to set-up the structure of ³institutes² for
> > production and research as the first Leiter, ³director², of music and
> > acoustics and a year later Jeffrey Shaw joined us as the Leiter of
> > media. During the first half of my time at ZKM, I was highly involved
> > the design and construction of the ZKM building and facilities. And at
> > same time I was deeply involved in a large archival project of digital
> > data (music) at a time when grants were declined for such endeavors
> > because ³all-digital archives are not feasible² (1990).
> > The discussion, Oliver spearheaded in this forum regarding museums and
> > digital art, would find a trove of materials by analyzing the process,
> > development and turns of the museums at ZKM. Indeed, the ZKM museums did
> > have the largest ³media art² collections at the time and they have
> > invested a lot of energy, work and more or less deliberations into the
> > museumification of such art works. A highly interesting case study some
> > you in academia might find a Ph.D. student to dive intoŠ
> > An analysis of the productions and directions of the two producing
> > institutes at ZKM might be equally valuable. Both institutes had
> > distinctively different goals, methodologies and cultural perspectives in
> > pursuing their potential. And I think it is fair to say that an analysis
> > of how the production side of ZKM evolved after Peter Weibel took the
> > at ZKM and Jeffrey and I left in 2002 may indeed be of high historical
> > interest how it all shifted, where the creation of new works has been
> > positioned in relationship to the agendas of the ZKM museums, how
> > exhibition, retrospectives and preservation activities in conjunction
> > panels and intellectual activities have shaped the change over time at an
> > institution founded specifically as a combination of production, public
> > engagement and exhibiting museums.
> > Analyzing in concrete terms the activities of the ZKM museums regarding
> > ³media art² works at ZKM will reveal in very concrete terms the needs and
> > necessities, strategies and difficulties, Oliver addresses in his plea
> > (central European) museums to integrate new/media/digital art into their
> > corpus. I do not believe that so much has changed in the field that an
> > analytical dissection of ZKM museum activities in regard to such art
> > can be most revealing. (Starting with video monitors for Paik
> > installations all the way to operating systems and ports of ³only
> > works) worth another Ph.D. thesis.
> > Such analysis may yield, that the support system for digital ³stuff² and
> > for the related technologies as it was in exemplary fashion tackled at
> > ZKM is financially unobtainable or not sustainable (people, expertise,
> > machines, budgets etc.). Two pointers: Currently only the western
> > powers (and maybe the cloud giants???) are most likely in the position to
> > constantly monitor their data, copy it before it deteriorates and port it
> > to other formats and operating systems. There is a reason why banks
> > (certainly one of the most powerful entities on this planet) stick for so
> > long to old generations of machines, languages and operating systems for
> > decades way beyond where the technology industry has moved the rest of
> > world; or why they even print their data out on acid-free paper and store
> > it deep in a mountain.
> > I was hired to the US to build an ³Experimental Media and Performing Arts
> > Center² (EMPAC) as part of the oldest technical university in the US,
> > Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I worked with architects and engineers
> > to define parameters and functionality for an eventually - $220 million
> > project, which did not have any museums, but which was to be focused on
> > ³time-based arts² and creating a common infrastructure and program that
> > would span the digital (computer) and the physical (experiential) realms
> > and that would support arts, science and engineering to use the
> > under the same roof with the hope for serendipity to bridge between the
> > different motivations, goals and methodologies of arts, science and
> > engineering. At the same time I was enabled to create a team of four
> > curators (covering time-based arts from the visual arts to music, dance
> > and theater) years before the center opened its doors.
> > ³All of the sudden² a center was created that stands in contradiction to
> > the main stream of how culture is viewed in this society (which is
> > detrimental to the European perspectives and that is one reason why
> > Oliver¹s arguments sound totally different here in the US). And this
> > center for some mysterious reason has developed in a first phase the
> > side² to its full potential with residencies, commissions, technical
> > development and events and installations, while the ³research side²
> > (science) is now catching up - quite the opposite to other such projects
> > at universities. (It should be mentioned that EMPAC is a university-wide
> > center and is not part of any department or school and there are no
> > regular classes or teaching at EMPAC as there is no faculty, but a staff
> > of professionals dedicated to the mission and program of EMPAC).
