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Conservation – Restoration – Sustainability
JODI in conversation with Anne Laforet

The web is the best archive!

OSS/••••, an artwork created in 1999 by the Net artist duo JODI (Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans), is one of the case studies of the digital art conservation project led by Anne Laforet for Espace Multimédia Gantner, which acquired a reprogrammed version of the work in 2005. OSS/•••• is a cd-rom comprised of three programs: •••• •••, #Reset and %20, which explore the various elements of a personal computer: screen, mouse, keyboard. The work is meant to be experienced on the viewer's own computer, by interacting with the viewer's data, in order to create a personal relationship between the work and the computer user. The artists aimed to provoke surprise and confusion, mixed with a certain degree of anonymity. Espace Multimédia Gantner has acquired the right to distribute the work on cd-rom, either along with its catalogue or to be made available during exhibitions, as in the «Digital Art Works» exhibition of case studies for the digital art conservation project. JODI reflects, in discussion with Anne Laforet, on the problems posed by the preservation of this work, in particular its mode of distribution and the software programs of which it consists, as well as foreseen solutions, such as making OSS/•••• accessible on the Internet.


JODI, or jodi.org, is a collective of two internet artists: Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans. They have a background in video art and photography respectively. Both attended CADRE, the electronic arts laboratory at San Jose State University in California; Dirk Paesmans also studied with Nam June Paik at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf. The duo works together since 1994. In the mid-1990s they have created a number of original artworks for the World Wide Web about the characteristics and language of the internet itself. A few years later they also became involved in software art and artistic computer game modification. The rising popularity of Web 2.0 has recently inspired them to a new series of pieces and interventions in existing online services and platforms. Their work uses the widest possible variety of media and techniques, from installations, software and websites to performances and exhibitions. In a pioneering, medium-specific way, they deconstruct and analyze the languages of new media: from visual aesthetics to interface elements, from codes and features to errors and viruses. They challenge the relationship between technology and users by subverting our expectations about the functionalities and conventions of the systems that we depend upon every day.

Anne Laforet is the scientific coordinator, with Johannes Gfeller, of the symposium «Digital Art Conservation: Practical Approaches. Artists, programmers, theorists». She coordinated the exhibition and evening of performances with Francisco Ruiz de Infante and Jérôme Thomas. She has a PhD in information and communication from the University of Avignon, and her thesis on preserving Net art was published in 2011 by Questions Théoriques («Le net art au musée. Stratégies de conservation des oeuvres en ligne»). She developed the case studies of Espace Multimédia Gantner in Bourogne for the digital art conservation research project. Since 2011, she teaches at École supérieure des arts décoratifs in Strasbourg. She has been writing about, and creating, digital art since the late 1990s. She participated in Collège Invisible, the networked post-degree of Ecole supérieure des beaux-arts de Marseille. http://www.sakasama.net

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