Art and Obsolescence

A podcast with Annet Dekker

This week on the show we’re visiting with legendary curator and researcher of digital art, Annet Dekker. Annet occupies an incredibly unique and important role within the ecosystem of people that steward time-based media art. In addition to her curatorial work and research, and in many ways serving as a hub and convener within the digital art community, Annet has also serverd for many years as passionate researcher within the world of preservation. Annet’s work often serves a sort of meta role studying the work of conservators, the culture of institutions and utilizes her close relationships with artists to encourage the conservation field down a more enlightened path – Annet’s influence on the field has been far reaching.

Links from the conversation with Annet
> Annet speaking at TechFocus III:
> Collecting and Conserving Net Art: Moving Beyond Conventional


[00:00:00] Ben: From Small Data Industries, this is Art and Obsolescence. I’m your host, Ben Fino-Radin and on this show, I chat with people that are shaping the past present and future of art and technology. This week on the show, we have a very special guest.

[00:00:15] Annet: My name is Annet Dekker. I’m a curator, researcher of digital art.

[00:00:20] Ben: Annet occupies an incredibly unique and important role within the ecosystem of people that steward time-based media art. She is a curator, convener, and in many ways at hub within the digital art community, but Annette has also been a passionate researcher within the world of preservation, not as a practitioner, looking at tools and methods, but in a more sort of meta role studying the work of conservators, the culture of institutions and utilizing her close relationships with artists to encourage the conservation field down a more enlightened path. Often in the form of conferences, convenings publications, as well as an entire PhD dissertation which we’ll hear all about. Annet’s work is super important for many reasons, but it’s very important to me on a personal level. I didn’t even know that time-based media conservation was a thing until I read some of her writing when I was a little baby library science student longer ago than I care to admit. It was a reading and that’s work that inspired me and set me down my path and led me to the world of conservation. So it was especially nice to sit down with Annet and get to hear her story as well as what she is up to these days.

Before we dive in, I want to send a huge thank you to all of you that are leaving reviews for the show. It really does help juice the algorithm and helps other people discover the show, which in turn helps in my fundraising efforts to ensure that we have money to equitably compensate artists, guests, if you haven’t reviewed the show yet, I hope you’ll take a second to do so. And if you leave a comment on your review, you might just hear it on the air. Now without further delay, let’s dive into this week’s chat with Annet Dekker.

[00:01:53] Annet: Around 1997 I guess I was just finished my MA degree at the university of Utrecht in Holland in uh, gender studies, media technology a little bit. And I was really interested in the arts because they gave me a fresh perspective on things. And I was lucky enough to end up in a sort of research led by a friend of mine for a Dutch broadcaster, Veronica broadcasting system in Hilversum and it was a commercial broadcaster, which at the time in Holland was still quite rare. But they were a sort of like youth channel broadcasting on television and radio stations. And they were really interested in finding out the next thing, the next thing in technology, the buzz was around internet was around, but they didn’t really know what they were getting themselves into and so they wanted to get ready for the next phase. So they asked my partner in crime and myself to come up with the sort of most innovative speakers of the day. I was lucky enough to invite about 10 people or so I think, and that’s where I got in touch with the more digital art scene I think in the Netherlands, which at that time it was really thriving, you know, there was a lot going on on all kinds of different levels. You had V2, you had the Waag society all these kind of organizations that were doing lots of stuff with digital arts and I was really interested in that. So I brought all these people together and we had two fantastic days in a way in which they explained all the sort of future visions they had and why that would be important for this broadcaster. And from there on I got to know these people better. So when I was finishing indeed my masters or just after finishing my masters, I was looking for a job and at the time there was just no jobs around really particularly not in cultural life. Luckily at that time in Holland, I was able to be on social benefits but still allowing me also to do indeed voluntary work. I think at almost like the first six or seven years of my working life has been on social benefits basically. That was a very privileged situation at the moment, in Holland, because you were indeed allowed to get benefits, but also work on the side which sadly isn’t the case anymore. It was two years after you graduated in that period, you could work like this, and then you could also have a sort of special contract with the organization. It had to be a sort of NGO kind of non-governmental organization and they could then hire you and you could keep your benefits until they could pay you basically, which in some cases ended up for yeah many, many years. But at that time, that really helped me to get to know this world. So I ended up doing a lot of volunteering work, but through this first little gig, I got to know the inside of these organizations as well, spending two days with them kind of helped. And I just approached them. It’s like, well, you know, do you have work for me? Can I do some work? And that’s basically how I rolled into the arts. It was actually really this event that really spurred my interest more and more because my studies were in gender studies and also in social media psychology. I never really was set out to be a curator. I never really thought about becoming a curator. I didn’t even probably know what a curator would do. I was very much actually looking at advertising. I really wanted to be in this sort of like, advertising scene. Primarily because I was really interested in images in visual culture and pop culture and I thought that’s the way to go. You know, you go and work for these advertising agencies and there you can change the world through images. At least that’s what I thought. And when I did a short, very short internship, I quickly realized this is not the way to go at all. Yes, they have a great influence, but they really don’t have much to say they’re very restricted by their people that they actually need to make advertising for. So that was a bit of a downside. And then I came into the arts and then I saw like, well, here there is actually a lot more freedom and much more potential to do what you want to do and really try and change the things around you.