> > This now brings me to my ³different perspective² in contraposition to
> > Oliver¹s.
> > Indeed culture is only possible by tradition that which is passed from
> > one to the other. And there are different paths for passing things, for
> > changing histories, for preserving that what was done, for
> > re-interpretation etc. like oral, making objects, symbolic (writing or
> > math or digital encoding), and there are different media that are or
> > that what can get passed on (from papyrus to stone to paint to
> > etc), digital being the latest addition.
> > And the major difference being, that digital ³stuff² is not an object we
> > can perceive without it being ³brought back² through intermediary
> > materials (machines) into the realm of our senses the only way we can
> > perceive and interpret that which is encoded in the ³invisible, mute,
> > intangible² mode of the digital is the mapping of the ²invisible² into
> > realm of our senses, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting Š
> > So it might be worthwhile to regard all art that involves digital
> > technology as time-based art. It is not ³an object², it needs at least
> > conversion from the ³intangible² into the realm of our perception. So
> > a digital image or just a text that gets displayed on a monitor or screen
> > would be time-based (remember flickering screens that might interact with
> > fluorescent lights); time as a constituent of the machine and of the
> > conversion (I/O) and of what appears.
> > And most certainly all executions of any computer program are time based.
> > Because the computer is time-based not on a perceivable way for sure,
> > for if you want to see if a chip functions on the electrical level you
> > have to use a logic analyzer which slows ³things² down for our senses so
> > we can figure out if a transistor functions properly again the digital
> > operations needs to be converted to the bandwidth / resolution / speed of
> > our senses to be able to determine ³what it is doing².
> > Every piece of net-art is time-based art. Every digital video is
> > time-based art in a dual sense it is something moving that needs to get
> > moved (converted) to be perceived, experienced and interpreted as moving.
> > (Movies on acetate substrate are time-based in a single sense, since we
> > can look at each individual frame and they are meant to get accelerated).
> > Every work that involves digital technology is not only time-based
> > the machine itself is time-based in its operational mode, but also on the
> > next higher level in the sense that the machine itself (including
> > operating systems, programming languages, video or audio standards etc.)
> > is time-based in an economic sense. Its ever-changing ³embodiment² gets
> > changed continuously by powers outside of those who use it (us). This is
> > different from a sculpture deteriorating over time or a painting building
> > up grime on its surface or an acetate film fading. It is also different
> > from printing technology moving to the next generation of printing
> > machines. The book once printed, is an object. But a new computer system
> > may render that, which previously could be executed and converted for our
> > senses as being impossible to get done. The ³instructions² need to be
> > ³executed².
> > To look at ³digital² art as tangible objects misses fundamentally the
> > properties of computers and thus of the work itself. (I am using
> > in this context as short hand for ³computer based² certainly there are
> > non-computer based digital modes).
> > The declaration or viewing of all ³digital² art as time-based arts
> > the perspective on such art radically. It is now part of ³performing
> > arts², it needs to be ³performed² or in the digital realm ³executed²
> > put on a time-line) to ³come to live², to be perceived, experienced and
> > interpreted.
> > (Just to not get side-tracked too much: certainly viewing a painting is
> > also ³time-based² as is the deterioration of a sculpture but I am
> > referencing the mode of the ³object² and ³non-object² and not the mode of
> > us as living beings who cannot be but time-based and are born and will
> > die, with many heart beats in between.)
> > So museums as institutions based on collecting art in the form of
> > objects may or are not be the appropriate place for time-based arts. As
> > for exhibiting time-based art museums certainly have a ³function² and
> > offer opportunities. But the recent boom in tying performing arts and
> > performance art into the program of museums shows the great, well:
> > incapability, lack of expertise and understanding of museums to deal with
> > time-based art. Museums built in the past decades do not meet any
> > for ³time-based media art², ³digital² art or leave alone for ³performing
> > arts².
