Variant. Documenting New Media Art

25 October 2022
Variant. Documenting New Media Art
Sakip Sabanci Museum’s Digitalssm Begins A New Research Project Titled "Variant. Documenting New Media Art"

How can new media art be protected against technological obsolescence? 

Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s digitalSSM Archive and Research Area begins a four-episode program titled “VARIANT. Documentation of New Media Art," which focuses on methods of protecting works of art in the face of technological developments.

The rapid and ever-changing nature of technology impedes new media art works’ ability to be carried into the future in their initial versions. In the face of technological obsolescence; museums, which are responsible for preserving culture, continue to seek solutions to protect new media art. Technological works of art can survive by participating in and adapting to the constant change created by technology. The concept of “Variant,” which gives its name to the project, also refers to this perspective.

The research project VARIANT. Documenting New Media Art approaches the idea of documentation from a new perspective, by focusing on the practice of reinterpretation, which is perceived among digital conservators as a radical solution. The project, bringing together experts from many different fields, such as artists, curators, conservators, new media researchers and computer scientists, seeks the questions of how to protect the timeless value of art against the rapid change of technology, what can be learnt from new media documentaries and network science for documentation practices and whether documentation can replace the artwork.

In the first episode of the program, to be held online on Thursday, October 27 at 17:00; Özyeğin University lecturer Dr. Zeynep Merve Uygun will touch on the concept of “new media documentary” and address “sustainable archive practices.” Multimedia artist Deniz Tortum will share his observations as an artist working on archives and will discuss “how new media and artificial intelligence tools can affect archiving processes.”

In the round table section of the event moderated by digitalSSM Archive and Research Area Officer Osman Serhat Karaman, the following questions will be open to discussion: “What kind of a method can new media practices offer for archiving new media artworks? With a documentation practice, how can we revive artworks that have disappeared due to technological obsolescence? What kind of experience can we carry into the future if works of art are designed to disappear over time?” questions will be discussed. The attendance to conference, which will be held online on Thursday, October 27 at 17:00, is free of charge and is open to registration via Sakıp Sabancı Museum's website. You can follow the upcoming episodes of the conference series on the upcoming events page of SSM. Conference language is Turkish. Dr. Zeynep Merve Uygun

Zeynep Merve Uygun received her BA in English Language and Literature from Bogazici University and her MA in Film and Television Department from İstanbul Bilgi University. She received her PhD in trans-disciplinary documentary film from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Prior to her current occupation as an assistant professor in the department of communication design at Özyeğin University, she worked as a lecturer at Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul Şehir University and Koç University and has given lectures on documentary cinema, digital storytelling and video production. Zeynep Merve Uygun has taken part in many international film festivals and workshops as a mentor, tutor and also jury member. Her animated and experimental documentaries such as IN OUT and Zigzag, besides receiving many international awards, have been screened at more than fifty international film festivals including Cannes, Boston Turkish Film Festival, Golden Orange and IF Istanbul (Istanbul Independent Film Festival). Her research interests include visualization of academic research, visual representation of body and space in documentary film, digital ethnography, and new media documentaries (interactive documentary, digital storytelling, transmedia documentary etc.). Deniz Tortum His films and multimedia work have been screened in many festivals, including the Venice Film Festival, SXSW, IFFR, IDFA, Hot Docs and Dokufest. He was selected as one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Cinema" by Filmmaker Magazine in 2019. His feature documentary “Phases of Matter” (2020) premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2020 and received the Best Documentary awards at Istanbul and Antalya Film Festivals. “Our Ark,” his latest short that he codirected with Kathryn Hamilton has premiered at IDFA in November 2021 and won Best Short Film award at Istanbul Film Festival. 

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