Legacy Systems of Digital Culture: Fact-Checking Vaporwave w/ Dragan Espenschied

By in Workshops on April 16, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015 2-5pm, 6 E16th St., Rm D1103.  

What is regarded today as a ‘digital artifact’ is typically an object sitting on the very end of an immense chain of technical and cultural dependencies. Reflecting about such an artifact, or simply describing it accurately, is extremely difficult because from the beginning, end-user computer systems have been designed for ‘transparency’–a term used in interface design to denote an environment that ideally doesn’t come to the foreground during interaction, but aims at providing an interaction ‘through’ itself. This workshop will introduce students to legacy systems and software (Windows 98, Macintosh System 7, Photoshop 6, etc) and develop a language to analyze them for their expressiveness and how they guide and influence their users. Instead of focusing on creating digital artifacts, we will create environments via experimenting with system setups, and explore the narrative potential of transparent systems.
Students will get access to a new online emulation system that doesn’t require expert knowledge to make legacy systems run.

ABOUT DRAGAN ESPENSCHIED:  Dragan is a media artist, digital conservator and 8-bit musician living in New York. As an artist, Espenschied focuses on the historization of Digital Culture from the perspective of computer users. Together with net art pioneer Olia Lialina he created a significant body of work about writing a culture-centric history of the networked age. Since 2011, they together have been restoring and analyzing the deleted online community GeoCities. Espenschied worked with the transmediale festival’s archive and the Vilem Flusser Archive. Since April 2014, he is leading the Digital Conservation Program at Rhizome.

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