[ISEA2023] Institutional Presentation: Aleš Vaupotič, Eszter Polonyi, Narvika Bovcon & Jaka Železnikar — Sustainable digital preservation of the new media art

Archive Presentation Statement

Third Summit on New Media Art Archiving

Keywords: new media art preservation, digital cultural heritage, reconstruction, new media art archives, media art documentation, inter-media translation, new media art pioneers

This paper is about two pilot studies conducted in 2022 that aimed to develop a model for preserving and archiving new media art work in the context of a research project on the sustainable digital preservation of new media art that is being co-hosted by the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. As the works of art selected for the study by Slovenian new media art pioneers Vuk Ćosić (2000) and Srečo Dragan (2005) were technically obsolete or non-functional by the time of the study, the question of how to bring the artworks back into existence and what components of each artwork to include in the collection and preservation process constituted one aspect of our research. But this process of reconstruction also raised questions about how the preservation of media art is reshaping the practice of archiving within an institution whose holdings were, until recently, largely in traditional mediums. An interdisciplinary approach addressed the problem from different points of view, involving the practitioners, experts from art-history, museology, computer science, media theory and intellectual property rights.

  • Narvika Bovcon is professor of video and new media art. She is member of the Computer Vision Laboratory at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science University of Ljubljana. She has been developing prototypes for the translation of exhibitions from the real gallery space onto interactive online platforms and virtual worlds. She has authored several new media art projects, scientific papers and exhibitions.
  • Eszter Polonyi is an Assistant Professor in Cultural History at the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia and an ACROSS Visiting Lecturer in Media Archaeology at the University of Udine. Her research focuses on operational images emerging at the intersection of twentieth-century film, photography, art and science from regions that are geopolitically peripheral to Europe and North America. She is also working on a book manuscript entitled An Archaeology of Recognition Media and is PI of a research project on Identity Photography that is also funded by the Slovenian National Research Agency.
  • Aleš Vaupotič is a new media artist and theorist. Since 2021 he is the director of the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana (Moderna galerija), before he was the dean of the School of Humanities of the University of Nova Gorica. In 2022 he was the commissioner for the Slovenian Pavilion at La biennale di Venezia. He is the project leader in a nationally unded interdisciplinary project, Sustainable Digital Preservation of the Slovenian New Media Art. Among his research focusses are the theory of discourse, semiotics, comparative art studies, methodology of digital humanities.
  • Jaka Železnikar works in the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna galerija) as an expert in the field of digitalisation, sustainable archiving, safeguarding, displaying and restoration of digital art works. He is also an independent author in the field of net.art and electronic literature, since 1996. Many of his works are now technically obsolete for a number of reasons. His experience with restoration of digital art works ranges from his own work to contributions in restoration of works by other authors.

The authors acknowledge financial support by the Slovenian Research agency for the research “Sustainable Digital Preservation of the Slovenian New Media Art” (J7-3158).