Dragan Espenschied (*1975 in Germany) is a media artist, home computer folk musician and digital culture researcher and conservator living and working in Stuttgart, Germany and New York City, USA.
In his artistic career, Espenschied focuses on the historization of Digital Culture from the perspective of computer users rather than hackers, developers or “inventors.” Together with net art pioneer Olia Lialina he has been creating a significant body of work concerned with how to represent and write a culture-centric history of the networked age.
Espenschied worked with the transmediale festival’s archive and the Vilem Flusser Archive to conceptually and technically integrate emulation while working as a researcher at the University of Freiburg before being appointed Preservation Director at the born-digital arts organization Rhizome in 2014. He introduced performance-based preservation and emulation as a preservation strategy as institutional practice.
Software is ”stuff unlike any other”
Software is ”stuff unlike any other” (David Gelerntner), making it difficult to understand how to conserve it right. Metaphors from traditional preservation and archiving practices like records, files—even data and objects—don’t hold up against a reality of seemingly infinite complexity with fast-changing hardware, networks, operating system updates, and so forth. How can software-based art or even net art be preserved in such an environment? Regarding computers as performers in “reenactments” and software being akin to a musical score that allows and even requires variability to be “authentic,” new kinds of workflows and preservation tools have been developed by Rhizome and together with research partners. Dragan Espenschied will give an insight into how Rhizome’s position as a born-digital, even network-born arts institution has shaped its approach to art preservation, and in a workshop he will introduce practical ways of using the tools Webrecorder and Emulation as a Service.