> > Even at ZKM where it was the program of the museums to show such art, it
> > was extremely difficult during the design process to integrate at least a
> > few elements that would allow the exhibition of such art in an
> > and easily manageable way. The lack of understanding came from those in
> > power who had little of an idea or experience with ³media² art even of
> > eightiesŠ leave alone interactive installations and their conditions And
> > most of you who are curating ³media² or ³digital² art in such
> > will know best the difficulties you are up against on the
> > institutional-political as well as on the production side to for instance
> > get that large spaces can be dark, that projectors are not noisier than
> > the potentially subtle sounds of an installation, that there is no sound
> > spilling over form a neighboring installation, that adequate projection
> > surfaces are installed, that the lighting does not interfere or does
> > supports sensor technology etc. It is ³absolutely maddening² for people
> > who are coming from the time-based arts to realize how little sensitivity
> > and expertise such institutions have allowed to grow within their walls
> > show time-based art, not mentioning the design of new museums integrating
> > these arts.
> > Likewise the arts market: time-based art does not accumulate ³added
> > over time. Musicians, dancers and actors have understood that forever
> > their art is gone as soon as it is performed (²executed²) and experienced
> > and it is needs a new performance to enter the realm of perception, to
> > meet an audience. ³Media², ³digital² art falls into the same category.
> > Only tangible objects accumulate value and can be market driven.
> > Why does a major museum like MoMA pay a pittance for the screening of a
> > video or for acquiring videos (unless you are a star)? Because the value
> > is time-based and ³expires after use². It cannot accumulate value wile
> > sitting on a shelf, because time cannot sit still.
> > So the argument that museums have a cultural mission and one could
> > pressure them to accommodate and preserve ³digital² art, can at best be
> > valid for central European countries. But even that direction of thought
> > may be flawed because as I tried to point out museums are not
> > institutions that were ever meant to deal with time-based ³entities².
> > are deeply rooted in the 19th century as a successor to arts collections
> > by the courts and churches. And as containers for the trophies of
> > enterprises.
> > Before, courts and churches had, besides their arts collections and
> > libraries, a separate entity for time-based arts their musicians,
> > composers, dancers, actors, writers. And under an institutional
> > perspective, the visual and the time-based arts were all part of the same
> > entity and were paid from the same source. But then these organizational
> > structures were separated out in the 19th century when the museums took
> > over the public viewing of objects and viewing of time-based arts moved
> > ever growing numbers of opera houses and theaters, and then to movie
> > theaters, and then to Biennials and Š Disney Land : )
> > So we can view and position all ³digital² arts as time-based arts and as
> > being connected to the cultural and economic model of the ³old²
> > arts and NOT as being part of the traditional visual arts canon and the
> > related institutions. If museum show such ³digital² art great for
> > whatever reason they might do it. As it is equally ³great² if they put on
> > performances. We wish all time-based artists to find such opportunities.
> > But one will observe that, as mentioned before, there is little
> > of the needed requirements in details (which are carefully observed when
> > presenting ³static² art) to put such works or shows on.
> > ³Digital media artists² produce time-based arts as their art needs to be
> > ³executed², ³performed², with machines, operating systems, programs and
> > I/O devices and maybe by the audience in ³interactive² and
> > art or be it in performing arts integrating digital technology or be it
> > a large slide show on the side of a building. (This certainly does not
> > apply to all artists using digital technology, like those creating
> > objects with prints of digital photographs or 3-d printing or
> > algorithmically developed static objects).
> > And indeed I think such artists and their work do underlie the same
> > economic conditions like all time-based arts. I have not heard of many
> > artists who made a fortune from such a time-based ³digital² works being
> > bought by museums or individuals (besides video installations from a few
> > stars).
> > Now to take this a step further: ³digital² art works will have to die,
> > fade away, maybe being restored at some later point in time but they
> > an acceleration of the changes traditional performing arts undergo.
> > It is the signature characteristic of ³digital² art that it¹s life cycle
> > is indeed very brief. It almost approaches the time-scale of oral
> > tradition. The survival in the
> > ³cloud² is a myth once any kind of programming is involved in the
> > ³performance² of a digital art work. The documentation of such an artwork
> > may be around for a while in the cloud (or on your computer) that is
> > documentation is the only way to keep such works in some way accessible
> > the future. This documentation may include program code, screen captures
> > or video documentation with maybe multi cameras, either edited into a
> > single video or where the material form each camera is kept. But the
> > documentation is not ³the work² and it will hardly ever lead to anyone
> > reconstructing a work from its documentation.
