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Dragan Espenschied: Where Art Blossoms

“[…] conservation is done by removing artifacts from the cultural tempest they originated in and putting them into a safe place. The problem is that this approach doesn’t scale – sorry for using this technical term. I won’t argue that a privileged, careful handling of certain artifacts deemed of high importance or representative value is the wrong way; actually, this approach is the most narrative. But practiced too rigidly it doesn’t do digital culture any justice. Firstly because there simply are no resources to do this with a large amount of artifacts, and secondly because many artifacts can only blossom in their environment, in concert or contrast with a vernacular web, commercial services and so forth.” Trevor Owens, “Digital Culture is Mass Culture”: An interview with Digital Conservator Dragan Espenschied, in The Signal, March 24, 2014

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Dragan Espenschied: Capture All

“I believe that developing criteria of relevance and even selecting what artifacts are allowed into archives poses a problem of scale. The wise choice might be not trying to solve this problem, but to work on techniques for capturing artifacts as a whole – without trying to define significant properties, what the “core” of an artifact might be, or making too many assumptions about the future use of the artifact. The fewer choices are made during archiving, the more choices are open later, when the artifact will be accessed.” Trevor Owens, “Digital Culture is Mass Culture”: An interview with Digital Conservator Dragan Espenschied, in The Signal, March 24, 2014

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Dragan Espenschied: Objecthood

“We don’t think of anything we are conserving as a thing or a stable entity. Internet and network-based art is the most extreme type of artifact that you might want to archive, because many websites or projects that happen on the web have blurry borders. So you can’t quite define an objecthood. Some are changing all the time, so you can’t nail down a definitive version of the artwork.” in Maximilíano Durón, “A Net Art Pioneer Evolves With the Digital Age: Rhizome Turns 20”, in Artnews, 09/01/16

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Dragan Espenschied: Ephemerality

“Ephemerality is often pictured as a force of nature, like a building destroyed by wind and water. But nothing digital is a law of nature, it is all completely made up. So ephemerality is more or less an excuse for accepting that you don’t have control over anything.” Dragan Espenschied and Heather Corcoran, “Performing Digital Culture,” in Omar Kholeif, Emily Butler, and Seamus McCormack (eds.), Electronic Superhighway: From Experiments in Art and Technology to Art After the Internet, London, Whitechapel Gallery, 2016, p. 218.