[iDC] shelf life

Annette Weintraub annette at annetteweintraub.com
Sun Nov 18 00:06:52 UTC 2007


There have been some fascinating comments so far. One thing I find 
curious is that much of the discussion looks [back] at archiving, and 
not to  strategies going forward.

Myron commented, "I don't think many of us who were using computers 
10 and 15 years ago quite understood the rapidity with which the 
technologies would advance."  This is certainly true; and if we knew 
or suspected, perhaps we were temporarily blinded by fascination by 
potential and by pure technophilia.  We do know now, but are we 
necessarily cannier?  Are we working differently because we have 
experienced axiom 1 and feel the acceleration?  Do all of those 
students coming out of new media programs know what they are getting 

I've always liked looking at new media work with artists who are 
involved in other aspects of contemporary art. Their critique 
frequently involved a brutal stripping away of the same elements that 
I found compelling. It was bracing to look at work sans 
tech-mystique. We are all so accepting of projects that don't quite 
work; most people coming into a gallery with non-functioning works 
have an entirely different perspective. Adobe recently sponsored an 
interactive project to promote one of their projects on Union Square 
in NY. The spot seemed ideal, a lot of street traffic, a space that 
created a dark alcove for the projection and was right on the street. 
Yet within about two weeks, it had stopped working, and never got 
fixed, confirming the stereotype.

One of the delights of the present is to rediscover the past, and see 
things anew. Patrick is entirely correct, we would be much poorer if 
we didn't have our history available, in some form, to explore. If we 
work in media that self-erase, then acceptance of the cycle of 
degeneration is key, and as Sean says, turns out to be  more 
intrinsic to digital forms than we first thought. We live not only 
with instability of meaning, but with the instability of the object 
itself. Humans are said to be the only animals who have foreknowledge 
of their own death; new media artists now have inescapable 
foreknowledge of the likely erasure of their work.


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