> > Looked at from the traditional perspective, the artist of ³digital art²
> > confronted with being the most vulnerable artist. We know that texts only
> > survived if they were copied by hand on sturdy material or printed on
> > (hopefully) acid-free paper. We have no idea how music pieces from the
> > 12th or 17th or 19th century sounded, where we still have a symbolic
> > notation, but where tradition has changed ³the sound² once it gets
> > performed. Dance tries to cope with their specific problem that there is
> > no common notation they try it now with the help of digital technology.
> > And theater (words) never minded to have all their texts being edited,
> > augmented, cut for whatever performance a director was aiming for.
> > Or the artist of ³digital art² is the most avant-garde because the
> > inherent properties of the work make clear what digital technology offers
> > us contrary to what we are told: The reality of a fast and quick
> > obsolescence and disappearance of ³anything digital² that does not get
> > maintained continuously (!) by a highly expensive and labor-intensive
> > system. And such systems as mentioned before are in our world only
> > created by those who see a financial or military interest. Even one of
> > greatest (largest and of high importance) collections of data, the one in
> > the scientific community, has no way to be all ³saved².
> > Not to speak of the programs and algorithms, which are used and modified
> > and programmed to create art as part of an interactive work or of
> > live-processing. Again, here we have an important example in music with
> > live-electronics, be they analog or be they digital. They simply
> > very rapidly unless an institution (like IRCAM) invests to port programs
> > and patches to new system, to keep old computers alive or to document in
> > flow-charts and with mark-ups in the scores what actually is supposed to
> > happen. And the decisions, which works will be elevated to this level of
> > care, is a matter of politics, of money and of ³stature² and of power
> > like in the old days, when it was decided, which manuscript was worth to
> > be copied by hand on a new set of vellum with new ink.
> > Maybe the ³digital artist² has to understand her/himself like performing
> > artists do: once you cannot perform a piece anymore, once the hardware or
> > software does not run anymore, once you cannot dance anymore, once you
> > die, your work disappears with you. Is that not a great perspective?
> > freed from reaching eternal relevance creating for the ³here and now²,
> > the actual realm of the arts of the performing arts?
> > And this will not make culture get less rich and will not result in
> > tradition being eroded. It is the indication of what digital culture
> > actually means and does contradictory to what seems to be the standard
> > anthem sung by the choir: Digital culture makes it incredibly clear that
> > it is the owners of resources who determine how history and tradition are
> > shaped, interpreted and used. (You might say: Nothing has changed. And
> > indeed digital technology has not resulted in a change in this aspect,
> > has made it sharper, more apparent: digital technology maybe
> > a wide range of areas, but it certainly closed off an after-life for more
> > and more people. I am not sure this makes a difference but it does make
> > a difference if we are told and we believe it IS different). We all have
> > digital ³devices² but we do not have the power to even port data and
> > programs through more than 3-5 generations of devices or through 2-3
> > generations of new operating systems.
> > As we know from theater, music and dance, most works disappear with their
> > creator or performer they still continue to live for a while in
> > ³trans-substantiated² form in some individual or collective memory, they
> > may contribute to a fertile ground for new works. But they will disappear
> > eventually. Which indeed is not bad at all.
> > Was that not the goal of performance art to get out of the white cube,
> > to put things on a time-line, which could not be replicated? And is it
> > amazing that we now revive inside the white-cube that which was meant to
> > be outside of the institutional-temporal structure of museums? Are we
> > building mausoleums?
> > How great (seriously) now we have digital art, which has an inherent
> > expiration date. Maybe that is what is meant by ³artificial life².
> > We should welcome the ³digital² artists to the performing arts world
> > work on the unifying understanding of time-based arts.
> > And you ³digital² artists, you may dive deep into the tradition of
> > performing and time-based arts from a new perspective namely that here
> > may be your (new) roots.
> > The gatekeepers to history and museums need not be convinced to take on
> > ³digital² art. Either they get it or they don¹t. They have the power to
> > support me or to turn me away. But, once again, that is the fate in
> > performing, in time-based arts, that cannot accumulate value but lives
> > only with and through the audience in the moment if enters time.
