New Media Museums is a project dedicated to analyzing practices and exchanging experiences related to collecting new media art, its conservation and preservation in various types of cultural institutions in the Visegrad countries.
The initiative is co-financed by the International Visegrad Fund and involves organizations from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary – the Olomouc Museum of Art (project coordinator and initiator), the PAF Festival of Contemporary Art and Animated Film from Olomouc, the Slovak National Gallery from Bratislava, the WRO Art Center, and the C³ Cultural and Communication Center from Budapest – all of which collect, present, and promote media art in a broad sense.
The aim of the activities taking place from January 2021 to June 2022 is to exchange and collaborate in the field of collecting, preserving and presenting media art and culture, to develop conservation strategies and working models in the participating institutions so that contemporary media art appears more frequently in regional collections. The adopted methodology includes practical conservation activities with regard to selected works from the collection, analysis of case studies, objectivization of practices in relation to the specific nature of the collection and/or selected works, and the elaboration and sharing of research results. The outcome of our collaboration will be the publication “Collecting and Preserving Media Arts in Central Europe”.
The collaborating institutions will thus analyse conservation needs resulting from the specific nature of their collections, carry out tasks agreed upon in working groups, organise workshops, discussions, conferences and seminars, and document actions and processes carried out with regard to selected works, groups of works or issues. The edited materials – interviews, documentation (photo and video), texts, including those commissioned from external authors – will be made available in open access format, in the national and English languages, thus contributing to the dissemination of issues related to media art collecting.
As part of the New Media Museums project, the WRO Art Center is preparing to conduct a restoration of Niklas Roy’s famous interactive object “Pongmechanik” (2003-2004). The work in our collection is an important mechanical reincarnation of the classic video game “Pong”, shown at numerous festivals and exhibitions, including a nomination for an award at the Berlin-based Transmediale festival in 2005. The work draws on the achievements of Konrad Zuse, a German engineer who in the 1930s created the first working, fully automatic computer. At the same time, “Pongmechanik” is a radical example of a “de-virtualized” computer game and a completely transparent technology – literally, as the working mechanism is placed in a transparent casing that allows its operation to be observed. The restoration and/or partial reconstruction of the work will be carried out by the artist in March 2022 in an arranged space at the WRO Art Center that will be also available to the public, and will be accompanied by a contextual art mediation program.
During the first initial meeting of the institutions co-founding New Media Museums, which took place remotely in February 2021, we introduced each other to the specifics of our institutions’ collections and archival resources, our existing media art conservation practices, and our goals. We talked about the role that video documentation and recontextualization plays in the media art preservation strategy of the WRO collection, including examples such as “A Short History of Video Installations,” “Reincarnation of Media Art,” “Access and Turn”, and the activities around launching a new on-line and on-site Media Library at the WRO Art Center.
Full calendar and schedule of activities:
Kick-off / conference, online 17-18.02.2021, organizer: OMA
Programming and organization workshop, on-site Bratislava, 21.09.2021, organizer: SNG
Net-based Art in Central Europe, case studies, restoration and making available a collection of historical net art works as a permanent online exhibition, organizers: OMA + PAF
Presentations and speeches during 4 PAF – Festival of Film Animation and Contemporary Art, Olomouc, 10-12.12.2021, organizer: PAF
Colloquium: Collecting and Preserving Media Arts in Central Europe: Pilot Project, Olomouc,
17-19.01.2022, organized by: OMA
Pongmechanik / Reactivation, case study, restoration vs. reconstruction, Niklas Roy + WRO team, March-April 2022, WRO Art Center, Wrocław, Poland
Discussion: media art collections, from the perspective of WRO practice and the NMM project, consultation and before the preparation of the publication summarizing the project, discussion on its contents, online, 15.05.2022, organizer: WRO
Publication: “Collecting and Preserving Media Arts in Central Europe”, prepared conference speeches, commissioned texts, video documentation, case studies collected in the form of network publication (open access), video interviews with artists, popularization of the issues of collecting media arts and its specificity among wider audience and professionals, 20.01-30.06.2022; organizer: OMA in cooperation with other partners.
New Media Museums working group at WRO Art Center:
Agnieszka Kubicka-Dzieduszycka (coordinator)
Dagmara Domagała (consultant)
Central European Art Database