Technological Arts Preservation



13.30 Introduction

Selçuk Artut, Faculty Member (Sabancı University)

Panel: Conservation of Software-based Art
Moderator: Selçuk Artut (Sabancı University)

13.45 Preserving Digital Art at Tate
Patricia Falcao, Time-based Media Conservator (Tate)

14.30 Software Aspect of Preserving Digital Art
Cemal Yılmaz, Faculty Member (Sabancı University)

15.15 Q & A

15.30 Coffee Break

Conference: Preservation of Net Art

15.45 From Collection To Repertoire
Dragan Espenschied, Preservation Director (Rhizome)

16.30 Q & A

Registration required.
The Panel will be held in English with simultaneous translation to Turkish.


From Collection To Repertoire

Dragan Espenschied - Preservation Director, Rhizome

The preservation of net art requires an approach quite different from traditional objects, time based media, or conceptual art. With works located in between fine art and performance art, it is sometimes difficult to define what their boundaries are, in what technological and cultural context they need to exist, and how they can be historicized. Preservation Director Dragan Espenschied of Rhizome, a born-digital arts non-profit founded in 1996 on the internet, will introduce strategies and productive abstractions to handle the institution's ever-growing holdings of 2000+ net art pieces.


Preserving Digital Art at Tate

Patricia Falcao - Time-based Media Conservator, Tate

Artworks with digital components started to make their way into the Tate Collection in the mid-90s. These were initially audio or video components, but since then digital components are part of almost all the time-based media artworks in our Art Collection. We categorise artworks that use the media of film, video, audio, software and performance as time-based media and Tate has had a section specialised in the conservation of these artworks since 1998. Over this period, Time-based Media Conservation has approached the preservation of these works as opportunities for research in the preservation of the different media. We have used the acquisition and display moments to develop our knowledge of the technical aspects of these works, to increase our understanding of the production processes and the different ways in which artists use the different media, the relation of the media to the artworks as well as the technologies available for preservation. All these aspects are essential to define the object of conservation, and to understand what needs to be preserved. In 2019 the Tate Collection owns over 600 artworks with digital components and we are acquiring about 30 new works per year. This trend is likely to increase, as is the number and type of technologies conservation will need to support. This paper will address these multiple aspects from the view of the Time-based Media Conservation Department at Tate, and we will discuss the strategies that we have put in place, and how we were able to develop them. This will highlight the importance of the research currently taking place both within Tate, with artists and  their teams and with external experts on different fields.


Software Aspect of Preserving Digital Art

Cemal Yılmaz – Faculty Member, Sabancı University

In this talk, I will take a look at the problem of preserving software-based digital art from the perspective of software engineering and software-related technologies. I will start off with a quick introduction of the software and hardware stacks available on today’s general-purpose computing platforms and briefly discuss the sources of the technical issues regarding the preservation of software-related art. Next, I will demonstrate that some of the issues faced in this domain are the same with (or similar to) the ones we, as software engineers, face in our own projects, thus the same and similar solution approaches, which are often referred to as technical preservation, emulation, migration, cultivation, hibernation, and deprecation in the context of software preservation,  can be leveraged. Then, I will argue that there are also some domain-specific technical issues waiting to be resolved, which may draw the attention of software and system researchers in both the academia and industry. Finally, I will conclude with some simple, yet quite practical and effective guidelines that can profoundly increase the chances of preserving digital art for the decades to come.




Selçuk Artut
His artistic research and production focus on theoretical and practical dimensions of human-technology relations. Artut’s artworks have been exhibited at Dystopie Sound Art Festival (Berlin, 2018), Moving Image NY (New York, 2015), Art13 London (London, 2013), ICA London (London, 2012), Art Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 2011), Istanbul Biennale (Istanbul, 2007), and received coverage at Artsy, Creative Applications, CoDesign, Visual Complexity, CNN GO. He holds a Ph.D. in Media and Communications from European Graduate School, Switzerland. Currently, Artut is the program coordinator of the Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design Program at Sabanci University, Istanbul where he mainly teaches Sound and Interaction Courses. He has been releasing several albums as a member of a Post-Rock Avangard music band Replikas since 1998. In 2016, he founded with Alp Tuğan, an audio-visual performance group named RAW which produces works through creative coding and live-coding techniques.


Dragan Espenschied
He (born 1975, Germany) is a home computer folk musician, net artist and digital culture researcher. Since 2014 he has led the preservation department at Rhizome. In this position, he established emulation, web archiving and linked data as institutional practices, and developed new approaches for preserving and presenting works of net art online and in gallery space.


Patricia Falcao
She is a Time-based Media Conservator with a broad interest in the preservation of the digital components of contemporary artworks. She has worked at Tate since 2008, and currently works in the acquisition of time-based media artworks into the Collection. She currently collaborates with Tate’s Research Department in the Reshaping the Collectible project, looking at the preservation of websites in Tate’s context, as well as working with Tate’s Technology team to continue to develop Tate's strategy for the preservation of high value digital assets. Patricia completed her MA at the University of the Arts in Bern with a thesis on risk assessment for software-based artworks. She continues to develop research in this field in her role as a Doctoral Researcher in the AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Program, between Tate Research and the Computing Department at Goldsmiths College, University of London. The subject of her research are the practices of software-based art preservation in collections, by artists and in the gaming industry.


Cemal Yılmaz
He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer engineering and information science from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1997 and 1999, respectively. In 2005, he received the PhD degree in computer science from the University of Maryland,  College Park, MD. Between 2005 and 2008, he worked as a researcher at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Hawthorne, New York. He is currently an associate professor of computer science in the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. His research interests include software engineering and software quality assurance.