[ISEA2018] Paper: Annet Dekker — (Re)coding the past for the future


Keywords: Cultural heritage, (de)colonialism, 3D scanning and printing, media art, digitization,
archaeology, oil

In light of increasing social unrest and wars around the globe, a growing number of not-for-profit organizations and commercial businesses are trying to fill the gaps that befall cultural heritage sites due to bomb strikes and looting. 3D scanning and printing are among the main vehicles to restore cultural heritage by generating detailed copies of an artifact, building or even site. In terms of accessibility and preservation there are undeniable benefits, but in what ways do these technologies affect cultural heritage politics? While commercial businesses profit from selling copyrighted files, or by providing restricted access, several artists’ initiatives try to  counter these practices. Even though they use similar technology, their aim is to empower people by giving them control over their lost heritage. These ‘decolonial’ practices signify a
desire to overcome or resist a colonial conditioning, favoring collaboration and freely sharing over individual and/or monetary gains. In the process, such examples challenge the  conventional meaning of value, which is dictated by the market and based on copyrights around authorship and ownership. Instead what is valued and becomes valuable is belonging to a wider community in which control over (re)use is embedded in the network.

  • Annet Dekker is Assistant Professor Media Studies: Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor and co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University. She has been deeply embedded in research in the fields of digital archiving, conservation, curation and digital art. Her  research focuses on the influence of technology, science and popular culture on art and vice versa. More recently her attention shifted to the conservation and archiving of digital art and networked cultures. Recent publications are Collecting and Conserving Net Art (Routledge 2018) and Lost and Living (in) Archives (Valiz 2017).

Full text p. 239 – 246