Machines Agency in the Construction of Media Arts Memory
Based on “elusive” materials and connected with the notion of art as a research process, that does not necessarily culminate in an objectual manifestation, a great portion of our contemporary art projects slips out of our hands. Current strategies to preserve contemporary art promote the transformation of the technological substrate of artworks in order to keep them alive. In doing so, they are stamping the technological acceleration of our Network Society in the material dimension of the artworks. In other words, strategies like migration, reconstruction, re-mediation, as well as the blurred frontiers between artwork and documentation are creating new ways to record art trajectories. How do these strategies oriented to modify the techo-material aspects of art practices affect the construction of their memory?
This paper is triggered by Wolfgang Ernst’s idea on machines agency as a key notion to approach the processes involved with the construction of memory. In his own words: “technical media have already developed a true media memory that differs from human remembrance” (2011). According to Ernst’s, technologies are at the same time object and subject of archaeological research, showing complementary discourses. When interpreted as subjects, symptomatic examples like photography illustrate “a media-archaeological technique of remembering the past in a way that is radically alternative to historical discourse” (2005). Technologies are co-producers of their times and might become archaeologists in the future. Thus, can technological embedded records become an alternative/complementary perspective of written analysis, interviews of artists, and other current methods of preserving arts? Does technological remembering become a strategic way to embrace the process of construction of Media Arts memory?
To dig deeper into this approach, we will introduce three Latin-American examples: the “Minuphone” by Marta Minujin; “La Máquina Podrida” by Brian Mackern; and the reinterpretation of León Ferrari’s “Planta” by Gabriel Rud.
Vanina Hofman is co-founder and director of Taxonomedia, an independent project that aims to investigate the challenge of preserving, archiving and documenting arts that converge with science and technology (http://taxonomedia.net).
Vanina is currently a PhD candidate on the Information and Knowledge Society programme at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), of the Open University of Cataluya (UOC), (Barcelona, Spain), where she carries out research related to the process of construction of Media Arts memory.
As part of her free-lance activity, Vanina has organized various professional or academic-oriented colloquiums and workshops that laid focus on preservation issues, such as: “Preserve the electronic art: what and how to preserve?” (Buenos Aires, 2008), “Conserving, documenting and archiving” (Buenos Aires, 2010), “Alternative practices of documenting, archiving and accessing artistic projects based on unstable technologies” (Gijón, 2011).
Vanina has presented her work in international congresses and symposia, which among others included Rewire (Liverpool, 2010), Artistic Innovations and New Media: Conservation, Networks and techno-science (Barcelona, 2012), Sociology of the Ordinary (Madrid, 2013).
Pau Alsina is Lecturer at the Arts and Humanities Department of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) where he teaches and researchs in Media Art History and Theory as well as Contemporary Philosophical and Scientific Thougth. He also teaches in the Master of Arts Curatorship at the Higher School of Design (ESDI) of the Ramon Llull University (URL). Since 2002 he is editor of the Artnodes Journal of Art, Science and Technology http://artnodes.uoc.edu , where he has been editing its special issues on subjects such as Materiality, Organicities, Calculability etc… He is member and co-founder of the YASMIN Mediterranean Network of Art, Science and Technology interactions, together with LEONARDO/ISAST, OLATS, Athens University and UNESCO Digiarts. In 2009 he curated, together with Physicist Dr. Josep Perelló, the exhibition Cultures of Change: Social Atoms and Electronic Lifes, on the influence of Complexity Sciences in the Arts, and in 2011 the Synergy Encounter: New Frontiers of Science, Art and Thougth, both held in Arts Santa Monica Center, in Barcelona, where he has recently been appointed as a member of its Interdisciplinary Scientific Advisory Board by the Culture Department of the Catalan Government. He has authored and coauthored many chapters and books as for example: Art, space & technology in the digital age; Art, Technoscience of Life and Bipolitical control; Creative explorations: artistic and cultural practices of new media; Contemporary philosophical and scientific thought; Histories of Art, Science and Technology; etc… Twitter: paualsina; Blog: http://paualsina.wordpress.com