The first organization I worked for was Axis it was a very small organization driven by gender studies, media technology, and art. I think there were only five of us in the organization. It had its heads quarters in the red light district in Amsterdam. In the middle of the red light district, there’s one of the oldest churches in Amsterdam and that’s where we had our office, but also because the church wasn’t in function anymore, we also used it as an exhibition space and there we would indeed organize all kinds of events around gender, media, art and technology. And one of the people working there, Deanna Hurst, she was really into internet art. And that was my yeah. Sort of first encounters as well of really delving into internet and art. I initially came there through this indeed, this previous job. Having indeed the sort of knowledge of gender and media, so they asked me to come up with a specific programs on visual culture and gender, how gender was portrayed in television comic series, and also in television series, like, CS and I, like more detective series and how gender was depicted in those kind of things at that time in Holland, I think the whole gender issue was very much a topic still in which there was all sorts of emancipation and particularly the way we tried to label it or focus it more was around the gender in media and how it was portrayed, but also in the arts and more and more also in technology. And this is where I, yeah, more and more came into that subject. I also had side jobs that I worked alongside in uh Utrecht for instance Lazy Mary, which was a very small initiative as well, what they called an artist initiative. There, we would also organize, monthly or six weekly events, screenings, mostly video and experimental film. But later when I came in as well, much more focused on websites as well. We would invite people to show their website and what they’ve done and why they thought it was important. And so I got to know more and more so the Dutch scene in that sense which was really interesting, cause loads of things were happening. There were so many artists I’m really bad at names I can’t quite recall all of them, but particularly around the end of the nineties, there were many around and it was a very small circle, so it was very easy to connect with different people. And since I worked for all these different organizations and festivals I got to know them quite quickly. For me, these festivals were extremely welcoming. I mean, There was a very small community of experimental film, video, art, net artists, maybe people making CD-ROMs, et cetera. So everyone knew each other quite well. And so there was a very sort of gathering where people would just come together and, you know, exchange their work ideas have a few beers eat together. And so they formed quite quickly communities. And I think it’s that sort of community building that really happened through these kind of festivals. And they had long legacies already. Since the eighties, the first festival started appearing primarily on, on video and experimental film at that time. One of the things I also started working at was impact festival in Utrecht. Mostly what I was doing, there was connecting to the guests that were coming. You know, I had to like arrange hotels and stuff like that very simple things doing, press releases, that sort of thing. And there I saw the power also of making these selections of works next to each other, you know, as an exhibition, but also as a film program. And I really liked that I thought that was really valuable to show people what was going on to contextualize things. And that’s something that I got more and more interested in. It’s like, there’s so much around that people don’t see or don’t hear about, which I think is relevant, and can I come up with a way that I can actually make that visible and show people not only the art itself necessarily, but also the context around it. I thought that was always very important for me. I’ve seen myself always as a mediator in that sense. And I remember also when I started working in this field in the beginning, I never would call myself a curator. I was actually quite against that whole term because for me, a curator was so much related to these museums that are very institutionalized. The thing I did as a curator then, or exhibition maker, but that’s not really an English term, Was everything you had to think about when doing an exhibition? It was not only about selecting artists and approaching them, but it was also applying for funding to get them over sometimes also funding to create their works in the first place it was to do with publicity. You had to do your own press releases. You had to send them out yourself in the beginning as well. You had to stick the flyers into the envelope to send to people, all those kind of things, a whole sort of educational program. So it was all these kind of things that came into that job of the curator. And it was not only are only, yeah, a nice selection of artists that you could do and someone else would do the whole production. In that sense, I was really adverse to calling myself a curator because I felt like it wouldn’t do justice to the kind of things that I actually did, nor would it do justice actually to the thing I thought was really important, which was indeed this idea of making things visible. I had to mediate in a sense between an artwork, an artist and the public that might not know about it. And later on, yeah, my own research of course became a part of that connotation as well. I think the whole position of a curator has of course become much more analyzed, indeed these different roles that I sketched out earlier come together, much more fluidly in a way. After being in the festival world my next step was working for the Netherlands Media Art Institute, Montevideo Time Based Art. That’s where I really started focusing on both producing work particularly within the relation of the artists in residence and also curating. And that’s where I really came more and more into the sort of more traditional sense of a curator where I would do about six or so exhibitions a year. I started in 1999 and I left officially in 2008, after I’d left NIMK to work for Virtueel Platform I stayed on a few years more as a sort of independent curator leading together with Annette Wolfsberger the artist in residence at NIMK. And that was really the start of an ongoing collaboration in a way.

