ADA, Archive of Digital Art, is the result – in progress – of a large-scale project for an archive of digital art, developed over almost a decade through close collaboration between institutions, researchers and artists.
Today we have a good understanding of the nature – and therefore the necessity – of this kind of art. Being ephemeral, interactive, processual and closely bound to context, ever since its far-off beginnings it has presented us with new characteristics, of which the most evident is undoubtedly its immaterial component. And so it has become the prerogative of institutions and organisations to preserve and document the short-lived artworks which have gradually evolved and become classics.
The ADA project has therefore taken it upon itself to select – from the vast new media panorama – the works of artists from around the world, up to now about 5.000 pieces. The scientific task of choosing them focused particularly on the most innovative interfaces and software. The archive includes video documentation, technical texts and data, academic texts, biographical information, events and exhibitions, which altogether contribute to tracing the outline of the new media art panorama systematically and comprehensively. The archive material can be consulted by searching by category (artist, institution, work etc.), date (from 1979 to the present day), genre (from Digital Activism to Game Art, from Bio Art to Net Art), event or keyword.
The ADA mission has been given further impetus by the latest tool, AT.MAR: Interactive Archive and Meta-Thesaurus for Media Art Research. Launched by the Austrian Science Fund, the aim of this scheme is to transfer the archive onto Web 2.0, in order to allow interaction with users wishing to publish their own material.
The new millennium has brought us a powerful charge of innovation in the field of technology. A propulsive drive which artists around the world, as they gradually appropriate the various devices and media, have grasped, studied, fathomed and put to use in their work. They have offered the public important new motives for reflection and opportunity, effectively revolutionising dogmas as ancient as art itself, such as authorship.
If on the one hand new media art has widened the sphere of creative action, moving beyond the visible matter, on the other it has quickly given rise to the urgent need to be preserved, protected from hardwares, software, and technological support from their secure always faster obsolescence. Thus, ADA pursues its mission as custodian of an art form which moves between past and future in the fluidity of the present.
Board: Roy Ascott, Jorge La Ferla, Beryl Graham, Erkki Huhtamo, Gunalan Nadarajan, Martin Roth, Christiane Paul.