RENEW 2013

The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology

Riga / October 8 – 11, 2013

"Archiving" Participants


A Typology of New Media Art Renewals

Session:Archiving 2

Panel:Presentation Session


Venue:Stockholm School of Economics

The paper will explore the different aspects of renewal in a piece of online New Media Art. The talk will be an attempt to assess the idea of renewal when practitioners use it as a deliberate strategy and position themselves as archivists. The paper will look, for instance, at Once Upon (2011) by Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenshield, which recreates three important contemporary web sites (Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest) in the technology and spirit of late 1997, according to the artists’ memories. The work develops an archaeological metaphor on several levels. The piece depicts a virtual geological excavation of digital detritus found online, investigates the history of the medium itself, i.e. the Internet, and illustrates a journey into the artists’ memory. To theoretically frame those phenomena, I will inscribe them in a historical perspective by referring, among others, to the notion of microhistory developed by Carlos Ginzburg in Threads and Traces. The paper will be an attempt to build a typology of contemporary online renewals. As such, it will be argued that three types of renewal can be identified: a renewal of the materials found in the piece, a renewal of the methods employed by the artist, and a renewal of the contexts in which an online piece of work is experienced (from projections in gallery space, desktop screen to Ipad and mobile phones).

Nils Jean is a Ph.D. candidate in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. He comes to the R.C.A from the University of Westminster, where he earned, with Distinction, an M.A. in Visual Culture. His writings constellate around expressions of the ephemeral, the use of information as a material and Logic. His doctorate research, by thesis, investigates the re-appropriation of digital debris (i.e. obsolete pieces of information) in New Media Art practices.

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