[ISEA2023] Paper: Alexandre Michaan & Philippe Bettinelli — When interactive artworks act as archives: migrating and documenting Immemory by Chris Marker


Third Summit on New Media Art Archiving

Keywords: CD-ROM artworks, archives, new media art preservation, documentation, historicization.

Researching Chris Marker’s digital artwork Immemory and working on its preservation for the future reveals the relevance of considering certain media artworks as archives in themselves. Created in 1997 for CD-ROM, Immemory has undergone several transformations on form and content, and was brought to the web for an online version between 2007 and 2013, re-coded in Flash format. After Flash became obsolete in 2020, the need for a reflection on how to sustain the work for the future and how to inform future viewers on its various versions led to a conservation study and reflection on the ways to document it. With Chris Marker’s use of re-incorporation of personal documents, references, and quotes from earlier artworks, the topic of historicization is at the core of the artwork and thus requires to play an important part in its study, when archiving it and presenting it to the public. It can serve as an interesting example of how self-contained digital artworks such as CD-ROM-based works from the 1990s can be experienced today depending on what documentation and information is accessible for the

  • Alexandre Michaan is a media art conservator based in Paris. After graduating at the National institute for cultural heritage in France, and a stay at the conservation laboratory of LIMA in Amsterdam, where he worked on obsolete software-based artworks for CD-ROM, he has been since 2013 specializing in the preservation of audiovisual artworks threatened by obsolescence. He is currently working as a researcher, on a PhD focused on documentation procedures for the preservation of media artworks at Université de Saint-Etienne, and worked in the past years at Centre Pompidou on the digitization of video collections, and the conservation study of Chris Marker’s video and computer-based installation Zapping Zone.
  • Philippe Bettinelli is a curator working in the New Media Department of the National Museum of Modern Art at Centre Pompidou in Paris. He has previously been in charge of Public Art in the French National Center for Visual Arts (Centre national des arts plastiques – CNAP), and curator in charge of Visual Arts, 1960-1990, in the same collection. Aside from new media and public art related issues, his research focuses on the crisis of landscape in modern and contemporary art, which was the subject of a three-years teaching cycle he gave with Baptiste Brun in École du Louvre. He has also been a member of the drafting committee of the journal Histoire de l’art, and is currently in the drafting committee of Perspective. Bettinelli studied Cultural Law at Université Paris Sud and History of Art at the École du Louvre before completing his studies in conversation at the Institut national du patrimoine (2014-2015).