[-empyre-] Conservar, Documentar, Archivar.

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Fri Sep 24 05:14:20 EST 2010

dear all

thanks much to the presentations by Vanina Hofman, Claudia Kozak,  and Ricardo Dal Farra; 
the angles from which you approached the topic of discussion, and your references to political/geographical location, 
your positions and the questions you raise were most inspiring and thought- provoking, and i am very grateful
to learn more about the projects and productions, archived-archivable or not, that are going on in the Latin American
cities and regions; 

it certainly is true as you point out, that in the northern / & english speaking countries, and perhaps amongst the majority of
participants on a list such as this one, there is often not enough knowledge and awareness of media arts productions as well
as reflections and archaeologies of media histories, the "relationship between arts and technology from the
beginning of 20th Century" & "intermedial technological poetics” in Argentina and other Latin American countries,  refered to by Claudia. 

Vanina not only mentioned that there was an increase in important media artworks over the past years or decades (which i would like to learn more about,
and also understand better the infrastructural situations, the conditions for production/ exhibition, and archiving, the organizations and media arts schools (?), festivals, media libraries and mediathèques at museums -  surely there is information and a network and it's my lack that I did not investigate more, or convince the Latin art galleries/dealers in Houston to show more work of this kind)

she then adds:
For whom is important the artwork itself?  and for whom its  
documentation (a memory, a platform, a departing point for research)?

For Taxonomedia the documentation was always a challenging aspect of  
the media arts conservation that one has to confront. We were aware  
that the high budgets required in conservation projects were rendering  
their implementation feasibility impossible and thus out of our scope.  
On the other hand the extensive production of interesting artworks  
based on technological means in countries like ours deserve a wider  
visibility. Information archiving can fill the gap between artwork  
production and the possibilities of artwork exhibition. Moreover,  
these online spaces are significant because when considering the non  
linear way that technology becomes obsolete it is unlikely that these  
artworks can be uncovered in the future. Thus, the multiple archives  
conceived with different criteria may provide some kind of  
rediscovering of artworks at some moment.  >> 

I would love to hear more discussion here about some of the ideas you've offered, on the "weak archive,"  or the "radar station" (as i understand an ironic side remark from the collective “Exploratory” Ludión
(www.ludion.com.ar).....and this notion of "information archiving."

I have 2 brief examples that I feel connect directly to my practices, and perhaps missing connections, making me wish to re-thread the links (also sharing this here with you).

In 2002 I participated in a workshop organized by Fabian Wagmister, "RePerCute -- Reflexiones sobre Performance, Cultura y Tecnología,  Mayo 10-11, 2002 HyperMedia Studio, UCLA, Los Angeles,  and it was a very formidable
meeting of artists and performance/media practitioners from Latin America who spoke about their work and their working situations & political ideas.  This diálogo was recorded and then transcribed, i had hoped to publish it in a book or catalogue, but the dream was not fulfilled, well, here it is online now: http://www.aliennationcompany.com/projects/repercute.htm     (in spanish and english) , transcript: http://www.aliennationcompany.com/projects/redial.htm

Fabian had told us he was hoping to set up a media arts center in Buenos Aires, and he looked for trans-cultural collaboration on this venture, which was delayed, I think, due to economic circumstances.  A short while later i left Houston and moved to work in Europe intermittently, losing sight of Wagmister and the colleagues, and my closest friend in the group died. 
Now I am discovering on the Taxonomedia website that cheLA -  Centro Hipermediático Experimental Latinoamericano (cheLA) -  is alive and well, so this dream has worked out after all (http://www.chela.org.ar)

Have you worked with cheLA and what are the relationships amongst organizations, and artists?  and practitioners in other locations in latin America?

My second example is fresh, from this afternoon,  i met a new MA student here at the introductions;   Lorena Peña tells me that times have been tough, conditions for work difficult, in Peru - she feels that compared to Argentina and Brasil, the circumstances to produce digital art – and find means to document/archive and preserve, along with all the issues that Ricardo Dal Farra so evocatively described -  are rougher in her country, and that creative solutions needed to be invented, without recourse to arts councils and cultural ministries and wealthy corporate sponsors,  for example forming an independent bottom up collective seeking to generate opportunites for work and for dissemination.  and so here it is -  

Elgalpon.espacio:   espacio de creación y diffusion de proyectos artísticos
Cipriano dulanto (ex-la mar) 949 +pueblo libre

Lorena and her friends call the space they've created "un espacio cultural autogestionario"  -  and i trust there are perhaps others, many others, of this kind, and yet the information may not flow enough, across the regions and borders and up north, east and west, and language and economic means & time are perhaps one issue, but online dissemination/presences – in our so-called "social networks" - may be the other, and i often feel that the communities I belong to (say, the network of dance technology and its elaborate online forum:  http://www.dance-tech.net/    -- a truly amazing , growing "archive" of living performance-media experimentation with video commons and dancetechTV, interviews and workshops and bulletin boards) still tend to be isolated (english spoken, but rarely if ever any other language and language system, thus awkwardly separated from the asian regions and their activities, publications, and debates). 

May i ask how in Vanina and Claudia's groups the "links" (and thus the connections i am trying to discuss) are sought or found? located?  
  I notice that Ludion focusses on Argentina,  while taxonomedia on its homepage has a large range of links that appear go north/northwest to the US and Canada (and the Netherlands) or organizations based there?  are questions about such geopolitical links meaningful,  and are there organizations that are located nowhere (rhizome?  forging-the-future.net/  ?) or are trans-local?  and then the question is not important?  But was not the specifically located media archive an important challenge you raised?

with regards
Johannes Birringer
West London

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