A recent article by T Magazine discusses the challenges curators and conservators face in preserving and updating artworks created using outdated technology. It highlights the case of Chi-Tien Lui’s CTL Electronics, a shop specializing in repairing video artworks, mainly by Korean American artist Nam June Paik. The article underscores the importance of maintaining these artworks’ original look and integrity when updating them to modern technology.
Museums grapple with preserving these artworks reliant on obsolete materials and technologies. They need to find creative solutions to address issues like digital obsolescence, where the technology upon which art depends becomes extinct. This challenge is especially relevant in digital art, where coding expertise is becoming increasingly crucial for conservators.
Various approaches, including collaboration with software developers and the emulation of artworks, are used to ensure the longevity of digital creations. However, questions arise about whether emulated works can truly be considered the same as the originals.
Some artists and conservators have embraced the idea of outwitting obsolescence by incorporating it into their artistic practices. For example, Lynn Hershman Leeson has experimented with archiving her work using DNA, providing a unique and poetic way to preserve her art for the future.
Considering the rapidly evolving technological landscape, saving and updating artworks created with revamped technology and hardware is a complex issue that will become even more relevant in the future.
This news was created in collaboration with Open AI’s GPT-4.