[iDC] shelf life (Danny Butt)

Eugenio Tisselli cubo23 at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 16 09:16:15 UTC 2007


In reply to Danny:

> isn't the "shelf life" of oral communication and
> bodily movement shorter than all those media you
> list?

Not really... you can think about oral communication
and performance art as being largely "open source". If
you see an orally transmkitted story as code, then you
have everything you need to reproduce it. There are no
"hidden" rules or techniques to it, save the art of
storytelling itself. (skills as a meta level of art)

The story is the code itself, and as it is opened to
new audiences, it can live on and on through
reproduction. The fact that many ancient stories,
which persisted exclusively in an oral format during
many centuries, have now been put to print, is due
only to the fact that we don't usually gather to
exchange stories anymore. Our tribes are too big for

But this related precisely to what my point in a
previous post was about: the only chance for
code-based art to survive is to open up its code. Now,
whether it will be opened and put into a digital
commons, or as part of a contract between the artist
and a cultural institution is something we have to
imagine and, eventually, build together.

> my aim here is to ask in what ways the issues of
> "preservation" in new media are completely distinct
> from other fields, and where the opportunities
> lie for connecting our experience to others....

I can suggest to look at past art forms whose code is
open and free to be reproduced, such as oral
narratives, and try to learn from that model. It is
not evident that many digital works are based on code,
precisely because our systems are built in ways which
hide it from view. But the code is there, and we have
to reveal and share it if we want the pieces to



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