Conserving Digital Art

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Douglas Davis, The World’s First Collaborative Sentence, 1994–, conserved 2012. Historic version: HTML and CGI script; live version: HTML and PHP script. Whitney Museum of American Art, NY

Digital technology has been evolving rapidly, leading to conservation challenges for museums whose collections include digital art. Recently, Christiane Paul, Curator of New Media at the Whitney Museum, and conservator Carol Mancusi-Ungaro undertook the restoration of a pioneering Internet artwork, Douglas Davis' “The World's First Collaborative Sentence.” They explain how they were able to restore it, and discuss the challenges facing museums, collectors and artists to insure that these artworks will survive.