Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands (NL)


Annet Dekker is Assistant Professor Media Studies: Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Visiting Professor and co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University. She has previously been Researcher Digital Preservation at Tate, London, core tutor at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam and Fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam. She also worked as web curator for SKOR (Foundation for Art and Public Domain 2010-12), was programme manager at Virtueel Platform (2008-10) and curator/head of exhibitions, education and artists in residence at the Netherlands Media Art institute (1999-2008). She has published in numerous collections and journals and is the editor of several volumes, among others, Lost and Living [in] Archives. Collectively Shaping New Memories (Valiz 2017) and Speculative Scenarios, or What Will Happen to Digital Art in the (Near) Future? (Baltan Laboratories/Virtueel Platform 2013). Her recent monograph, Collecting and Conserving Net Art (Routledge 2018) is a seminal work in the field of net art conservation.


Breathing Life into the Living Dead

Can internet art be made to last in a sustainable way? It is no surprise that artists are keen to use and respond to new material in their practices. With every new invention, throughout the years, museum conservators tried to follow and adapted their working methods to the new challenges. Similarly, with the rise of digital and internet artworks conservators try to think of solutions to preserve the collected artworks. While this works well in some cases, in many cases changes to the artwork happen as most hardware and software follow the design of planned-obsolescence. As a consequence endless migration and emulation projects are set up to prolong the functioning of the artworks. It makes sense to use upgraded technology to keep an artwork going. Yet this enduring rat race becomes questionable when thinking about the environmental impact of digitals. In this presentation I will discuss the oxymoron ‘digital sustainability’. While acknowledging the inherent contradiction, by showing different examples I will argue that digital sustainability may be less about technical solutions, and more about rethinking conservation in favour of the aesthetics of memory.