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A public discussion on personal collecting and media archiving

5 July 2012, 2 PM, TENT, Rotterdam

Jewna Jakobson, calculating machine, ca 1770.

Over the years Dušan Barok has collected approximately 100 gigabytes of experimental films, video art, electroacoustic music, scanned versions of computer-aided paintings, graphics, prints, and numerous publications covering the development of media arts and culture from their pre-history back in the 1910s up until the last decade. He has focused primarily on those works which, though relevant, are not appropriately represented in the canon of art history. Archived in different cities and not accessible online, many of these works seemed destined to remain out of sight for many years to come. After being asked so many times to share a film or a recording, Dušan decided to share them all.

Preserving the legacy of these works involved three main goals: reaching the widest possible audience (including researchers); involving more people in the initiative; and maintaining public access. Rather than attempting to create some grand historical narrative interweaving the content, the collection is designed instead to provide quotable online resources, presented in their context, thus enabling other researchers to produce alternative art histories.

The work explores various problems related to private collecting and media archiving. Over the past few months, a context for the collection has been set up through a number of interventions, including a series of lectures, a magazine, a conference on media-art history, and an exhibition of remakes, by young artists, of historical media works.

The symposium in TENT on July 5, 2012 is an occasion for a public launch of the Monoskop Library and a discussion with invited artists, scholars and cultural practitioners: Annet Dekker, Darko Fritz, Florian Cramer, and Sandra Fauconnier.

How does an artwork become historical? How can a media archive create meaning? Why do so many collectors of digital materials choose to keep their treasures out of the public eye? How do we define ‘fair use’ of copyrighted material? Monoskop Library explores the intersection between personal collecting, media archiving, and collaborative production of art history. (Croatian)


Annet Dekker[edit]

Annet Dekker is an independent curator and researcher. Subjects of interest include the mutual influence between art on one hand, and technology, science and popular culture on the other hand. Currently she works as a web curator for SKOR; as a researcher on the project ‘Born Digital art in Dutch art collections’ for SBMK, VP, NIMk and DEN; as a lecturer at the Piet Zwart Institute, for the thematic project ‘Archive & Memory’; and as a lecturer in new-media theory at the Rietveld Academy. In 2009 she started with Annette Wolfsberger, with whom she currently organises the Artist in Residence programme at the Netherlands Media Art Institute in Amsterdam. Together they produced Funware, an international touring exhibition in 2010 and 2011 on the topic of fun in software (curated by Olga Goriunova). Since 2008 she has been working on a Ph.D., researching strategies for documenting net art, at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, under the supervision of Matthew Fuller.

Darko Fritz[edit]

Darko Fritz is an artist and independent curator and researcher. He has studied architecture at the University of Zagreb, and fine art at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.

His work bridges the gap between contemporary art practices and media-art culture. His research on histories of international computer-generated art has resulted in several publications and exhibitions, including the world’s first historic retrospective exhibition of the field: I am Still Alive (early computer-generated art and recent low-tech and internet art), Zagreb, 2000 and later Bit International - Computers and Visual Research, [New] Tendencies, Zagreb 1961―1973, Neue Galerie, Graz, 2007 and ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2008. As a media-art editor for the online portal Culturenet, he has published ‘A Brief Overview of Media Art in Croatia (Since the 1960s)’ and also edited a database on the subject. Since 2010 he has been researching early computer-generated art in the Netherlands.

He has also curated numerous contemporary art exhibitions, such as Reconstruction: private=public=private=public=, Belgrade, 2009 and Angles and Intersections (co-curated with Christiane Paul, Nina Czegledy, Ellena Rosi and Peter Dobrila), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, 2009. Fritz is a founder of the grey) (area – space of contemporary and media art where he has been a programmer since 2006.

Florian Cramer[edit]

Florian Cramer is an applied research professor ('lector') at the Hogeschool Rotterdam’s applied research centre Creating 010, studying the impact of new media for the profession of artists and designers.

He has studied Comparative Literature and Art History at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Universität Konstanz and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; he obtained his M.A. degree in 1998 and Ph.D. in 2006. From 1999 to 2004, he worked as a junior faculty teacher at the Peter Szondi-Institut for Comparative Literature at the Freie Universität Berlin; in 2004, as a guest researcher at the Piet Zwart Institute; from 2006 to 2010, as the course director of the Piet Zwart Institute’s Master programme Media Design & Communication; since 2008 as a reader/applied research professor; and since 2011 as programme director of the Hogeschool Rotterdam’s new research centre Creating 010. He is also a board member of Stichting WORM, Rotterdam.

Since 1996, he has been a critical writer focusing on literature, arts and media. His most recent longer publication is the book Exe.cut[up]able statements. Poetische Kalküle und Phantasmen des selbstausführenden Texts (Wilhelm Fink, 2011). Practical projects include collaborations with Stewart Home, mez breeze, Alan Sondheim, Sebastian Luetgert, Eva & Franco Mattes, Cornelia Sollfrank, Istvan Kantor, Coolhaven, Wilhelm Hein & Annette Frick. He is both an amateur computer programmer and an amateur filmmaker.

Sandra Fauconnier[edit]

Sandra Fauconnier is an art historian. She has (the equivalent of) a B.A. in architecture from Sint-Lucas (now known as WENK, Hogeschool Kunst en Wetenschappen), Ghent, Belgium (1994), and received an M.A. in art history (Kunstwetenschappen) from Ghent University with her dissertation ‘Web-specific art: the World Wide Web as an artistic medium’ (1997). She has also researched the design of participatory web-based resources at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht.

Sandra worked briefly at Madoc bvba (Ghent) as content and interface designer (1997). Later she was employed as web designer, webmistress, educator and educational technologist at the Teacher Training Department, Ghent University (1997-2000). Together with Guy van Belle she ran dBONANZAh!, a Flemish non-profit media art initiative focusing on digital audio projects and other related subjects (1998-2002). From 2000 to 2007 she was a media archivist at V2_, Rotterdam, where she designed a description model for electronic art activities, developed a thesaurus on media art, and worked on various research projects related to subjects such as alternative copyright models and the preservation of electronic art. Later she worked at the collection and mediatheque department of NIMk, Amsterdam (2007-2012). Currently she is the project lead of the successful online video channel ArtTube, launched by Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, as well as a board member of Wikimedia Netherlands, focusing on projects that involve Wikipedia/Wikimedia and cultural and heritage institutions (GLAM).

She has published and lectured extensively on the subject of internet art and media art.


Dušan Barok is an artist and cultural activist involved in critical practice in the fields of software, art, and theory.