Special Issue "Born Digital Cultural Histories"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "New Media".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 August 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Melanie Swalwell
Website
Guest Editor
Professor of Digital Media Heritage, Centre for Transformative Media Technologies, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia
Interests: digital media, with particular attention to media arts and digital games, as well as the intersections of these

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Journal articles are invited for a Special Issue of the open access journal Arts, on digital cultural heritage.

Whilst many artefacts today are produced, distributed and consumed solely in digital form, this situation is not completely new. Artefacts from previous eras have also been ‘born’ digital. The advent of micro- or home computers in the mid-1970s and 1980s, for instance, saw a range of digital artefacts produced, amongst them digital games, demos, a range of experimental art, and other early software. These objects are complex and interesting as are the preservation challenges they pose. While issues of hardware and software deterioration are arguably becoming better understood, the earliness with which decisions about significance and preservation strategies must be arrived at marks these artefacts out as different from other forms of cultural heritage.

Paper might address topics including, but not limited to:

  • Continuities and discontinuities between contemporary and historical digital culture
  • Histories of the digital everyday
  • Artists as archivists
  • Institutional responses to digital cultural heritage
  • Changing notions of the collection
  • Jurisdictions, overlaps, gaps
  • Resourcing, funding, partnerships
  • Relation of born digital preservation to digitisation programs
  • Permanence and entropy
  • Inter-agency cooperation, federations and networks
  • Models of collaboration, outside experts, volunteers
  • Access and exhibition
  • Legal issues, intellectual property, orphaned works, legal deposit
  • Workforce, capacity building, training
  • New preservation and conservation techniques
  • Case studies, including: architecture, broadcasting, apps, mobile and multiplayer games, demoscenes, net and media art
  • Preserving algorithmic culture

Proposals might be theoretical, applied, policy, or otherwise oriented. Case studies of innovative practices, papers based on research with born digital artefacts, and new institutional approaches are equally welcome.

Articles must be original, not under consideration elsewhere, and should make new contributions to knowledge.

All articles in the issue will undergo double blind peer review.

Dr. Melanie Swalwell
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • born digital
  • heritage
  • digital preservation
  • archives
  • computer history
  • digital culture

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Playful Machines and Heritage: How to Prepare Future Cultural Histories?
Arts 2020, 9(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9030082 - 20 Jul 2020
Abstract
How are we to tackle digital heritage? The fact that its code can be copied, combined with a strong reliance on user interaction, is a distinguishing characteristic of digital art, one which also complicates framing it with the traditional categories of art history. [...] Read more.
How are we to tackle digital heritage? The fact that its code can be copied, combined with a strong reliance on user interaction, is a distinguishing characteristic of digital art, one which also complicates framing it with the traditional categories of art history. Therefore, in my search for the new ways to preserve heritage, appropriate for digital objects, I will use a case study where technical and social elements play an important role and where we can already speak of a partly institutionalized network aimed at preservation, even if its identification within the field of art, or heritage, is not exactly obvious. I propose an analysis based on the research of the Polish community of pinball machine collectors. My case study will also address the question of the category of locality with regard to projects featuring seemingly universal digital elements. Reflecting on the strategies that the pinball community uses to preserve its artifacts and to animate social activity centered upon those artifacts, can help facilitate modeling at least some practices needed to preserve digital art, practices more inclusive than the traditional approaches, and uniting, even if imperfectly, rather than dividing various social groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Born Digital Cultural Histories)
Open AccessArticle
Art, Maths, Electronics and Micros: The Late Work of Stan Ostoja-Kotkowski
Arts 2019, 8(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8010023 - 15 Feb 2019
Abstract
To date, most work on computers in art has focused on the Algorists (1960s–) and on later cyber arts (1990s–). The use of microcomputers is an underexplored area, with the 1980s constituting a particular gap in the knowledge. This article considers the case [...] Read more.
To date, most work on computers in art has focused on the Algorists (1960s–) and on later cyber arts (1990s–). The use of microcomputers is an underexplored area, with the 1980s constituting a particular gap in the knowledge. This article considers the case of Polish-Australian artist, Stan Ostoja-Kotkowski (b. 1922, d. 1994), who after early exposure to computers at the Bell Labs (1967), returned to microcomputers late in his life. He was not a programmer yet used micros in his practice from the early 1980s, first a BBC in his BP Christmas Star commission, and later a 32-bit Archimedes. This he used from 1989 until his death to produce still images with a fractal generator and the ‘paintbox’ program, “Photodesk”. Drawing on archival research and interviews, we focus on three examples of how Ostoja deployed his micro, highlighting the convergence of art, maths, electronics, and a ‘hands-on’ tinkering ethic in his practice. We argue that when considering the history of creative microcomputing, it is imperative to go beyond the field of art itself. In this case, electronics and the hobbyist computing scenes provide crucial contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Born Digital Cultural Histories)
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Open AccessArticle
Don’t Be Afraid of the Digital
Arts 2019, 8(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8010006 - 02 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal started to receive born digital material in the late 1990s. Not knowing what to do with it, typically only the physical appearance was described. Since 2012, the CCA has seriously started to look into its [...] Read more.
The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal started to receive born digital material in the late 1990s. Not knowing what to do with it, typically only the physical appearance was described. Since 2012, the CCA has seriously started to look into its born digital collections and actively started to acquire more. CCA was not very interested in how to overcome the technocratic question as to how to preserve and give access to born digital material, but wanted to understand how the digital technology has changed and shaped architecture. The curatorial approach and the investment in staff and expertise led to success: the CCA is now able to preserve its born digital collections, to describe it, to access nearly all files, to make it accessible for research, and to share this with the community. How? By just doing it, making mistakes, and learning by doing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Born Digital Cultural Histories)
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Open AccessArticle
Constructing Digital Game Exhibitions: Objects, Experiences, and Context
Arts 2018, 7(4), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts7040103 - 18 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
A large number of exhibitions worldwide deal with digital games, but curators lack a coherent understanding of the different aspects of games that can be exhibited or a clear vocabulary for talking about them. Based on a literature review on game preservation and [...] Read more.
A large number of exhibitions worldwide deal with digital games, but curators lack a coherent understanding of the different aspects of games that can be exhibited or a clear vocabulary for talking about them. Based on a literature review on game preservation and visitor behavior in exhibitions, the paper makes an argument for understanding digital games on display as made up of object, experience, and context aspects. The study further presents a matrix model for understanding and working with games in exhibitions. The model makes for a more nuanced understanding of the different ways digital games can be exhibited. Additionally, it clarifies the position of games in exhibitions as socioculturally constructed through inherently ideological curatorial choices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Born Digital Cultural Histories)
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