Friday, April 12, 2019

BPN1749: Dutch media art canon launched

LI-MA, the Dutch platform for media art, new technologies and digital culture, has launched the Digital Canon. The canon consists of twenty digital media artworks, made on Dutch soil between 1960-2000. The Digital Canon project was unveiled on Friday, March 22 at LIMA in Amsterdam as a closing event of LIMA's annual symposium Transformation Digital Art. The primary objective of the project is to add these digital works to the collective cultural memory and to fuel the discussion about the selection and preservation of digital art. Explore the digital canon at

 (Text press release below illustration)

Screenshot homepage

The canon
The digital canon consists of twenty digital artworks made on Dutch soil between 1960 and 2000:
The Senster (1968-1970) - Edward Ihnatowicz
Computerstructuren (1969-1972) - Peter Struycken
Violin Power (1969-1978) - Steina
Moiré (1970-1975) - Livinus & Jeep van de Bundt
Ideofoon I (1970-2013) - Dick Raaijmakers
Points of View (1983) - Jeffrey Shaw
The Hands (1984-2000) - Michel Waisvisz
Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam (1990-now) - Remko Scha (1995) - Jodi
Breed (1995-2007) - Driessens & Verstappen
Nara Zoyd/La Zoyd’s Pataverse (1996-1998) - Yvonne le Grand
clickclub (1996-2001) - Peter Luining (1996-now) - Martine Neddam
the_living (1997-1998) - Debra Solomon
Being Human (1997-2007) - Annie Abrahams
#11, Marey <-> Moiré (1999) - Joost Rekveld
TST (2000) - Bas van Koolwijk
Scrollbar Composition (2000) - Jan Robert Leegte
Spatial Sounds (100dB at 100 km/h) (2000) - Marnix de Nijs and Edwin van der Heide
Agora Phobia (digitalis) (2000-2009) - Lancel/Maat

Project and team 
The project has been carried out by a core group (‘the expert group’) and in collaboration with numerous experts from the field. The core team consisted of Josephine Bosma (researcher and critic), Martijn van Boven (artist and tutor), Annet Dekker (researcher and curator), Sandra Fauconnier (art historian) and Jan Robert Leegte (artist and tutor). The project was coordinated by LIMA and supervised by Gaby Wijers (director) and Sanneke Huisman (curator). Additional national and international experts were involved in various international meetings. Together with them, a broadly supported selection was made, while the often authoritarian selection procedures that lie at the basis of canonization were critically reflected upon. 
The result can be seen on a website dedicated to the project: The twenty canonical works here each have their own page with images, excerpts, videos, quotes from the artists and texts. The works have been researched for this purpose. In addition, the website also contains clear insight into the development of the selection presented and some critical texts about canonizing digital art. The design emphasizes this dual nature by dividing the website into a front and back. This innovative design is made by Yehwan Song. Song is a South Korean designer, web designer and web developer. She designs and develops experimental websites and interactive graphical interfaces. Song is known for her playful design in which she reverses and challenges the general understanding of web design both conceptually and visually.

The canon is by no means an endpoint, but is the starting point for further investigation of the selected works. The first follow-up steps are already being taken. In addition to the website, an exhibition concept will be developed, which involves various relevant issues. For some of the selected works, for example, only documentation material is left and for other works restoration is needed. The canon is also a starting point for discussion and critical reflection, whereby canon formation and the selection procedure are critically examined. The title of the conversation between Josephine Bosma, Martijn van Boven, Annet Dekker, Sandra Fauconnier, Jan Robert Leegte and Gaby Wijers is significant from this point of view: "Canonization as an Activist Act". The traditional form of canonization is used to open a conversation. The expert group invites the field to make its voice heard. The first external text has already been published on the website: Re-writing the Present: To Inhabit the Inhabitable by Willem van Weelden looks critically and philosophically at (the lack of) historical awareness in the field of canonization and preservation of digital art.

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