ZKM and the preservation of digital art


by Lucia Ruggiero

bbc photo of vintage televisions.jpgThe ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Germany is trying to solve the problem of preservation of valuable digital art pieces. Some digital art pieces rely on the existence of particular computer software and code and its preservation in order to ensure that digital art pieces are not lost in the future. As this digital art centre holds over 500 digital art pieces in its collection, it is the most important place for the preservation of digital art globally, making the issue of digital art conservation very relevant and important to the centre’s function.

When outdated digital hardware is no longer used and becomes obsolete, digital art pieces that depend on this particular hardware are in danger because without it the files cannot be read. As part of their mission to make sure digital art does not become obsolete when the software it is created on is no longer used, ZKM are buying old digital hardware, like vintage televisions and old computers, from eBay or from rubbish dumps. The pieces are then stored and collected for digital preservation purposes. However, ZKM are aware that this solution is only temporary, and that to guarantee that digital artwork does not become obsolete with the advancement of technology, measures must be taken to transfer the work to other system operators so that it will still be viewable in new, more advanced formats.


The question is whether digital art pieces can truly be made ‘classic’, in the same way that traditional art forms are turned into classics through time, when their viewing by the public depends so crucially on the existence and preservation of digital hardware that is so often discarded and replaced due to technological advancement.

Article by the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24585267

Official website for ZKM Centre: http://on1.zkm.de/zkm/e/

(Credit for photos: BBC website and ZKM website.)



Leave a Reply

Related Articles

Preservation, re-use and management of Roma cultural heritage: REACH Local Encounter
The REACH project (H2020 CULT-COOP-06-2017) contributes to unlock the potential of people to engage in culture and cultural heritage in order to foster creativity and innovation and, thereby, to empower citizens to face the immense and rapid changes taking place in Europe and Beyond. The pilot project in Hungary is focusing on the largest transnational minority group in Europe, the Roma communities. The aim of the minority heritage pilot is to show how the institutionalisation of their (re)appro...
Going to iPRES2018, the 15th International Conference on Digital Preservation
We are excited to share the detailed schedule - with information about every session - for iPRES2018, the 15th International Conference on Digital Preservation. We are using the Open Science Framework (OSF) platform to make the full conference proceedings available - including slides, papers, poster images, workshop materials, panel questions, session notes, and supplementary materials. We are pleased to see many people registering for iPRES 2018. There is still time to register if you ha...
VRTCH’18 - 1st International Conference on VR Technologies in Cultural Heritage
Preserving Cultural Heritage is a complex task that requires skills and techniques which need to be constantly upgraded. This 2-days event is thought not only as a classic conference, but also as a multi-level tutoring and an multidisciplinary collaboration opportunity for experts, librarians, researchers and all the other related stakeholders. In order to achieve common methodologies and best practices, between 29-30 May, 2018, we have the opportunity to come together, exchange ideas, experienc...
A new way to connect cultures and people: The Nomad Creative Projects
The Nomad Creative Projects is a cultural international initiative with the aim to develop cross-cultural links around the world and showcase projects meeting and sharing experience with foreign cultural actors, thinking on actual topics related to the concept of culture and the presentation of new trends in the field of arts. It wants to accelerate, catalyse, connect and communicate civil society initiatives in arts and culture rethinking and building the world as an open, inclusive ...