[artinfo] V2_ Capturing Unstable Media

richard de boer richard at v2.nl
Fri Apr 16 16:21:27 CEST 2004

Capturing Unstable Media

Research by V2_Archive on documentation aspects of electronic art activities

During the last decades, electronic art and culture have gained importance
and increased attention. So far, however, few attempts have been made to
document and preserve this emerging field, its activities and recent
history. V2_Institute for the Unstable Media, a center for art, culture
and technology in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), since long has been
involved with this issue, building an archive with documentation of twenty
years of electronic media art.

>From March to December 2003, V2_ conducted research on the documentation
aspects of the preservation of electronic art activities - "Capturing
Unstable Media", an approach between archiving and preservation. For this
purpose, two major case studies were investigated in depth - both are
projects that were co-developed at V2_Lab, the interdisciplinary workspace
of V2_. The first case study was "whisper" (2002-2003) by Thecla
Schiphorst and Susan Kozel, a project that investigated the intersections
and relationships between wearable technologies, performance and the body.
The second case study was a series of so-called "DataClouds", a long-term
research project (1998-present) that involves web-based 2D or 3D
visualizations of complex information structures.

Based on the findings, a series of recommendations were formulated in the
following areas:
- documentation strategies for electronic art activities;
- formal modeling and metadata;
- archival interoperability.
Furthermore, a number of technical realizations were implemented,
including a public, web-based portal for V2_Archive on top of a technical
framework based on open standards, through XML and RDF technologies.

One of the major results of "Capturing Unstable Media" is a formal model
(ontology) to describe the activities in electronic art in several levels
of detail. It offers a series of sharable, basic concepts of interest to a
wide variety of institutions and actors in the field of electronic media
art, along with suggestions on how these concepts could interrelate with
each other. The ontology can be consulted at the project's website (see

As a follow-up to this project, the V2_Archive team intends to focus on
research that involves international archival interoperability in this
field, including the alignment of multilingual terminology resources,
ontologies and the Semantic Web.

"Capturing Unstable Media" has been supported by the Mondriaan
Foundation(NL) and the Daniel Langlois Foundation (CA). A group of experts
from Dutch archives, research institutes and cultural heritage
organizations has assisted the research process through an advisory board.


The project's results can be consulted and downloaded from the "Capturing
Unstable Media" project site.

V2_'s public online archive portal, with documentation about a broad
cross-section of more than 10 years of electronic art activities.

V2_Institute for the Unstable Media
Eendrachtsstraat 10, NL-3012 XL Rotterdam
The Netherlands
Tel. + 31 (0)10 206 72 72 / Fax + 31 (0)10 206 72 71
E-mail: v2 at v2.nl / URL http://www.v2.nl

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