[00:13:22] Ben: You mentioned Virtueel Platform. When I was in grad school, it was reading the, Archive 2020 publication that you put together, that caused me to get into the field of time-based media conservation. I didn’t know, it was a thing until I read that paper. I’m curious to know more about what that project was, you know, when I first discovered it, back in, I guess it must have been like 2010 or so, I just consumed it as a publication, but, I gather it was also a conference?

[00:13:55] Annet: Yeah so this, Archive 2020: Sustainable Archiving of Born Digital Cultural Content. It was a program that we did when I was working for Virtueel Platform. And Virtueel Platform was this E culture related organization in the Netherlands that had to organize events for sector and for the broader E sector the electronic, whatever called sector that was in Holland. And one of the issues and the themes. That came up was indeed this idea of digital preservation. So, Archive 2020 was organized at a moment when more and more museums became aware of their online life in a way, but at the same time also of the precarity of the digital art forms that they were only minimally collecting. And so we decided to organize a sort of working conference in which we invited several people to come up with cases and also to lead discussions. It was very much experts professionals amongst each other and they would discuss different issues around digital arts, and digital archiving and what that all meant for their organizations. We had invited around eight or so different groups. Lev Manovich was there, Christiane Paul, Olga Goriunova, Caitlin Jones, Gabby Vijers, Lizzie Muller was there all these experts in the field and they would sit around with participants and discuss, what are we gonna do? How are we gonna approach this, and what measures need to be taken. And a small publication came out of that and then we also asked specific people to really reflect on certain topics that they thought were most important. We also invited an artist Martine Neddam to talk about her work and how she dealt with updating, for instance, uh, the website that she’d made, uh, several years earlier. So it was really interesting to see all these different perspectives come together. And I think quite a good amount of discussion took place and a lot of insight came up.

[00:16:11] Ben: It seems like you had entered the field in some ways as the field of time based media conservation was just starting to exist in some very proto early ways. What has it been like for you as somebody who, you know, you’re not practicing conservator, , you occupy more the academic space of things in many ways you’ve been an observer and a documentary of the evolution of this field. I guess how have you seen it evolve and change?

