[iDC] Shelf Life

R Labossiere admin at klooj.net
Sat Nov 17 17:54:01 UTC 2007

I'm somewhat preoccupied these days with the issues of funding and economies 
within the arts, so this comment struck me. Thanks Myron.

>Had they had adequate funding and the institutional
>structure based on adequate funding, they would not have had their
>current crisis.

I wonder how "adequacy" is defined. Perhaps new media production grants 
should include a line item for "legacy" or "upgrading" or "future adaptation 
to alternate media." Though it would be hard to calculate these costs, I am 
feeling increasingly critical towards the "fixed fee" sort of grant that 
funds a specific project or time frame because experience tells us that art 
projects rarely have fixed beginnings or endings (at least not the ones that 
aren't conceived of with an eye on the grant that might support it) and the 
implications/follow through of an idea can extend over many years.

And also I wonder what kind of "institutional structure" we might be talking 
about. Many of our art institutions operate on year-to-year, or at best 
a-few-years funding. We are all too familiar with the burdens of grant 
writing and increasingly onerous reporting. The idea of "sustainability" is 
in the discourse now, but I'm not sure what it means; creating a humongous 
endowment? Perhaps, and that requires direction, management and governance 
expertise that many grass-roots or artist-run organizations spurn.

When I suggested at a conference in Winnipeg recently that art institutions 
need to take a longer view/have a longer term relationship with the artists 
they present, someone roundly put that idea to rest with the response, "We 
don't meddle in the careers of artists."

I doubt many artists would consider it "meddling."

- Robert Labossiere

patrick lichty wrote:
> For me, I believe that the desire for a media artwork to be considered
> in the historical record requires one to be intentional about the form
> of their work, and the durability of that work is the artist’s
> responsibility. If a work will be on delicate/ephemeral platforms,
> then it needs to be well documented, or if it is Agrippa, it needs no
> such treatment.
> Digital practitioners need to be honest with themselves, I think, and
> plan their archival strategies at multiple levels of durability if
> such things concern them. If not then they are part of oral history,
> and not the atomic one. This is fine, if it is intentional.

Myron Turner

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