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Ken Goldberg: Ouija 2000, 2000, Multi-media, courtesy of the artist.

Works of digital and Internet art, performance, installation, conceptual, and other variable media art represent some of the most compelling and significant artistic creations of our time. These works constitute a history of alternative artistic practice, but because of their ephemeral, technical, or otherwise variable natures, they also present significant obstacles to accurate documentation, access, and preservation. Without strategies for preservation many of these vital works - and possibly whole new genres such as early Internet art - will be lost to future generations. Description of and access to art collections promote new scholarship and artistic production. By developing ways to catalog and preserve these collections, we will both provide current and future generations the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by these works. It is to achieve these goals that we initiated the consortium project Archiving the Avant Garde: Documenting and Preserving Variable Media Art.

New Media & Social Memory (Online video of the entire symposium program). A public symposium to discuss strategies for preserving digital art featuring talks by Stewart Brand, Bruce Sterling and other experts in the long-term preservation of digital culture.

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Contact: Richard Rinehart, rinehart@berkeley.edu. Archiving the Avant Garde: Documenting and Preserving Digital/Media Art is a consortium project of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Cleveland Performance Art Festival and Archive, Franklin Furnace Archive, and Rhizome.org, and is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.