> > It is a necessary luxury that we have academics, thinkers, writers,
> > curators who reflect on all this we do need this intellectual work
> > because it keeps culture alive as a complex environment and it enables to
> > go into different directions within a cultural context. To stop and then
> > continue to stumble, walk or run.
> > What I am proposing is that we need to support the artists even more so
> > because what will the academics, thinkers, writers, curators do if there
> > are no artists creating new works :)
> > The ³digital² artists wake up as time-based artists, as part of
> > artists and the authors in these fields. The real challenge is not how we
> > enter institutions, which are petrified or have an ³incompatible agenda²
> > I have been trying that approach for ever and I will continue to do so
> > the sake of creating new opportunities for new works and their reception,
> > to support the artists and their work but not for the sake of these
> > institutions or for the sake of history or my contribution to history
> > (haha). It¹s only for the moment I want to experience with an art work
> > someone created to share time with me in its own moving through time.
> > ======================================
> > On Restoration, Preservation and Documentation
> > As I mentioned above, dealing with vanishing media has absorbed quite a
> > chunk of my professional life and keeping works afloat that are
> > based on digital technology.
> > These experiences have contributed greatly to the thoughts I sketched
> > above.
> > The earliest experience was using the then new technology of Audio-CDs to
> > create the first CD series, which pulled ³digital music² (music only
> > possible with a computer) together and made it available in digital
> > through a label which had started to move form vinyl to CD.
> > At that time there were a wide variety of digital audio formats. So the
> > actual mastering process was to convert all the pieces submitted in a
> > variety of formats to the Audio-CD standard. A nightmare. This taught me
> > what everyone knows but does not want to consider when they are creating
> > new works: The actual digital formats dictate how long we can keep ³the
> > work². The only way out is to analyze which format will most likely
> > survive the longest and which format will be supported by mass-market
> > devices in millions of clones (which one may cheaply buy and which one
> > will find on dumps even in a hundred years to reverse-engineer them). The
> > Audio-CD format fulfills this criterion. With compatible DVD players (and
> > maybe, maybe Blu-ray players) extending this strain of devices.
> > As part of this process I had to re-create a piece form the early
> > seventies, which had never existed in a digital copy, but only spliced on
> > analog tape. We dug up an old 9-track data tape on a dusty attic and then
> > found a still existing digital tape drive, to get the bits off not the
> > audio bits, but the program that created the audio. The compiler for this
> > program did not exist anymore, but a more recent version. The composer
> > I had to sit together and adapt the old program structure to the new
> > compiler and then we had to go by the memory of the composer if what we
> > cobbled together was the ³original² piece. This taught me that there is
> > absolutely no way to maintain programs (leave alone specific hardware) to
> > reconstruct pieces later on. Many experts are involved in porting
> > to new machines and operating systems. The ³arts world² cannot support
> > such approach but has to rely on individual fanatics who dedicate their
> > life to such endeavor.
> > An example of pre-digital machines is the Labor für antiquierte
> > Videosysteme at the ZKM, which has more than 300 pieces of equipment to
> > able to play videos from the fifties to the eighties and to digitize
> > Which is important but it reveals that the next question will be how to
> > preserve and copy now the content in the digital domain. A continuous
> > effort without end. Which does not mean one should not start. But it
> > clearly how time-based arts underlies different conditions than
> > non-time-based arts.
> > The next larger project was the International Digital Electronic Music
> > Archive (IDEAMA), collaboration with Stanford University between 1989 and
> > 1996. More than 600 works of electro-acoustic music were collected
> > worldwide. Besides the mountain of collecting the pieces, the information
> > and the legal issues, the question was how to store the digitized data.
> > the time the first professional CD-Writer had entered the market with a
> > professional program to edit and burn Audio-CDs on writable CDs that
> > not get destroyed easily by UV-light, temperature and humidity. Already
> > then it was known how ³regular² writable CDs would get destroyed over a
> > rather brief period of time because of the organic material used in them.
> > The archive was distributed world-wide on such archival CDs. Then later
> > the distribution was switched to hard discs because it was easier to copy
> > than to produce individual CDs. This was actually a step in the wrong
> > direction, because hard discs do not have the longevity of CDs.
