In her article “The Myth of Immateriality: Presenting and Preserving New Media,” Christiane Paul discusses the feasibility of keeping records of new media and art in the digital age. By comparing and contrasting the old methods of art preservation with new media, Paul displays the woeful inability to keep up with the times of these original ways. However, she presents several new ways in which new media is being preserved for the future.
In the new digital age, many old concepts of how to treat and preserve media has had to change due to the outdated methods previously employed. First and foremost, one of the hardest parts of new media is how to define the concept of art. However, she posits that “A lowest common denominator for defining new media art seems co be its computability, the fact that it is computational and based on algorithms.” Additionally, she described the evolving role of the ‘curator’ of art, whose new job is to “[occur] on the level of audience input,” effectively becoming the moderator of sorts for a communal effort instead of simply picking and choosing what goes into a museum.
Paul then progresses and discusses new ways that media is displayed to audiences — her key example is the concept of ‘mobile’ art, or art that is “defined by the conceptual requirements of the artwork itself.” Effectively, the way to display art should be entirely dependent on the original medium said media was presented on, and ‘museums’ of digital art need to be able to accommodate this switch.
Finally, Paul discusses the ways that ‘immaterial’ art will progress into the future. Typically, this merely involves the collection of software and hardware to preserve different mediums of holding media, but this can go further and change and adapt the art for different audiences. Her key example in this case is a group of people who “[reengineer] … Nintendo cartridges and plays wirh the aethestics of Nintendo games” whose work would become meaningless if they were to “upgrade” to a higher level of Nintendo console.
Why is it relevant that museums are less important in the modern day? I don’t entirely believe they need to go away as intensely as Paul discusses, because I think they are able to adapt to the modern era with how digital technology is progressing.
Where exactly will the future of media go in terms of things not able to be contained by traditional museums? I understand that is hard to predict, but more explanation would have been outstanding.
Question to Leave on
What form of digital media that should be preserved do we see in our everyday lives? Can social media be considered art?