NEoN future proof: Digital assets, knowledge and legacy

By Donna Holford-Lovell
6 February 2015

Curating a digital archive is key in preserving our digital heritage and stimulating future creative thinking. NEoN (North East of North) uses a festival platform to disseminate its aim to promote digital and technology driven art. After five years we are investigating the importance of preservation, dissemination and legacy of the digital assets it creates and how a curated ‘archive’ can be used to broaden participation and foster new collaborations between artists and technologists. Over time NEoN has generated new digital content, which includes a game based app, animations, sound and new music. We have large amounts of documentation footage that include interviews with international artists and industry professionals, video of one off performances and coverage of discussions and talks.

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As a result of our project and receiving funding from the Ambition programme NEoN decided to respond to a call for papers for CHI2014 Workshop Curating the Digital, which was part of the Computer Human Interaction Conference, Toronto 2014. The theme was Art and Interaction SIG: Cataloging the Digital Arts. The paper was accepted and the two authors of the paper, Donna Holford-Lovell & Clare Brennan, were invited to take part in a three day intensive workshop to discuss and prototype a framework for cataloging digital arts.

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workshop_toronto

During our time we established contacts with :

  • David England, John Moores University, Leader for Software Systems for the School of Computing and Maths
  • Nina Czegledy, Senior Fellow, KMDI, University of Toronto, Canada & Researcher, Hexagram/CIAM Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
  • Deborah Turnbull, UTS Research, curator and arts administrator, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Maryam Azh, National University of Singapore, PhD Scholar in Computer Science
  • Nikolaos Partarakis, Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas
  • Camille Baker, Brunel University, Lecturer in Multimedia / Broadcast Media Design
  • Daragh Byrne, Research Scientist at the Visible Process Labin the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Jeni Maleshkova, Queen Mary University of London, researcher and artist
  • Chen Wang, LSE Software Engineer
  • Nora o murchú, post-doctoral researcher at CRUMB
  • Jane Dudman, artist and PhD researcher at Culture Lab, Newcastle University
  • Stephen Guynup, Georgia Tech
  • Jocelyn Spence, Stage Manager/Assistant Stage Manager at Ensemble Theatre Company, Vancouver, 
  • Celine Latulipe, Human-Computer Interaction at UNC Charlotte
  • Linda Candy, Adjunct Professor, School of Software, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Ernest Edmonds, Professor of Information Technology, School of Software
  • Core Member, Centre for Human Centred Technology Design, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Nick Bryan-kinns, Deputy Dean for Science and Engineering, Reader in Interaction Design, Centre for Digital Music.
  • Kirk Woolford, Sr Lecturer, Interactive Media Practice, School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex
  • Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art at the School of Arts, Design and Media, University of Sunderland, and co-editor of CRUMB

more_prototyping mind_mapThe workshop achieved its aim of more arts activities supported at CHI2015 and CHI2016. We will receive an invite to submit work to these in the future. The paper will also form part of a published book around Digital Arts, indeed to purport to be a manifesto for the digital arts based on the relationships between art curation and interaction.NEoN (North East of North) is now in discussions with Camille Baker, Brunel University and Deborah Turnbull UTS Research with regards a future collaborative project. Looking at international practice across digital art and the creative industries.

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NEoN Digital Assets – Archive Work 

NEoN wants to publicly document its activities and programmatic history and make available all of its digital content. After 5 years of festival activity it holds many digital assets and valuable documentation but has never had the resources to archive this material properly and make it available to its audience.

 

Work has involved collecting, filing and renaming all of NEoNs digital assets. You get get an ideas of what we mean by digital assets here

This was a much larger job that originally anticipated as over the years we have used various people, organisations and formats to document or create work. Many of NEoNs assets are now tired in a central location which is backed up regularly, which now seems like common sense but it is the first time in six years this has happened. The collecting of material is still ongoing as we also wish to include any materials produced by participants over the last six years. This may seem like an arduous task however we now have a system of archiving along with a comprehensive guide to ensure a stable and usable archive.  All assets have to be renamed and formatted so that they can be hosted online using CollectiveAccess, again is taken longer than first anticipated. A basic holding framework has been developed and we hope to have this live by the end of the year.

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 NEoN Digital Arts Festival 2 – 8 November 2014 

Influenced by our success with the Ambition funding NEoN committee themed its 2014 festival around FUTUREPROOFING. In collaboration with guest curator and media art historian Sarah Cook and the support of New Media Scotland, the national development agency fostering artist and audience engagement with all forms of new media practice, who in turn invited in other exhibition curators including Nora O’Murchu from the Glitch Festival in Dublin, all of whom have helped share the programme of digital art with other festivals and organisations across the city.

The full programme can be seen here. Some highlights reflecting our investigations include All Your Media are Belong to Us which was a screening night with a mash up of retro tech and seasoned art works which allowed the audience to travel through time to watch each contribution on its ‘native’ format (from 16mm film to 16:9 digital video). Also Show Us Your Assets a mini symposium on futureproofing the digital arts which invited art historians, academic researchers, archivists and artists to debate tactics for ensuring legacy for moving image and media art in all its analogue and digital manifestations.

As well as the main events Dundee University Museums ran a daily online ‘technology object of the day’ blog; young people from DCA’s TV21 project spoke about their new film-making projects and there were associated exhibitions from Thomson & Craighead, William Latham and Oliver Mezger in other venues in the city. Altogether this was a fantastic edition of NEoN and it is now firmly established as a highlight of Dundee’s cultural calendar.

For some highlight images go here

https://storify.com/weareneon/neon-2014-highlights

 

 

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