Linz – City of Media Art Research

An essential step towards strengthening and further developing Linz as a City of Media Arts is the acquisition of the archive of VALIE EXPORT, a Linz native who has achieved worldwide fame as a feminist media & performance artist, and the establishment of the VALIE EXPORT Center in Tabakfabrik. This facility will take its place alongside the Ars Electronica Archive, one of the world’s most comprehensive repositories of digital media art over the last 35 years. Thus, two of the most important media art archives will be located in Linz.

The VALIE EXPORT Archive contains works of art, sketches, designs, negative material, documentation of works and exhibitions, correspondence, historical photographs, posters and books. It will be entrusted to the LENTOS Art Museum, where it will be exhibited and stored like other such materials in its collection. The VALIE EXPORT Center, a research facility for media & performance art dedicated to making this material available to scholars and facilitating their research on it, will be operated in cooperation with Linz Art University. Additional aspects of its mission will be to foster artistic, scholarly and educational encounters with media & performance art worldwide, and to support third-party research activities.

Whereas VALIE EXPORT works primarily with the media of photography, film and video, the Ars Electronica Archive contains and documents computer-supported art. Its holdings are a diverse collection of works of art and documentation of projects, exhibitions and activities in the wide-ranging field of media art worldwide over the last 35 years. It encompasses documentation of all Ars Electronica Festivals since 1979, of all works submitted for prize consideration to the Prix Ars Electronica, of all the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s projects and international exhibitions. It features a representative cross-section of not only the wide-ranging field of digital & media art but also of their historical data storage media and formats that, in many respects, shaped the appearance of these works. Detailed descriptions and insightful analyses document important topics—computer graphics, computer animation, computer & digital music, interactive art, net art, software, mixed realities, media performance, bio art and robotics—explicit aesthetic strategies, as well as the implicit technical conditions on which they’re based. Ars Electronica developed a server­based digital archive, the foundation of which is a complex database structure with metadata and linked digitized content (video, audio, photographs, text). It currently consists of 150,000 entries with a data storage volume of approximately 60 terabytes and over 4 million linked files.

Both archives are confronted by the same challenges: the diversity of the data storage media, the elaborate process of digitizing print media, the complexity of long-term archiving, and making the content publically accessible (online and physically) for purposes of education and research.

Further reading:
Interview with Stella Rollig, director of the LENTOS Art Museum
Interview with VALIE EXPORT

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