Research and Restauration

In a time of rapidly changing and ever-evolving technologies, the question of maintaining our digital heritage is of significant concern. The conservation of digital artworks presents museums and collections with new tasks: What to do when an artwork’s technology is almost out-of-date the moment it arrives in the museum? How to deal with artistic works that rely on proprietary software a manufacturer has ceased to develop or whose manufacturers no longer exist? How can net-based projects be conserved for the future?

As a forum of scientific debate and pooling of expertise, the HEK works with national and international partners on the challenges of preserving digital art.

Acquiring software- and network-based artworks is a complex process, involving many levels of planning and different parties. Each work presents its own new challenges in relation to its components. Its inventory marks the beginning of a workflow involving the HEK’s the technical staff as well as external experts such as IT managers and conservators. A collection of software- and net-based art is therefore costly to maintain and requires permanent care. An important aspect of building up the collection is the comprehensive documentation of the works and outlining of individual solutions for their preservation. To this end, the HEK cultivates exchange with national and international colleagues and invites scientific exchange and discourse with research institutions.

Various contributions on questions of the preservation and conservation of digital art – lectures, interviews, videos, texts etc. – can be found here: