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Re: <eyebeam><blast> The Museum of the Future

jon ippolito writes:
>My point is, your work for the World Wide Web will survive
>in its current form *only if* you have the imagination to conceive of
>it as a variable medium in the first place.

>Of course, as Stephen points out, there's nothing to prevent an artist
>or curator in the year 2020 from running a Web project locally. They'll
>just need to unearth a fossilized Pentium and copy of Netscape, or hire
>a programmer to write an html emulator on a state-of-the-art desktop
>computer. But those are local solutions. If direct distribution over a
>global network wasn't important to your artwork, then was your art
>really made for the Web in the first place?

Making work for the web already means working within the nature of a
variable medium - one where you cant control delivery to every
user/viewer because of platform and browser inconsistancy, the most
basic being font and gamma differences on macs and pcs. As jon points
out the choice to override presets exists already , and even if one uses
no slippery HTML, no java script, no applets, no plugins,  you still
dont know whether the work will be viewed "by torchlight" as in
micheal's post.

Have we learnt from documenting ephemeral practices of the 60's and 70's
without resorting to coffee table CDroms? Painting has a huge
conservation arm which we dont question, the film industry preserves,
translates, archives and shows superceeded formats at festivals, and i
think museums are already addressing these issues in digital mediums.
Recently I've been in a show which requested that the artists package
thier work with the browser version/plug ins etc so that it can be run
locally in the immediate future anyway, and there are also many
suggestions of starting an art specific archive for hardware and
operating systems.

Another way of approaching this is to begin archiving immediately, sorta
like living in an eternal loop..Ive just seen a call on another list for
"Obsolescent Artwork" which includes stuff like Hypercard 2.0 and 1.0,
Paintbrush, MacPaint/Draw artwork, HTML 1.0 & 2.0, Works using obscure
plugins especially if the company has stoped trading, etc ...But perhaps
in the fast approaching future there will be the flexibility (in my
non-corporate dreams)in our operating systems to adjust to any format,
resolution, browser version, html/js compatibility .. and appropriate
viewing settings for "old" work could be coded into splash screens.
Maybe not..

Anyone who has done performance and degradable installation has had to
come to terms with making art/objects that have a useby date, and the
basis for all the storage mediums we are taking about here, -
electricity, hasnt been around that long anyway - one my favourite
things to get a sense of perspective is to look in awe at museums filled
with elegant experimantal electrical generators. I'd be working in stone
instead of binary code if I really wanted my work to outlive
me..('planet of the apes' come to mind here:)

i find the  web a very present, process type, communication  medium to
work in.. relavent for its moment, struggling to come to terms with
emergent issues of a global era, and of course it wont all be backed up
indefinately on some machine at Parc Zerox, or acquired and archived.
Digital work will fall thru the cracks, just as all forms of practice
have always fallen thru the cracks.  The web moves so fast that there is
already a aesthetic that recreates "retro" green screens in terminal
mode. I dont think its even desirable for web work to perpetuate in
omnipresence, live online in WWW cyberheaven.


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