Yesterday I attended the presentation by new-media artist and hypertext fiction and poetry writer Deena Larsen at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. As I had showcased some of Deena?s work to students while teaching ?Creating Interactivity? at Griffith University last semester, I was glad of the chance to meet this talented lady from Colorado. Deena had to cope with the ?usual? technical problems that can plague any electronic presentation and perhaps that is fitting in itself, as any exploration of digital new media is bound to encounter the boundaries that are created when application software is pushed to or beyond its limits.
Several points were raised during the session and spoken about at some length afterwards. Operating systems, browser incompatibility, changes in application software, archiving and retrieval of works, and the ability (or lack thereof) of future generations to view and appreciate new media were some of the issues that were very thought provoking. For instance, give a thought to Deena?s first major digital work, ?Marble Springs? which can now only be viewed by a person who has access to a Mac Classic. (Forgive me; I didn?t even know that a Mac Classic ever existed). All those several years of work that has become almost inaccessible and would take many more years to re-program. Work that originated, no doubt, in the now na?ve expectation that standards would never change so rapidly and extensively, if at all.
It gives rise to some serious thoughts. Will the countless millions of weblogging archives still be able to be read in ten, twenty or one hundred years time?