[00:16:41] Annet: Yeah for me it was really interesting because at the point when I was still working at the Netherlands Media Art institute in 2008, I started thinking about doing a PhD because I had enough of just producing exhibition after exhibition, after exhibition and event festival, whatever came along. And I wanted to focus more on some of the aspects that I found really interesting at the time and I made a first proposal to send to the universities that I was interested in. And the first proposal was really about interactive art in public space, which at the time was this big, thing at the urban screens, but also all kinds of interactive walls that would, do stuff when you walked against it or whatever. And I thought it’d be interesting to focus my research on that. When I had my first supervision meeting, with Matthew Fuller at Goldsmith’s, the first thing I told him is like, well, you know, it’s great that I’m here now, and I’m really happy, but I’m gonna change my topic. Is that okay? And he was like, yeah, sure, whatever. You can do whatever you want. And so I was like, okay, I wanna change it into looking at the conservation of net art. And one of the reasons for me doing that was because when I started telling people like, oh, I’m gonna do this PhD, and I’m going to focus on this art form. They would come to me. It’s like, well, you know, you should really look at what is going on with our works because it’s disappearing and we don’t know what to do with it. The museums are not taking it in. They’re not showing an interest and we really need to give it more attention. And so thinking that over, I was like, yeah, that’s actually a really good idea because I’ve been working now indeed for more than 10 years with this art form and with these artist, and indeed I could see the works disappearing. And also what always had frustrated me that was so little dialogue between these different art worlds. So that’s what I decided to get into conservation. I was also helped a lot by Gabby Wijers, who was working as a conservator of video art at Montevideo, as she has always been much longer involved in the video art preservation and so I knew a little bit about conservation, but not as much as I started to learn over the years. It was also indeed a very good time because all of a sudden digital preservation had become something to talk about. Something to discuss that had started with time based media. Indeed the variable media of course, was hugely influential, I think and it became more and more known throughout the working conferences that we organized and others organized as well. What I found really, really nice at the beginning was there was this nice atmosphere of exchange and sharing of information, it was a really small world wherein everyone knew each other sooner or later, but there was also a real eagerness to learn from each other. And that’s something that always stuck with me about these time based media conservators that they were really eager to learn more about digital art, something which I had real difficulties with when talking to curators about digital art and in some cases I still have that difficulty that there is this hindrance that people still find it really difficult to discuss digital art. Whereas in the conservation departments, the doors were open. You know, people were welcoming me in really eager to exchange their thoughts and hear about my interest as well, as well as the artist. So for me it was a hugely welcoming environment that I appreciated a lot and I benefited from it tremendously. After I finished my PhD, I was part of this Pericles project with Tate and I was doing a lot of work together with Patricia Falcão indeed, to see, well, what is this digital art and what are the sort of specific significant properties around it. One of my things was also, it would be nice to create a sort of community around it to talk about these things. And so, through this project, I could indeed set up this community of practice around 10 people and we met every six weeks or so to discuss indeed like, well, what are your urgencies? What are you working on at the moment? What are you going up against? And how are you gonna, you know, solve these things? And that was again for me really, really nice moment in time where you could see like the conservation departments, there was for me, a sort of younger generation in a way as well that was again, really eager to learn from each other and to get to know each other. And so it was this extremely productive time I thought as well to learn so much from each other’s practices at the same time.

The PhD I finished in 2014 and it was called Enabling The Future of How To Live Forever: a study Of Networks Processes And Ambiguity in Net Art And The Need For An Expended Practice Of Conservation. It’s one of those beautiful PhD titles that goes on forever. How to live forever was actually a pun on JODI’s work, their work with Max Payne and I thought it was a really nice connection to be made. I published it in 2018 under the title Collecting and Conserving Net Art, Moving Beyond Conventional Methods in Conservation. I look at net art specifically, and I focus on certain characteristics in net art that I try to emphasize, which is the notion of ambiguity, of it being processual and it also being networked. Those three things are the sort of red lines through the whole dissertation, in which I’m interested indeed to see how artists actually are dealing, with the preservation of their work. I have primarily looked at artist practices and talked to a artist about their work, and what their thoughts were about the preservation of their work. The thesis is divided in sort of three topics, which one of them is about documentation and the other one is central around networks of care. And then there’s the final one, that answers the question. What is a digital document?

