Currently you are developing a concept to contextualise Internet-based Art by recording users in front of their screens as they interact with the artwork, which is then documented. This seems to offer a brilliant way to shift the focus from the technological condition of Internet-based Art to its use in everyday culture—can you explain the aims of this project more in detail?
I was often asked to advise institutions on archiving Internet-based Art, and I never knew what to say. There are so many different kinds of works, and only a very small percentage of the works are static enough to archive through copying or backing up the data. Also most of the works are very, if not fully, dependent on the context in which they are viewed if they are to function as intended. Think of works in domain names, works that exist on video or blogging services, generative works etc. To draw the comparison with Performance Art again, I felt as if people were trying to archive the body of the performer to be able to archive the work. As if you would freeze Marina Abramovic. In collaboration with Robert Sakrowski, art historian, former head of the Netart-Datenbank.org at TU Berlin and currently running the initiative Curating YouTube, I am making a template for how to document your own private usage and viewing of Internet-based Art.
This would include filming the person using the computer with an over-shoulder shot and a screen recording, even including audio commentary. I am talking about the users in their natural setting, at home, in private, with all kinds of stuff on their desks, or watching in bed, doing and looking however they want. Alongside that we will collect these documentations on YouTube and create curated playlists. We will initiate the documentation of old art works that are still online ourselves and hope to find partners in archiving this documentation footage next to putting it on YouTube. We decided to use YouTube because we don’t have to run extra servers and the services are a safe and easy bet in archiving video for the future, easily accessible by other participants, including the possibilities for tagging and managing playlists. Although I am worried about their censorship issues, so we will always make back-ups and keep our eyes open for other options. At the moment we are discussing with the Netherlands Media Art Institute, NIMk, and looking for other interested institutions and people. The most important part is the template, so other people can participate in this subjective guerrilla archiving. By documenting pieces they have made themselves, which they love or they hate, and putting the documentation of art works online.