[-empyre-] Taxonomedia (a short introduction)
vhofman at taxonomedia.net
vhofman at taxonomedia.net
Wed Sep 15 01:14:51 EST 2010
I would like to thank Timothy Murray and Renate Ferro for their
invitation to participate in this stimulating discussion about
?Archiving New Media Art: Ephemerality and/or Sustainability?.
As Timothy has said in the introduction, in 2007 I co-founded with
Consuelo Rozo the independent research group Taxonomedia focusing on
media arts conservation, documentation and archiving. In the following
lines I would like to briefly share with you some of our experiences
and how our work evolved while facing the challenge of preserving art
based on unstable media.
Taxonomedia was born with the aim of analysing the state-of-the-art in
media arts conservation, particularly considering a future analysis of
the Latin American case. A preliminary initiative in this context was
to investigate, compile, translate and analyse different approaches on
this field, which later were published in our blog
http://taxonomedia.net. Therefore, we have included complex projects
like DOCAM, or the Erl King artwork emulation (The Variable Media
Project), among other initiatives. Besides, we have also investigated
small archives like the ?el Archivo de la Cátedra? which collects the
audiovisual production of some students from Buenos Aires University
or proposals like ?Retronformática. El pasado del futuro? a small
exhibition focusing on the history of computing machines, organized by
the Universidad Politécnica de Barcelona placed at the hall of a
shopping-mall of the city.
It is important to underline at this point the heterogeneous,
resourceless and DIY way that drives us to maintain and enrich the
content of our blog. This space during Taxonomedia?s infancy was meant
to be just a complementary activity to our principle goal: Conserve!
However, time showed us that this space was the most important project
that we were carrying on. First of all, the blog allows us to do
something that most of the archivists and conservators do not have
time to do, although they find it extremely useful: spread and
maintain a living space to search and share information. Actually,
this was one of the main discussions during the recent meeting in
Buenos Aires and it is closely connected with the spirit of the two
main activities that we have organised in the mentioned city, and the
respective follow-up publication (2009).
Second, it was more feasible for us to spread information or manage
activities and/or events, than to build an archive. Nevertheless, we
made an attempt with the archiving project ?Arqueología Digital?,
which by all means is not an in-depth contribution to the media arts
conservation and archiving problem, neither a proposal adapted for
low-budget institutions as it was our initial intention. It was just
an ephemeral project with limited scope, which however we may retake
it in the future and improve it by following a different approach. The
project is not available online anymore but you can find limited
documentation about it at: http://taxonomedia.net/arqueologia At the
beginning I found the outcome of this project disappointing. A recent
and ?fresh? look at it made me think that digital archaeology could be
an opportunity to revise, modify or even defy our initial statements.
Indeed this could be a more fascinating challenge from our initial
inspiration that led us to create this project.
Finally, this process has generated new questions and made explicit
others that were hidden within the first ones. The main topics of the
first meeting in Buenos Aires: ?What to preserve and How to preserve
it?? were kind of momentarily overshadowed by ?Why to preserve it??
Our current objective is to link the discussion about the ephemerality
of media arts and its conservation, archiving and accessibility, with
the context of the digital heritage which forms part of the knowledge
and information society. In my case, I find that this perspective may
help me to include a better analysis of the Argentinean?s case,
connecting the media arts archiving to other important aspects of
digital life memories.
In all respects, I am aware that this topic is generating contracting
viewpoints, exactly because of the ephemeral nature contained within
media arts projects. But at the same time, I find an emergent goal to
take into account the vast media arts production that in most of the
cases is either lacking the means or structure to apply conservation
policies, strategies, resources, or the interest to develop an
adequate conservation framework.
I am really happy to participate in this discussion and I am looking
foward to read the perspectives of the experts involved.
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