[00:23:02] Ben: That sounds incredible. You know, it’s interesting to me because in some ways you are very much an insider in the field. But in many ways you’re also for lack of a better term, very much independent. And in many ways I see you as an advocate for artists in a authentic way. That’s sort of like where you come from. So I’m curious in your view, as someone that has seen the field of time-based media conservation and the preservation of digital art evolve and emerge and develop, what do you think that we are missing still? What does the field not quite understand when it comes to, conserving these works and perpetuating the intent of the artist.

[00:23:45] Annet: That’s a very good question. I’m very impatient and I’m also very curious, so there’s always things that I think I’m missing, but I think one of the main things that still needs attention from particularly the institutional, I think is that they need to open up more and share more of not only of their knowledge, cuz I think that’s done in many fantastic ways. There’s all these incredible sources out there. But I think one of the things that’s important is that there’s more collaborative efforts in a way in which there’s also a recognition of non experts that have valuable things to say and to do. That’s something that I’ve tried to term now networks of care. You have to be really invested and you have to earn trust in a way as well. And I think that takes a lot of time, but it does happen over time, but there needs to be a sort of equality of partners. So there needs to be a level of trust from different sides from both sites at the same time, which I think is usually lacking. There’s always a distrust from one to the other. It doesn’t matter on which side you are. I think it’s, it goes all kinds of ways. So I think one of the most important things is to overcome that sort of disbalance in trust. And the other thing that I also think is very important is to accept loss and to accept decay and move from those ideas. What happens, you know, if we start with a premise, like something is not there anymore, then how can we still remember? And it’s not just about memory, but it’s also about what kind of things are needed? What can we put in place that that can trigger our memory? And I think that’s something that people really have to come to terms with, and it doesn’t really only concern digital art, but it’s also more the whole computational culture that we live in I think where we are losing things constantly and will so ever more. And it’s something that we really have to come to terms with. It’s not a bad thing. It’s fine actually to lose things, but how can we get something in place that will trigger certain things. And this could be fragments. And I remember one of the things that Jill Sterrett once said when she was still working at SF MoMA, the need to plan finds and she was leaning on this sort of archeological trope in a way where you make sense of finds right? You dig up things and then you make sense of them. And since she suggested something like that in reverse also for digital arts, it’s like, well, how can we come up with a method that actually make that happen? And that through, you know, not having the thing that was once still be able to reconstruct a certain history of it. Digital art is not gonna be the same. And I’m building in that sense, of course, also on Jon and Richard’s book as well, and how they’re thinking indeed about the importance of gathering and social communities in a way in the preservation process. But for me, it’s also about the sustainability of digital preservation. And to me that’s the key in a way is the paradox of digital sustainability. There is not such a thing as digital sustainability, and it’s been proclaimed as it’s possible. And yes, you could argue it is given, you know, enormous amounts of time and energy, but it’s primarily not sustainable. And particularly in a time that we’re living now, we can’t do it. We can’t keep going in the way that we do. We have to change the ways that we do things. And that requires a mentality shift. It requires a social shift in a way that we haven’t seen before, at least not in a long time, but it’s not that we haven’t done it before either. Certainly beyond the Western world, there’s many populations and communities that have been working fine without the kind of idea of preservation that we have of preservation. They’re much easier in letting go and much more accepting of decay for instance. Also within the Western world, we didn’t have this sort of fixation on the object. It only happens like a century or a half ago, so it’s also something that we can change if we want it.

[00:28:22] Ben: Back to the network of care concept, could you give an example of a specific network of care?

[00:28:29] Annet: A good example I find is a website made in 1997 by the now known author, Martine Neddam. It’s basically a website that consists of different projects. And it’s about this character Mouchette a 13 year old girl living in Amsterdam, an artist, and she’s doing all kinds of things on her website. There’s little games, there’s little navigation tools, there’s poems. Uh, there’s also more controversial things like, well, how do I commit suicide? There’s also a huge community around it. After all these years it’s one of the best visited websites I would say even. And one of the things that, uh, Martine Neddam started doing at a certain point was to create as one of the projects of Mouchette to create Mouchette network, because Mouchette wanted to have friends and she wanted to share her experience. So was set up and there, you could also take over the Mouchette identity in a way. And so in that whole project of mushed, she created her own network. You could say. But there is also another way on how the network emerges in a way and that also happened in the same case with at certain points, Martine had made a quiz in which she compared her character Mouchette with another character on which she borrows from. And that was the film Mouchette by French director Bresson and in the film, Mouchette is a small girl living on the countryside in France having a harsh life, et cetera, et cetera. And in the end, it’s not really clear whether or not she commits suicide. Now the film is never really explicit in that way, but on the website Mouchette is very explicit. I mean, the project based that I mentioned, you know, is really asking for people’s advice around suicide and a whole community has emerged around it. So interestingly the, the quiz is in French and English. And when it was put up on the website a couple of months or so later, the widow of Bresson uh, who died in the meantime saw the website and well was not amused. So she sent a cease and desist letter to Mouchette which is interesting in itself. Cause Mouchette was an anonymous identity basically and no one really knew who was behind it. As soon as that case started to become more public and it got more attention, Martine having to deal with these issues before as well, decided like, okay, I will just, take it for granted and take off the website, at least the French version of the game. She announced this on emailing sites such as Net Time. And at the same time, when she announced it, after that several organizations came up and said well, we’ll host it for you. We’ll put it on our server. So she can’t connect it to you and the game can still be played. And to this day, there’s still indeed several organizations that survived and also are hosting this website. So you can see also at a certain moment when an urgency or an emotional response is triggered, a network starts to establish itself. And so this network is not of people that know of each other, but that share is certain urgency. And through that urgency, they come forward and take action. Another project by a Slovenian artist, Igor Å tromajer, which he’s been developing since 2016 is also very interesting. Igor has also been certainly a well known famous net artist since the early days of the web already like early 95 or so he started making his first websites and around 2011 or 2012, he decided that most of his works didn’t function anymore in the way that he intended. So a lot of his works, he decided to delete. And again, he announced his whole deletion project on social media. It’s called Expunction in which he started to delete ritually all these websites and you could see the whole process that’s documented, et cetera. A couple of years after that, he started sending me an email. And in that email, he said dear and Annet can you keep these files safe? Best. Nothing else. A . Few, you know, files not even containing much, you know, a few images, a sound file of a blurb of a sound and nothing else. So I was like, yeah, whatever Igor. I worked with him in the past. He was like, yeah, it must be one of his things again, whatever. Forget about it. After two years, I got a similar email. Exactly the same date and with a similar message Dear Annet, can you keep these files safe? They’re encrypted, et cetera. And a little bit more information, but still, you know, very little information in the end. So I, I was getting curious, like, hey, what’s going on here? So I contacted him and asked him was like, Igor what’s going on? What, what is this? Is this a new project or yours? What are you doing? And he was like, yeah, still not really sure, but the idea is that I will do this every two year. I will send encrypted files and other files to a decreasing group of people that I know either friends or people that are close to me, family, whatever. So I’m waiting now. 2018 passed and I got that email. 2020 passed I also got an email it’s now 2022 and I didn’t get an email yet. I’m really annoyed. I even emailed him because I think this is such a fantastic case in which there is a network out there which don’t know each other yet. I know of one person whom I briefly talked about it once and it was like, yeah, I also got that email once and I was like there’s more people out there. I know, but we still have to get together at a certain point. And when that will happen, I don’t know, but I’m sure it will at certain point. And I think that’s also a very interesting approach in a way in which indeed all these ideas of creating a network based on decay, based on deletion and based on fragments on finds come together in a way. And for me, that’s a beautiful example of how these networks of care can also, come maybe one day or maybe not. But at least there’s certainly now a seed in my mind that will always remember this.

