What Should Be Done With Digital Art As It Ages?

That's the question curators at New York's Whitney Museum had to answer when looking at a Web-based work acquired in 1995.

What's the Latest Development?

Last year, curators at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art decided to resurrect Douglas Davis' "The World's First Collaborative Sentence," which in 1995 was one of the first interactive Internet-based artworks to be acquired by a major museum. However, there was one big problem: It no longer worked on 21st-Century browsers. After much debate, the curators decided to present the work in both its original, broken version and a newer, "live" version. It also decided to open-source part of the original work in hopes that the public could help with the restoration.

What's the Big Idea?

The Whitney is just one of several museums that are grappling with the challenge of restoring and preserving digital art, which, due to the rapid advance of technology, degrades far faster than more traditional forms of art. Some of the questions being debated include: Should such work be left as is, and regarded as a kind of performance art? Could modernization negatively impact the original artwork's intent? San Francisco Museum of Modern Art curator Rudolf Frieling says, "We’re working on constantly shifting grounds. Whatever hardware, platform or device we’re using is not going to be there tomorrow. Frankly speaking, it's a huge challenge."  

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The New York Times

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less