Saturday, January 26, 2008

Daniel Langlois Foundation + Docam

"Created in the spring of 1997 through a donation from Daniel Langlois, the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology is a private, non-profit charitable organisation with international activities.

The Foundation aims to further artistic and scientific knowledge and understanding. Through its actions, it seeks to bring art and science closer together within a technological context. On the one hand, the Foundation nurtures a critical awareness of the impact of technology on human beings and their natural and cultural environments. On the other hand, it promotes the exploration of aesthetics suited for environments shaped by human beings.

The Foundation's programs are designed to further learning among individuals, groups and organisations in order to promote new knowledge and new uses of digital media and information technology.

For the Foundation, the concept of knowledge is based on interactions among researchers, artists, scientists and other individuals, as well as organisations who are both the source and recipients of various forms of knowledge. It therefore also seeks to promote the emergence of knowledge founded on local practices that contribute to the growth and well-being of people in their communities and milieu."


"DOCAM’s main objective is to develop new methodologies and tools to address the issues of preserving and documenting digital, technological and electronic works of art. Over the project’s five-year mandate, numerous case studies will be conducted that will focus on documentary collections and conserving works of art featuring technological content.

Museums of modern and contemporary art today are facing a number of new challenges that have surfaced with the recent surge in works of art that feature technological components. These works deteriorate as their original elements break down, and the context of technological development too often eludes specialists and historians. Created during diverse eras, the works may be analog, digital, mechanical or electronic; they are also often multimedia and comprised of materials that range from machines, software, electronic systems and analog or digital images to traditional (sculpted and pictorial elements) and non-traditional (industrial material and techniques) mixed media. In fact, cultural institutions are grappling with two types of problems. On the one hand, they must create effective strategies to preserve past works of art featuring technological components. On the other hand, they must record, preserve and understand the technologies on which these works were based, with professional rigour as well as an in-depth comprehension of the historical context within which the technologies in question were developed. And these problems are not limited to contemporary art and museums. They are also found in culture industries, public heritage institutions, and institutions of higher education that have amassed collections of teaching or research material over recent decades.

This situation becomes that much more perplexing when one realizes that curators, art historians and conservators have not been adequately trained to deal with the new problems surrounding the documentation and preservation of works featuring technological, electronic or digital components. Their education in this regard is insufficient, because only a handful of art history and conservation programs in Canada focus on this reality. Numerous research projects are being conducted in the archival management domain on the preservation of electronic documents, but very few such projects exist in the specific field of art history and conservation. Standards and indeed a descriptive vocabulary for such artistic works are lacking and do not allow for precise and adequate documentation of these works. Historical documentation is generally rare and poorly preserved, and the Centre for Research and Documentation (CR+D) at the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology is one of the few places in the world to document the field of electronic and digital art."

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