[ISEA2020] Workshop: Sarah Cook & Roddy Hunter — Networked art practice after digital preservation

Workshop Statement

This workshop traces the edges and boundaries of the preservation of both analogue and digital networked art practice. Focusing upon artworks which draw on networks of distribution (such as mail art, and the Internet) as their primary medium of production, we aim to unpack existing digital preservation efforts concerning online and offline exchanges, while also feeling out the present and future implications of the use of machine learning and data mining within preservation strategies and how they affect artistic and curatorial agency and authorship. Typically understood as inherently ephemeral (as in the case of mail art) or immaterial (as with internet-based exchanges), networked art practice often, deliberately, resists collection and preservation. Given its linkages to wider networks, knowing what the edge or boundary of the work is, and where to ‘draw a line’ around its preservation is a substantial challenge. Workshop participants will collectively identify questions addressing digital preservation (including ‘preventative conservation’ and record-keeping) as it is manifest within the production, distribution and reception of networked art practices. Joined by guest practitioners sharing first-hand insights, participants will then work in groups to develop novel approaches, leading towards a greater understanding of the networked conservation concerns of a diverse range of work. Maximum of participants: 15 Duration: 5 hours.

  • Sarah Cook is a curator of contemporary art. She is professor of Museum Studies in Information Studies at the University of Glasgow, UK. She is editor of 24/7: A Wake-up Call For Our Non-stop World (Somerset House, 2019) and INFORMATION (Documents of Contemporary Art, Whitechapel and MIT Press, 2016) and co-author (with Beryl Graham) of Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media (MIT Press, 2010; Chinese edition 2016). Sarah is one of the curators behind Scotland’s only digital arts festival NEoN Digital Arts and was founder/curator of LifeSpace Science Art Research Gallery in the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. She recently curated 24/7 for Somerset House, London.
  • Roddy Hunter is an artist, curator, educator and writer. He is Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield, England. Since formative performance art interventions in urban spaces in the early 1990s, he has shown his work across Asia, Europe and North America including at CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Tramway, Glasgow; CCCB, Barcelona; CGAC, Santiago de Compostela and Ludwig Museum, Budapest. His curatorial practice emerged while a member of Hull Time Based Arts in the mid-1990s and includes projects in a range of art spaces, galleries and museums including Richard Saltoun Gallery, London and festivals of live and time-based art such as ‘Span2’, London and ‘Rootless’ 97: The Nomad Domain’, Hull. His most recent practice engages with art, curating, networks and performance after the internet, such as through his curatorial project, ‘The Next Art-of-Peace Biennale’: peacebiennale.info.