SXSW Panel: “Should Web Sites And Video Games Be Preserved Like Art Is?”

Posted on March 12, 2012 by


From a Huffington Post Article:

A look at what was discussed during a SXSW panel.

Presented by Jason Scott, adjunct archivist at Internet Archive, Kari Kraus, assistant professor at the University of Maryland, and Nick Hasty, director of technology at Rhizome.

The “Preserving the Creative Culture of the Web” panel at SXSW addressed an interesting question: “Should web sites and artifacts be treated like works of art or architecture?” Our three panelists discussed how these artifacts, along with video games, internet forums and user-generated forums, have cultural relevance, and it’s important to save them.

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Kraus, a prim, spirited woman with a passion for gamers, takes it over to discuss preserving video games and virtual worlds. Her first project, through the University of Maryland, was funded by the Library of Congress, and archives a set of eight video games, such as “Mystery House,” the first work of interactive fiction with graphics.

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Scott’s project, the Internet Archive, is less like Art Base and the University of Maryland’s work in that it’s not curatorial — it’s all about preserving as much as possible for the future. For example, when Geocities moved to Yahoo, in 60 days the Internet Archive downloaded a lot of it and put it up on a torrent on Pirate Bay. It was incredible to Scott that a 15-year anthropological study, a snapshot of us going online and becoming what we are now, was in danger of being lost because “someone wanted to move something from column A to column B.”

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Others are more skeptical about how this can actually get done in a real way, given the sheer amount and haphazardness of the material out there. Science-fiction author Bruce Sterling, (who spoke eloquently at the “Euro Tech Art” panel) thinks digital preservation is a fool’s errands, Kraus explained.

Read the Complete Article

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