Archiving means collecting and selecting, organizing and preserving; it means translating and transferring; it means evaluating, putting in context and safekeeping, as well as making accessible. Archives are never completed or complete; most are constantly being revised and expanded, and are so complex that a concrete query is absolutely essential in order for archives to serve as sources of useful enlightenment.
Artistic practice can proceed according to similar principles. The artist as gatherer, organizer or interpreter of information creates works, and can be seen, in a figurative sense of the term, as an archivist of highly personal artifacts. Particularly in these times of the internet as a sort of general Überarchiv and of the accompanying illusion that digital information is destined for eternity, media artists are coming up with highly individualistic approaches to the creative process and thereby raising issues that subsequently confront, among others, the institutions charged with the responsibility of conserving cultural objects. This presentation on the basis of the latest submissions to the Prix Ars Electronica—the cyberarts competition that has been held since 1987 and has received almost 54,000 entries in the form of documentations of media art and digital art—shows which forms digital art production can assume and which thematic bridges can be spanned to the artist as experimental archivist.
In addition to the presentation of related projects from the Ars Electronica network, the presentation will focus on the Ars Wild Card, a workshop & archiving tool. Ars Wild Card is a smartphone application developed by Ars Electronica Linz in 2011 originally as a participative workshop tool for exhibitions and interventions in public spaces. This application and QR codes assigned to each exhibited project make it possible to generate content about the works on display in a frame with which installation visitors can photograph the works and comment on them right on site. The application also permits personal impressions to be collected via online sharing at the http://awc.aec.at/ website. Plus, there’s the option of posting the substantively framed and commented images on all popular social media sites. At the exhibition venue, Ars Wild Cards printed out as postcards constitute a constantly growing collection of snapshots of the exhibition taken by visitors on site or via online participation. Visitors can also take printed-out Ars Wild Card postcards home with them.
For the first time, the Ars Wild Card will be extended to function as a documentation system for this conference setting. The outsourcing of the information collection process will be achieved via the Ars Wild Card system and by equipping the conference speakers and the audience in attendance with the smartphone application. This will be an experiment to see how the members of this group express their own personal points of view. All of the contributions will be exhibited during the conference, and can be followed online at the Ars Wild Card website.