B A S I C S
N E W S
Welcome to U-Me New Media
U-Me New Media at a glance
About
Philosophy
Press
Research
Community Interfaces
Experimental Film
Game Design
Indigenous Media
Interactive Education
Internet Art
Network Studies
Open Software
Photojournalism
Physical Computing
Faculty
Joline Blais
Jon Ippolito
Bill Kuykendall
Mike Scott
Owen Smith
Cooperating Faculty
Visiting Faculty
Students
Undergraduates
Graduates
Events
Sample Work
Curriculum
Overview
Cultural/Core Sequence
Documentary Sequence
Interaction Sequence
Narrative Sequence
Time-based Sequence
Network Sequence
New Media Electives
Outside Electives
General Ed Courses
Advising
Advising FAQ
Deadlines
Meeting Your Advisor
Registration
Downloads
Resources
IMRC
ASAP
Still Water
Collaborative Media Lab
LongGreenHouse
121 Lengyll Lab
MARCEL
Lord Hall
New Media Society
The Pool
Pop!Tech
Personal Computers
Signout Equipment
Applicants
First Year New Media
Upper Level New Media
Graduate Study
About This Site
Viewing
Posting
Credits
Contact Us
culture
interaction
narrative
time
network
document
"Forging the Future" aims to rescue digital culture
NEH awards Still Water a major grant to devise new preservation techniques
Forging the Future logo
What does new media art have in common with passports? Both expire after five years.

Today's writers are blogging political events and contributing historical accounts to Wikipedia; musicians are remixing tunes using Garageband and sharing them via bitTorrent; artists are posting Photoshop images to Flickr or burning iMovie documentaries to DVD. Yet while the number of tools for making and distributing culture has exploded in the last half-century, it's hard to find a tool for preserving these ephemera.

New media culture is much more fleeting than the scraps of paper and newsprint that once constituted ephemeral collections, but without some means to safeguard its future conservators, archivists, and librarians have no hope of recording this fertile moment in history. Technological obsolescence threatens the most important creative production of the digital age, yet the typical museum's strategy of storing an original in a climate-controlled crate is almost useless for safeguarding such works from the ravages of time.

A Still Water initiative funded by a 0,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities aims to change all that. Forging the Future: New Tools for Variable Media Preservation is a consortium of museums and cultural heritage organizations dedicated to building new vocabularies and tools for cultural preservation. Apart from the University of Maine's Still Water program, the consortium includes the University of California at Berkeley, the online art platform Rhizome.org, the Franklin Furnace performance archive, New Langton Arts, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Erl King, 1982/2004

ABOVE: The underlying programming code is the same for the 1982 original (right) and 2004 emulation (left) of underlying Grahame Weinbren and Roberta Friedman's Erl King.

The tools produced by the Forging the Future consortium will go beyond the default storage paradigm to include the full range of preservation techniques explored by a related Still Water project, the Variable Media Network. Emulation, for example, allows one computer to impersonate another; in 2004 the Variable Media Network conducted a detailed study of emulation as a preservation strategy, pairing original art installations such as Grahame Weinbren and Roberta Friedman's 1982 Erl King with their emulated counterparts.

Participants in Berkeley conference.The two-year Forging the Future initiative was first announced in January 2007 at "New Media and Social Memory," a Berkeley symposium organized by Richard Rinehart that featured members of the consortium as well as science fiction writer Bruce Sterling and representatives of the Long Now Foundation. Video archives of the symposium can be found on the Berkeley Web site, including a conversation among Still Water co-director Jon Ippolito, Long Now founder Stewart Brand, and Wired editor Kevin Kelly (shown at right).

For more information on Forging the Future, see Matthew Kirschenbaum's report on the conference; for background on the initiative or Still Water's other projects, please contact Jon Ippolito.





Updated: 2007-03-17 by Jon Ippolito


Updated: 2007-03-17 by Jon Ippolito

Updated: 2007-03-17 by Jon Ippolito

Updated: 2007-04-27 by Jon Ippolito

Updated: 2007-04-27 by Jon Ippolito
Posted 2007-03-16 19:37:53 by Jon Ippolito
Comments on this story... (toggle all)

More network news...