> > I do not know how many of you have experience with keeping a rather large
> > complex installation alive over an extended period. Here at EMPAC we
> > produced between 2003 and 2008 an interactive film installation with the
> > Wooster Group / New York City. The work is based on Jeffrey Shaw¹s
> > panoramic screen system having augmented some parameters. This
> > installation consists of a very large panoramic screen (12m diameter,
> > high), panoramic projection with first 6, now 5 video projectors, an
> > interactive chair, 32 channels of audio and a 20 minute video the viewer
> > can navigate through. To maintain the hardware and software over just the
> > past 6 years, to port to new systems etc. has been a major challenge and
> > demanded expertise, labor and finances, which I cannot imagine many
> > institutions would invest (Jeffrey certainly is probably the most
> > knowledgeable in this area since he has a large number of different
> > installations set-up in Hong Kong and has diligently maintained his
> > works.) I could not imagine any museum (but the Media Museum at ZKM)
> > maintaining such a work and updating it. The hardware and software
> > expertise to update all the integrated systems and to make such a work
> > portable is quite difficult to find in one place (Bernd Linterman at ZKM
> > certainly being an expert in many aspects of this.) The accumulation of
> > this knowledge in a new team like here at EMPAC which would need to be
> > the case if Oliver¹s proposal to have museums take on such work is
> > especially complicated. I wonder if such pragmatic examples are taken
> > consideration in the conferences and discussions, Roger Malina mentioned
> > in his recent contribution to this list. And what the conclusions and
> > resulting strategies might be.
> > As I proposed above, the only way might be to have a video/audio
> > documentation of such work instead of keeping the work itself
> > The video formats will certainly be kept supported for an extended period
> > of time, especially if they are used by commercial studios.
> > Which brings me to the final consideration: How do we store the resulting
> > documentation without having to constantly monitor the state of
> > of the data stored on some medium. Again, we in the art world cannot
> > afford complex systems of automated error checks and automated
> > processes. And museum certainly will never be able to create and support
> > such automated systems.
> > It is always good to go with standards, which some important business is
> > relying on like Hollywood. So we went with LTO-5 tapes to back up our
> > productions. Having been through many generations of back-up
> > considerations, I still felt uneasy about tapes or in a generalized way
> > about media, which have moving parts integral to their functioning -
> > can crash (heads on hard disks), stretch or tear (tape) or have a
> > storage life, which will run out at some point in time (hard disks, SSD).
> > For all these reasons, I have been ³fond² of writable optical media like
> > CDs, DVDs and maybe Blu-ray discs. The only shortcoming of these media
> > (maybe so far) that they used organic material, which will deteriorate
> > eventually make it impossible to read the disc. The reflective layer will
> > peel off if exposed to UV-light and they don¹t like high temperature and
> > humidity.
> > I used at ZKM high quality archival CDs, which have been available now
> > almost 25 years. The seem to stand up to their advertised 100 year
> > life-span Š
> > Recently I came across the Millennium Disc (DVD and Blu-ray), which is
> > supposed to not have any organic materials as part of its make-up and
> > which withstood reportedly tests by the US-army in excellent shape
> > (nowhere comparable to standard discs).
> > I would like to hear feedback on my current strategy (for video, audio,
> > images and documents in a format that will most likely be kept around to
> > convert to then newer formats) :
> > Put everything on these Millennium discs; buy a few computers and a few
> > disc reading devices and put them on a shelf, maybe restart them once a
> > year and replace batteries on the mother board Š) and otherwise just let
> > them sit there. The investment might be $5,000. But I can be certain that
> > this is the cheapest way to keep the documentation and documents
> > for say the next 30 years, maybe 50 or until someone decides to throw
> > out - without the constant need for ³checking the state of the bits².
> > =============================
> > Ending on this pragmatic note,
> > Johannes
> Paul Brown - based in the UK March to May 2014
> http://www.paul-brown.com == http://www.brown-and-son.com
> UK Mobile +44 (0)794 104 8228
> Skype paul-g-brown
> Honorary Visiting Professor - Sussex University
Reviews of some recent projects at: