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For additional information, please contact Media Relations Manager: Peter Cavagnaro at (510) 642-0365 or pcavagnaro@berkeley.edu.

BAM/PFA Symposium to Address Critical Challenge of Preserving Digital Art for Future Generations (January 5, 2007)

Berkeley, CA, January 5, 2007 — The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is proud to present New Media and Social Memory, a public symposium to discuss strategies for preserving digital art at a time when digital technologies are evolving and becoming obsolete at an astonishingly rapid pace. While focusing on digital art, the symposium will also address larger concerns about the long-term conservation of our increasingly digital culture, including how we decide what digital materials — from Web sites to video games — are worth saving. The full day of presentations and panel discussions by leading experts in the field of digital preservation will be held in the Museum Theater on Thursday, January 18, 2007.

"Some of the most compelling and innovative artistic creation happening today is in digital art, but the ephemeral, technical nature of the media makes these works incredibly vulnerable," says Richard Rinehart, digital media director and adjunct curator at BAM/PFA. "The aim of this conference is to stimulate discussion about safe-keeping digital works. If we don't address these concerns now, today's most significant artworks may slip into a digital black hole, lost for future generations."

Hosted by Jane Metcalfe, founder of Wired magazine and vice president of BAM/PFA's Board of Trustees, the symposium will include presentations by Richard Rinehart, as well as Stewart Brand, a founding board member of The Long Now Foundation; Bruce Sterling, science fiction author and founder of the Dead Media Project; and many other top experts.

A national leader in the field of digital art preservation, BAM/PFA was the first institution to recognize the crucial need for museums, libraries, and archives to collaborate and develop shared solutions for protecting such works. The symposium culminates the research of Archiving the Avant Garde: Documenting and Preserving Variable Media Art, a project spearheaded by BAM/PFA, with a coalition of renowned cultural institutions: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Rhizome.org; the Franklin Furnace Archive, New York; and the Cleveland Performance Art Festival and Archive. The project, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, aims to create a practical, long-term strategy and best practices for documenting and preserving variable artistic media, such as digital art, performance art, installation, and Conceptual art. For more details, visit bampfa.berkeley.edu/ciao/avant_garde.html.

BAM/PFA's presentation of New Media and Social Memory, along with the recent appointment of a Richard Rinehart as digital media director and adjunct curator, signals the beginning of the museum's new digital art program. BAM/PFA is currently planning a new building that will house state-of-the-art facilities for displaying digital media. The new museum, designed by innovative Japanese architect Toyo Ito, will be located at the western entrance to the University of California, Berkeley campus, close to downtown Berkeley.

New Media and Social Memory is open to the public free of charge; however, due to limited space, online registration is required. For more information or to register, visit bampfa.berkeley.edu/ciao/avant_garde.html.

Schedule of Presenters

10:00 - 10:15 a.m.
Introductions
Richard Rinehart, digital media director and adjunct curator, BAM/PFA
Jane Metcalfe, founder and original publisher, Wired magazine; vice president, BAM/PFA Board

10:15 - 11:00 a.m.
Stewart Brand, founder, The Long Now Foundation

11:10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Stewart Brand, founder, The Long Now Foundation
Kevin Kelly, editor-at-large, Wired magazine
Jon Ippolito, assistant professor of new media, University of Maine

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Lunch break

1:10 - 2:00 p.m.
Alexander Rose, The Long Now Foundation
Kurt Bollacker, The Long Now Foundation

2:10 - 3:00 p.m.
Marisa Olsen, curator and writer, Rhizome.org
Michael Katchen, archivist, Franklin Furnace Archive

3:10 - 4:00 p.m.
Jeff Rothenberg, computer scientist
Richard Rinehart, digital media director and adjunct curator, BAM/PFA

4:10 - 5:00 p.m.
Bruce Sterling, author and founder, Dead Media Project

5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Public reception (Museum Bancroft Lobby)

About BAM/PFA

The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. BAM/PFA is one of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, presenting fifteen art exhibitions and five hundred film programs each year. The museum's collection of more than 15,000 works includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.