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Technological Arts Preservation - Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM), Istambul, Dec 13, 2019.


Daniel Heiss, Morgane Stricot, and Matthieu Vlaminck, -- ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany and PAMAL Group (Preservation & Art - Media Archeology Lab), Austria, France, Germany


Due to obsolescence of software and hardware, digital and media artworks have, compared to other artworks, a short lifespan. In recent years, artworks have begun to disappear, letting their precious archives and related knowledge dying with them.


Media archaeological reconstruction or „second original“ is defined by PAMAL (Preservation and Art – Media Archaeological Lab) as a duplication or reconstruction of an artwork that has disappeared or is considered „obsolete“ with its original writing and reading machine (i.e. the hardware and software). This reconstruction does not exclude either emulation or simulation, which can be used to recompose a particular part of the work. This reconstruction can be considered an archive of the work itself.

Its advantage is that it helps preserving the artwork as much as the industrial heritage.


ZKM (Center for Art and Media) is applying this complementary conservation strategy for its collection to promote the conservation of its media and digital artworks in their historical technological environment. Technology and code as a form of expression are not neutral. Media archaeological reconstruction gives the public a unique chance to see concrete form of past media in action.

Through practical case studies, Virtual Sculpture (1981) by Jeffrey Shaw, Yuppie Ghetto With Watchdog (1989-90) by Paul Garrin and Wipe Cycle (1972) by Frank Gillette and Ira Schneider, we will explore how is this strategy applied and which aims does it fulfill according to each case study.

Forthcoming publication

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