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[Eyebeam Presents] #ArtsTech: Digital Conservation and Archiving

Over the years, we at #ArtsTech have spent a lot of time discussing the benefits of going digital--getting projects, collections and catalogs up online so that they can better connect with audiences, become more accessible and discoverable, and perhaps even better contextualized in cross-institutional educational resources like Google Art Project.

But digital is a temperamental mistress that is susceptible to the rapidly changing whims of technology, making formats and standards obsolete faster than they can become fully integrated. It's time we took a look at what digital means for conservation and archiving. What are we in danger of losing?  Is there a "best practices" approach?  And what are the unique challenges (and potential solutions) faced by conservators and archivists working in the digital space?

**Huge thanks to Ryan Anthony Donaldson and Lindsay Howard for their help in putting together this event.**



7:00pm – Doors. Mingling over wine and snacks provided by Tumblr

7:30-8:45pm – Presentations & Moderated Discussion

- 4 speakers will give 10 min presentations each

- presentations will be followed by a round table discussion moderated by Ryan Anthony Donaldson

8:45–10:00pm – Conversation continues over wine



Desiree Leary is the Media Art Collection Manager at Electronic Arts Intermix where she manages the master tape collection and special preservation projects. She started her career in 2002 working in video preservation digitizing every Coca-Cola commercial ever made. Since then she has managed various digital collections including StoryCorps' digital born audio archive and the digital photo archive for the retouching studio Box. Desiree holds a BFA in studio art from Alfred University and an MLIS from Rutgers University. Her personal art practice in digital photography is informed by her professional practice in digital information and preservation, and vice versa.

Ben Fino-Radin is a New York-based researcher, digital preservation practitioner, and media archeologist. Currently he serves as Digital Conservator for Rhizome at the New Museum, managing the preservation and collection development of the ArtBase, one of the largest and oldest collections of net art and New Media.


Christiane Paul is the Director of Media Studies Graduate Programs and Associate Prof. of Media Studies at The New School, NY, and Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has written extensively on new media arts and lectured internationally on art and technology. Her recent books are Context Providers – Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts (Intellect, 2011), co-edited with Margot Lovejoy and Victoria Vesna; New Media in the White Cube and Beyond (UC Press, 2008); and Digital Art (Thames and Hudson 2003; expanded new edition 2008). She has curated dozens of new media shows, including “Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools” (May 2011) at the Whitney Museum.

Doug Reside became the first Digital Curator of the Performing Arts at New York Public Library in February of 2011 after serving for four and a half years on the directorial staff of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland in College Park.  He has led numerous Digital Humanities projects and is currently editing the Musical of the Month blog at NYPL which makes available one musical theater libretto each month in various ebook formats.



Ryan Anthony Donaldson, CA, is currently the Archivist with The Durst Organization, Inc., a fourth-generation family real estate firm in New York, NY. Ryan is on the Board of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, an organization comprised of 550 local archivists, librarians, and records managers. In 2007, Ryan earned an M.A. in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (CGP) in Cooperstown, NY, and served as CGP’s Archivist. He has previously interned with the Archives and Special Collections department at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Seymour B. Durst Old York Library and Reading Room, and Missouri Historical Society.


This event is made possible with support from Eyebeam and Tumblr, and livestream support from CultureHub.


About our sponsors:

Eyebeam is the leading not-for-profit art and technology center in the United States.  It provides a fertile context and state-of-the-art tools for digital research and experimentation.

Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website that allows users to share multimedia content quickly and easily with a vibrant community of peers.

CultureHub is an incubator for creativity focused on bringing together artists from diverse disciplines and cultures to explore art and technology as a means for developing new forms of expression, sharing creative experiences and promoting global collaboration, learning and innovation.

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  • arlene

    Excellent program. I hope it will go viral on Ustream and beyond. Should be required viewing for all students of digital media and institutions that promote and collect all things digital.
    In the perfect world all things are worth conserving, but in the current economic environment, I wonder how decisions will be made about what institutions will spend their limited resources on? No one discussed the $$ of digital conservation. I am guessing that it will be more costly in terms of hours than physical artworks. Will conserving the past impact the acquisition of new works for the future?

    June 14, 2012

  • Man

    really got me fired up this time.

    June 14, 2012

  • Sarah B.

    The speakers were thought-provoking and engaging; however, I didn't have enough technical knowledge to understand all of the information. It was a great experience, though!

    June 14, 2012

  • tamsen

    I thought this program was very interesting and the speakers engaging and knowledgable, but they only addressed the archiving of digitally native works. I guess i mis-understood that it might include digital archiving strategies for records and works that were originally physical. That's the work I'm currently doing for a museum and was wondering how other arts orgs were addressing making their collections accessible online.

    June 14, 2012

  • Peter P.

    Great meetup! A more detailed follow up for those who are interested would be great.

    June 14, 2012

  • Grayson C.

    Really thoughtful presentations, and great discussion. Ben's presentation was excellent. I work in digital asset management, and hadn't really considered the nightmare that is webart with all its external references. enlightening.

    June 14, 2012

  • Ulku

    It was a well organized event. Just, artists who try to archive works -usually- are not technically inclined and there was a little gap in observation

    June 14, 2012

  • Ulku

    and a very dynamic audience!

    June 14, 2012

  • Sixto Acosta J.

    Great event! Very informative.The work on exhibit at the gallery is awesome too!

    June 13, 2012

  • Offir G.

    What a great location

    June 13, 2012

  • Amanda

    Make sure to follow#ArtsTech on twitter at @ArtsTechMeetup!!

    June 6, 2012

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