Subject: CX4 - Context & Culture 4

Course: Diploma of Visual Art (21885VIC)


Unit of Competency: VPAU014 - Manage creative and professional self
School of IT & Creative Industries, Faculty of Workforce Development, Victoria University

Teacher Name: Lisa Cianci | email:
Course Coordinator & Education Manager: Alan Morgans | email:

Class Website -


Class 14 - Project work & submission of assessment tasks

Class Discussion

Artists and the Archive / Future-proofing for Artists

Discuss the implications for our work as artists using variable media and digital technologies.

Look at the DOCAM Research Alliance case studies: and discuss the problems facing curating professionals in keeping these works:

Janet Cardiff, Eyes of Laura, 2004

Nam June Paik, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 1989

Bill Viola, The Sleepers, 1992


Note the level of documentation and the types of information being documented about these works. In thinking about your own work, do you think the content covered in this subject has affected or will affect your creative practice?

In considering preservation strategies, you should include the Wordpress blog created as part of this subject in that strategy. In the Dashboard of your blog, there is an option to "Export" data from the blog. You can make your own backup in this way, for your own records. It only backs up the text data in the database though - NOT the images and other media linked to the blog.

If you have your own Wordpress.ORG blog installed on your own web server /domain, you can get plugins that will extract all the data and media content, but your free Wordpress.COM blog will not allow this so you should keep copies of all the images you upload, and other media you link to your blog if you want a complete backup of content held in the blog. Of course, reblogging and linking to video on Vimeo & Youtube means any backup will only refer to the external content via URL links.


Future-proofing for Artists

Class Activity

Inventory Description / Cataloguing

Complete the documentation of your artworks and support content for the semester in the manner of an art catalogue. It will be a useful exercise for future exhibition, funding/exhibition applications and as part of the archival documentation of your work. List the following information with a minimum of 1 image per piece:

  • Title of the work,
  • Medium/Media,
  • Size/Dimensions,
  • Installation instructions (if applicable - for complex works / if not described in the Series Description),
  • Publication/Exhibition information relating to the artwork

The Inventory will include finished works, but may also include preparatory works, documentations, plans, instructions and other support materials.


Document Formats and Layout

You can save your work as Word docs or OpenOffice files - whatever format will allow you to keep working on the assessment task.

See this sample Word Doc for an example of using image and text together:


Often a Word doc or similar is sufficient when putting together a text/image-based document, but the problem with Word is that when someone opens your document on their computer, the pagination may change, they may not have the font you used, and other formatting or layout elements may differ.

The most common way around this is to convert your doc file to a PDF (Portable Document Format) file. PDF is the current standard for documents, and although it has it's own deficiencies, it will ensure that your document is not editable, and has the layout/style that you intended as it saves the formatting is a way that is cross platform and generally always looks the same.

If you don't have Adobe Acrobat to convert your docs to PDF, there are many free PDF converters online - including a service on the Adobe website. They generally work by allowing you to submit a Word or Open Office doc (and some other types of document), and then they ask for your email address and email you the converted PDF file, or email you a link to download the PDF file.

I have generally found these to be pretty good at conversion. Occasionally you may have problems with image quality, but trial and error is recommended.

Some Online PDF converters:


Other Stuff

I will continue working my way around the class to make sure everyone is getting all the assessment tasks complete for this, the last class. The tasks to be completed are the Blog (and all it's deliverables), and the document you will produce for Managing Creative Content.


On a lighter note, here's Ai Weiwei's parody of Gangnam Style:


Homework / Readings /Other

Keep adding content to you blog - this is the last class so you need the following:

  • minimum 30 posts;
  • one Art Forum review;
  • review of Pat Brassington exhibition at ACCA;
  • review of another exhibition of your choice.






websites Artbase

Variable Media Network / Forging the Future

DOCAM Research Alliance

Digital Lives Research Project


Artnodes #10

Dublin Core Metadata Standard

Archival description - ISAD(G)

Archives/Records Continuum



Dekker, Annet (ed) 2010, Archive2020: Sustainable Archiving of Born–Digital Cultural Content, Virtueel Platform, May 2010

Derrida, Jacques 1996, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, University of Chicago Press, USA

Dietz, Steve 2005, “Collecting New Media Art: Just Like Anything Else, Only Different”, in Bruce Altshuler, ed. Collecting the New, Princeton University Press: Princeton and Oxford

Eden, Xandra (curator) et al 2008, The Lining of Forgetting: Internal and External Memory in Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Enwezor, Okwui 2008, Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art, International Center of Photography, New York, USA and Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

Fino-Radin, Ben 2011, Digital Preservation Practices and the Rhizome Artbase, Rhizome at the New Museum, Rh

Harding, Anna (ed) 2002, Potential: Ongoing Archive, p.51, published by Artimo, Anna Harding & the John Hansard Gallery, viewed 12/01/2012, <>

Manoff, Marlene 2004, Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines”, Project Muse portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2004), pp. 9–25. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore

MCA 2012, MCA Contemporary Art Archive, Museum of Contemporary Art, viewed 03/01/2012, <>

Merewether, C. (ed) 2006, The Archive: Documents of Contemporary Art, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK and The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Morris, Frances 1998, “Art Now: Sophie Calle”, Tate Online, Tate Britain, viewed 10/10/2010, <>

Pederson, Ann 2001, “Basic concepts and principles of archives and records management”, Understanding Society Through its Records, John Curtain University, viewed 12/03/2007, <>

SAA (Society of American Archivists), 2004, Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, Society of American Archivists, last viewed 17/9/2004, <>

Spieker, Sven. (2008). The Big Archive: art from bureaucracy, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, The MIT Press (Copyright, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Warnke, Martin & Wedemeyer, Carmen 2010, “Documenting Artistic Networks: Anna Oppermann’s Ensembles Are Complex Networks!”, Leonardo, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 258–259, 2011