Hard to believe, but according to the Library of Congress, the average life of a Web site is between 44 and 100 days. They have pointed out, "The Web has revolutionized communications, making it possible for virtually anyone to become a publisher. Yet much of the material from the early days of the Web has vanished."
So, if you ever wondered where vanished works go, wonder no more!
The Rhizome To The Rescue!
The Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Although the Rhizome is an online museum, it is an affiliate of the New Museum, conducting specific business activities and operations from their location in the Bowery section of New York City.
The Rhizome was founded in 1996 by some of the first artists to work online. Today, it has become a thriving nonprofit whose website is a 'dynamic, interactive platform, rich in historical resources and updated continually with new art and commentary by a vast community.'
Non-paying users of the Rhizome website can view all of the work in Rhizome’s ArtBase collection for free. They can also sign up to receive the Rhizome News, a weekly newsletter; create a portfolio page or profile, and submit work to the ArtBase.
Rhizome Members have advanced access to the website and the ability to use a variety of tools. They can view the full record of individual artworks; annotate and comment on works; curate online exhibitions, and vote in a commissions program.
Where Have Those Vanished Works Gone?
The ArtBase online archive of digital art contains over 2,500 art works. These include materials such as software, code, websites, moving images, games, and browsers towards aesthetic and critical ends. New submissions are welcomed and the curatorial staff is reviewing works monthly.
According to the Rhizome, many works in the collection are entirely born-digital and without a physical counterpart. The purpose of ArtBase is to not just simply catalog, index, and preserve them as works of art. Instead, ArtBase is designed around promoting access to these transmissible art objects, which is no small feat given nearly all were born digital using platforms no longer available, or even in existence!
In addition to Internet art, the Rhizome archives unique microsites from events, publications, exhibitions, and projects from Rhizome's past. Visitors can spend hours once again savoring the Internet of old. They can find games that allow them to shoot lasers by repeatedly smashing the 'X' key on their keyboard while manipulating the the shooting object's direction with the 4 arrow keys that will move adjust aim up/down or left/right. Then perhaps a visitor simply wishes to gaze upon fractal artwork or give 'nastynets' a try!
No matter what your pleasure, you will find it preserved at the Rhizome.
|n o wi k o n i k .c o m (2005)|
Mark Sedgwick. "He ain't heavy." 2005. 2012-Jul-29.
Ben Fino-Radin, Rhizome's Digital Conservator, recently spoke at Digital Preservation 2012 (DP12), hosted by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Program (NDIIPP) and National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) held in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Fino-Radin shared how in the past, institutional and disciplinary boundaries have often kept innovation and progress within their respective silos of knowledge. According to Fino-Radin, "The Rhizome remains one of the few organizations dedicated specifically to the sustained preservation of and universal access to the cultural history embodied by Internet art and variable media."
As more attention is directed to preserving this type of cultural heritage out of the vast creations emerging from digital born work, then it will be institutions like the Rhizome who will lead the way in showing others how to expand collaboration and communication outside the traditional art world and museum community in order to make such collections a reality.
To read more about Digital Preservation Practices and the Rhizome ArtBase, click here. Register here to become a Rhizome member, or make a donation.
Organizing and preserving photos is important, and Digital Directions sponsor E-Z Photo Scan can help! Learn more about how photo scanning can help you to keep, protect, share, and connect with your photos.