Re-Collection: Art, New Media, & Social Memory
How will our increasingly digital civilization persist beyond our lifetimes? Audio and videotapes demag- netize; CDs delaminate; Internet art links to websites that no longer exist; Amiga software doesn’t run on iMacs. In Re-collection, Richard Rinehart and Jon Ippolito argue that the vulnerability of new media art illustrates a larger crisis for social memory. They describe a variable media approach to rescuing new media, distributed across producers and consumers who can choose appropriate strategies for each en- dangered work.
New media art poses novel preservation and conservation dilemmas. Given the ephemerality of their mediums, software art, installation art, and in- teractive games may be heading to obsolescence and oblivion. Rinehart and Ippolito, both museum professionals, examine the preservation of new me- dia art from both practical and theoretical perspec- tives, offering concrete examples that range from Nam June Paik to Danger Mouse. They investigate three threats to twenty-first-century creativity: tech- nology, because much new media art depends on rapidly changing software or hardware; institutions, which may rely on preservation methods developed for older mediums; and law, which complicates ac- cess with intellectual property constraints such as copyright and licensing. Technology, institutions, and law, however, can be enlisted as allies rather than enemies of ephemeral artifacts and their pres- ervation. The variable media approach that Rinehart and Ippolito propose asks to what extent works to be preserved might be medium-independent, trans- latable into new mediums when their original for- mats are obsolete.
art, museum, preservation, new media, digital
Art and Materials Conservation | Fine Arts | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Interactive Arts | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Other Film and Media Studies | Visual Studies
The MIT Press
Art & Art History
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Rinehart, Rick and Ippollito, Jon, "Re-Collection: Art, New Media, & Social Memory" (2014). Faculty Books. 10.