Collaborative Infrastructure

Compressed Forests, Jan Robert Leegte, 2016 collection Centraal Museum

On the occasion of the World Digital Preservation Day on the 4th of November 2021, LIMA’s director Gaby Wijers announced the start of a new project: Collaborative infrastructure for sustainable access to digital art LIMA is the initiator and coordinator of this three year project that has two clear and urgent goals: to prevent the loss of digital artworks and to commonly develop the knowledge to preserve these works in a sustainable way.

Works of art and archives in the field of digital art and digital culture are an important part of our shared cultural heritage. The ever-changing technology is the source of  continuous challenges for its future presentation. On one hand, “new” art forms such as Virtual Reality and Net Art constantly require advanced technical research and the development of good practice and expertise at the level of the collection-managing institutions. On the other hand, the sustainable preservation and storage of digital artworks requires constant care, as it needs ongoing translation to a technical infrastructure that meets up-to-date, certified and sustainable technical standards.

Without the right care a considerable amount of media artworks are lost.

LIMA is internationally recognised as a pioneer in the field of media art preservation and digitalisation. For this project, LIMA teamed up with (international) artists, museums, corporate collections, private collectors, presentation institutions, the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE), The Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (SMBK) and NDE (the Dutch Digital Heritage Network)  which is a worldwide unique collaboration in this area.

The challenges at stake
Dynamic (online) artworks and practices require  new approaches to documentation and management for future presentations. 
The fact that collections have accumulated by now a substantial amount of digital artworks, that these artworks depend on the rapid technical development and  the lack of a new generation of experts, make research, knowledge gathering and sharing increasingly important and urgent. A substantial part  of the developed knowledge has not yet been implemented, which generates a continuous stream of questions on the topics of: acquisition, documentation, sustainability and storage. Without this knowledge, the artworks cannot be adequately documented and analysed and no plan can be made for digital sustainability.

The aims of the project
With this project we want to give solid answers to the above described challenges. The project Infrastructure sustainable accessibility digital art invests in research, training, knowledge sharing and conservation. By combining these components we prevent the loss of both digital artworks and the knowledge to preserve them. 

The project consists of the following parts:

  • case study based research on the preservation of dynamic digital art
  • the training of specialists
  • knowledge sharing: each case will be discussed and the results and findings will be shared in fitting formats (like for ex. a round table, symposium or wiki)
  • raising awareness 
  • update collaborative and technical infrastructures
  • preservation of thousands of digital artworks

The project partners

Participating collections
Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), De Appel (Amsterdam), Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam), Groninger Museum (Groningen), Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency (collection department (Rijswijk), Kröller-Müller Museum (Otterlo), Rijksakademie (Amsterdam), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Bonnefanten Museum (Maastricht), Centraal Museum (Utrecht), Frans Hals Museum (Haarlem), LIMA (Amsterdam), KRC Collection (Voorschoten), Rabo Art Collection (Utrecht) and the BPD Art Collection (Amsterdam)

Advising parties
The Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (SMBK) and the Dutch Digital Heritage Network (NDE)

The project is made possible by the generous support of
The Mondriaan Fund, Prince Bernard Cultural Fund and the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund

Image credit: Compressed Forests, Jan Robert Leegte, 2016