[00:35:19] Ben: For someone that has just been kind of extremely online for decades, and curating and researching and writing about art on the internet for as long as you have what has it been like for you in the last two years during the pandemic to see the art world suddenly like realize, oh, the, web exists.

[00:35:43] Annet: It was fun. It was really fun in the end. I remember in the beginning, I was finishing this book curating digital art and making this stupid timeline of all kinds of online exhibitions and all of a sudden exhibitions were popping up everywhere and I was like, what the fuck is going on? I was really panicking in a way. Like, God, you know, we’re never gonna be able to finish this. In the beginning of the pandemic, I did a frantic, series of interviews again with people who were just doing shows at that time for the first time. But then I was like, okay, now we need to stop this cuz it’s just gonna continue forever now. And then the forever, wasn’t that forever really. Looking back two years now I’m surprised how little has actually happened. There was a very short moment where there was a lot of intensity and a lot of potential. But in the end it turned out to be quite conventional. And so they were really going back into sort of old modus of presenting things online. There were of course exceptions, luckily but it was interesting to see indeed, like there was this heightened moment of excitement, but it quite quickly faded and became much more conventional again. Which is a shame I think, but it was also really interesting to see a few arts organizations or artists initiatives who were doing these online shows in a very good way, decided to stop and to not do it anymore because they were like, this is our livelihood and you’re just pretending it never really happened. And that was also a very interesting to see. So there was this double twist and double turnaround of things that I was really interesting.

[00:37:27] Ben: Mm-hmm interesting. So, Annette, I’m curious, what is coming next for you? Do you have any projects upcoming that you’d like to share?

[00:37:34] Annet: So there’s several things that are coming up at the moment. I’m applying for funding to look into this idea of the paradox of digital sustainability to really make that into a larger project, to give it more attention. I’m also looking into online, curating. I published a book uh, last year in which I had interviewed several people about their practice over the last 10 years. Another thing that came out of that was together with two curators, Marialaura Ghidini and Gaia Tedone, I made a historical timeline of online exhibitions and that was printed in the book and the publisher of Les in Amsterdam also made a special website about it. And recently we could do a special edition exhibition in a way at a platform that was developed by Constant Dullaart. And that’s something that I’d like to expend on more and luckily someone found me uh, the ZKM is now doing a show as well in December where it will come back. And I think that’s also for me, very interesting to see indeed where we go uh, with the web how things are getting more and more developed because there’s a lot of, pessimism about the web and that everything is now turned into world gardens. But I think there’s so much still going on and, and so many interesting things are still happening. So I’m looking forward to yeah spending more time also on that project.

[00:39:06] Ben: As a researcher and curator with such a prolific career of, you know, working in digital art and net and time based media, do you have any advice for folks listening who might be interested in getting into this field, whether as a curator or a researcher?

[00:39:24] Annet: My advice would be do as much as you can start experimenting, start hooking up with others, learn from each other and just do. Just try out things. Don’t follow, you know, all the big museums necessarily, but try it out yourself. And whether it’s on social media, existing platforms, or you’re creating your own website, that doesn’t really matter. But yeah. Try and be creative misuse, the platforms that are there in different ways and give other people, if you can’t do it yourself, the opportunity to present themselves.

[00:40:00] Ben: That’s great advice. Well, Annette Dekker thank you so much for coming on the show. Like I said, I literally wouldn’t have gotten into this field if it hadn’t been for your writing. So it’s just been a real treat to hear more of your story and to spend some time with you.

[00:40:15] Annet: Well, that’s the best compliment I could ever get. So thank you very much for your contribution here and for all the work you’re doing. So thank you.

[00:40:25] Ben: And as always, thank you, dear listener for joining me for this week’s show, I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, and you want to help support our work and mission of equitably compensating artists, you can join us over at or if you’re more interested in making a one-time gift that is tax deductible, you can do so through our fiscal sponsor, the New York Foundation For The Arts at and there you can find the full archive of the show, show notes, full transcripts, and you can find us on Twitter and Instagram @artobsolescence. Have a great week. My friends, my name is Ben Fino-Radin, and this has been Art and Obsolescence.

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