info @ archimuse.com
published: April, 2002
Session: Digital Curation
This paper argues that museums do not have a natural role in the distribution of net art, that the conservation tradition and expertise of museums do not make them suited for creating historical collections of net art without undergoing major upgrading, and that older art institutions have shown a superficial understanding of net art. Other relevant institutions already have established themselves on the Internet.
Although net art does not need museums, one can still see how museums of contemporary art need net art. Public museums of contemporary art are meant to cover the whole field of contemporary art, and therefore they must necessarily also cover net art. If museums have to take net art seriously, they have to start with the already established competencies and viable forums outside the museums. Museums that wish to cover net art should join these forums. For the sake of the reputation of museums in the net art environment, it is essential that they do not appear to be parasites or lusers* - mere users of net art who just download the resulting works of art without contributing to their structural strengthening and the more process-oriented development.
* Luser: term used in hacker environments about people who merely use - and do not contribute to - the development of open programs.