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MAPS 2018 - BORN DIGITAL | Media Art Preservation Workshop - Ludwig Museum, Budapest, June 4-5, 2018


ZKM promotes the conservation of its digital artworks in their historical technological environment because we believe in the non-neutrality of technology and code as a form of expression. We know for a fact that this decision is putting our cross-disciplinary team in difficult situations sometimes but this also gives the public a chance to see concrete form of past media in action with their related cultural, economic and political implications.


To maintain old projects alive, ZKM based its preservation strategy on the basic principle “lots of copies keep stuff safe” (LOCKSS, Stanford University Libraries). Unfortunately, as you can guess, copies and proliferation are not in the philosophy of software companies’ business strategy. Through different research projects, ZKM is addressing the controversial issues of cracking abandoned or unsupported proprietary software or hacking API to guarantee access to its digital art collection, with the help of folk preservationists.


Kari Kraus from the university of Maryland pointed out that “historically we know that piracy has helped guarantee the survival of important works of literature and art”. ZKM decided to be one of the first museums to open its gates to pirates and folk preservation to keep stuff alive. Launching a communication hub by the end of this year, ZKM’s goal is to bridge folk resources and museum’s research together for the sake of digital art preservation. Who else if not a museum can open the debate on digital decay due to copy protection and other aggressive business models in software industry? This could benefit to so many other institutions struggling with third-party dependency of digital contents.

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