Variable Media Questionnaire at Art of Digital London

Art of Digital London logoOctober’s “Art of Digital London” workshop presented Forging the Future’s latest preservation tools to representatives of arts organizations including the British Library, the Hornsey Unlibrary, FACT Liverpool, and Wikimedia UK. Jon Ippolito demo’d the new Variable Media Questionnaire and Metaserver via teleconference at this event organized by Mute magazine’s Simon Worthington.

In this latest event in the “Art of Digital London” series, the social aspect of collecting institutions was a common theme of presentations by the Unlibrary’s Chris Meade and FACT curator Heather Corcoran. Indeed, the organizers began with a provocative question about the role of nonprofessionals in safeguarding culture–one to which the crowdsourcing model of the VMQ and Metaserver seemed apposite responses.


Not only have analogue archives been digitised and opened up, but the relationship between archivist and user has been blurred. Fans–always already obsessive archivists; collecting publications, programs and ephemera using personalised systems–now find themselves connecting online, assuming the role of distributed archivists, caretakers of a kind.

Meanwhile contributions to the new Variable Media Questionnaire continue to grow. Following the addition of the first work by an architectural team, Diller & Scofidio, earlier this fall, this week researcher Lily Buhring at the Laboratoire des Médias Variables added the first work by David Vincent to the Variable Media Questionnaire–an early net art piece in which participants were asked to contribute documentation of the life of Nancy Crater, a fictional character from the first episode of the original Star Trek.

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