The Transformation of Archival Philosophy and Practice Through Digital Art

John Charles Ryan

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In many ways, digital practices have precipitated remarkable changes in the global accessibility of art. However, the digital revolution has also radically influenced the conservation processes surrounding art, including archiving, preserving, and remembering. This paper explores the conservation of digital (or "variable media") artworks for the future benefit of culture, with particular reference to creators and viewers of art, as well as participants in interactive artworks. More specifically, this paper focuses on the philosophical and technical approaches adopted by creators, conservators, and philosophers involved in the preservation of variable media artworks. Issues of programming, interoperability between archival systems, and enhanced public access increasingly inform the design of digital archives. Indeed, the continuously shifting technological landscape-marked by the centrality of digital technologies to everyday life-problematizes the preservation of digital art through mainstream museological paradigms. Part of this analysis of digital art conservation will be drawn from the archival philosophies of Boris Groys and Rick Prelinger.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy Study
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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