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PAMAL _ARCHÉOLOGIE DES MÉDIA _LIVRES ET IMPRIMÉS

[parution] The afterlives of network-based artworks – mai 17

“The afterlives of network-based artworks”, Emmanuel Guez, Morgane Stricot, Lionel Broye, Stéphane Bizet, The Journal of the Institute of Conservation, vol. 40, issue 2, 2017.

Special issue “The future of conservation“, edited by Jonathan Kemp.

Abstract: Due to the obsolescence of software programmes, hardware and network infrastructures, many network-based artworks have disappeared. How can we give them an afterlife? A close look at messages within an international new media curating mailing list reveals that current theories and practices relating to digital art preservation are extensively based on a comparison with performance art and an immaterialist conception of art. This paper aims to challenge these notions and put forward a suggestion as to what we might call the materiality of ‘machinic-writing’. It focusses on the media-archaeological reconstruction of a telematic artwork by Eduardo Kac, his Videotext Poems, to develop the idea of what we call a ‘second original’ artwork. This second original is a sometimes incomplete duplication of a digital work of art which has either disappeared or is non-functional and achieved by reproducing as closely as possible its original conditions in terms of hardware, software and user experience. Its function is aesthetic, educational and epistemological. This paper aims to show that what is at stake is not so much the work of art’s afterlife, since it has ‘died’, but rather its new archival life.