Media Art Needs Research and Archives
Oliver GrauUniversity of the Danube, Krems, Austria
May 22, 2011 / 6.00 pm
Center for Urban History, Lviv
Over the last forty years Media Art has evolved into a vivid contemporary factor, Digital Art became "the art of our time" but has still not "arrived" in the core cultural institutions of our societies. Although there are well attended festivals worldwide, funded collaborative projects, discussion forums and database documentation projects, Media Art is still rarely collected by museums , not supported within the mainframe of art history and nearly inaccessible for the non north-western public and their scholars. Even if today Media Art with its multifarious potential of expression and visualization, which thematizes complex challenges of our societies like globalization, knowledge explosion, genetic engineering, ecological crises etc. quantitatively is dominating the art schools – Media Art was almost ignored by most museums, the acquisition and maintenance can still not compete with traditional art media. Thus, due to the fast changes in storage media, we witness the erasure of a significant portion of the cultural memory of our recent history. And it is no exaggeration to state that we face the TOTAL LOSS OF AN ART FORM from the earliest times of our postindustrial-digital societies. The development of the field is supported in an increasingly enduring manner by new scientific instruments like online image and text archives, which attempt to document collectively the art and theory production of the last decades. By discussing examples from a variety of projects from the natural sciences and the humanities, this talk tries to demonstrate the strategic importance of these collective projects, especially in their growing importance for the Humanities.