— LIMA media Art.
Digital Canon?! challenged us to make an official record of an emerging art form – while also organizing the challenges involved in that act.
Why is there no canon for one of the most important turns in recent art history – the move from physical to digital art? And how can such a canon encourage more online dialogue around digital culture in all its complexity?
Digital Canon?! meets these challenges – and also keeps on the table all of the difficulties, decisions and complexities of the process. As an archive of both the key selected works of Dutch digital culture and the selection of those works, it provides an authoritative entry point to the topic, together with a creative and critical perspective that questions that authority – a project that says, This is an impossible task, and here’s how we did it.
Studio-Strik developed the strategy, art direction and production for the website, together with LIMA. Designed and developed by Yehwan Song, it collects, curates and exhibits twenty works chosen for their varied and lasting influence on digital art and culture. But it also delivers those works in an innovative, complex presentation that reflects the tricky, networked complexity of their creations – and of digital culture more broadly. Plus, it features an extensive ‘backside’ to that curational front page, providing transparency and critical perspectives on how it came to be – with an introduction, essays, interviews and meetings, all there for the public to see. Altogether representing a wealth of digital cultural achievement, and also the start of a continuing conversation on digital culture.
Part of this development was to get a grasp on the actual canon itself. With so many opinions and expertises involved, this demanded an unusual approach. So we built a workshop around a timeline, with colour-coded cut-outs of artworks, technologies and networks. Only such a physical task allowed us to map out and make sense of the scale and complexity of the field – and to get a group of such critical, rigorous and outspoken cultural experts to come together and agree. Because sometimes high-minded ideas need a hands-on approach...