Is This Permanence: Symposium Recap and Recordings


On May 10th and 11th, 2018, the NDSR Art cohort visited New Haven and the Yale Center for British Art.

We spent a morning of the 10th visiting with curators and librarians, taking behind-the-scenes tours of the Center’s collections.

In the afternoon, the group took a trip to Yale University Library’s Digital Preservation Services facilities, where we met with digital preservation specialists to learn about YUL’s digital processing lab and the new Emulation as a Service Infrastructure (aka EaaSI) program currently in development. Naturally, the day’s events were followed with many slices of New Haven ‘apizza’ at one of New Haven’s favorite spots, Bar.

The symposium, ‘Is This Permanence: Preservation of Born-digital Artists’ Archives’ was held on Friday, May 11 and welcomed nearly 200 people to the YCBA lecture hall and over 275 livestream viewers.

The symposium was an offshoot of my project in the Institutional Archives and came about last fall after my mentor, Rachel Chatalbash and I talked about our shared interest in the overlaps between fine arts, archives, and artists’ records; we decided it would be useful and interesting to bring together a variety of voices to discuss the topic as it relates to born-digital media and documentation within artists’ archives.

The symposium was planned over the next several months and featured 13 speakers who delivered talks on a broad range of related cases and topics that highlight digital preservation challenges affecting the stewardship of artists’ archives and artworks, both in and out institutional contexts. The speakers traveled from across the US, Canada, and the UK to discuss their work and insights regarding digital preservation and artists’ archives.

Jon Ippolito’s keynote lecture, Your Archival Format Will Not Save You, confronts commonly held notions in the archives regarding preservation and offers a different perspective on how born-digital materials should be stewarded by looking outside the academy for solutions to shared digital challenges.

Watch the Symposium Sessions & Keynote

Recordings of the day’s sessions and keynote talk are available to view on the YCBA’s website:

Keynote Lecture “Your Archival Format Will Not Save You”

Symposium Presentations

Speakers

Clifford Allen and Deb Verhoff, Watermill Center, Robert Wilson Archives & New York University: Case Study: Robert Wilson’s Studio Archive from the 1960s to the Present

John Bell, Dartmouth College: Digital Contexts: How Communities Self-Archive Online

Deena Engel and Glenn Wharton, New York University: The Artist Archives Initiative:

Researching and Developing New Models for Digital Art Information Preservation and Delivery

Sara England and Mikhel Proulx, Concordia University: Archiving Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace

Josh Franco and Hilary Price, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution: Panel Discussion with Three Case Studies: Curatorial, Digital Preservation, and Processing

Jon Ippolito, University of Maine, Keynote: Your Archival Format Will Not Save You

Laura Molloy, University of Oxford: Digital Research, Communication and Making Methods in UK Contemporary Visual Art Practice: The Artist View

Colin Post, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Toward Distributed Preservation: Bridging Artists’ and Institutions’ Preservation Practices

Farris Wahbeh, Whitney Museum of American Art: Digital Artists’ Records in a Curatorial
Context: Functional Analysis and Digital Preservation