Digital Art: Who Cares?

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What is required to bring digital art from the past to the future? This documentary presents a number of possible approaches, based on the work of Peter Struycken, a pioneer in digital art.
Peter Struycken

Peter Struycken (NL, 1939) is a pioneer in digital art. He uses the computer to visualise structures and colour patterns. His work is collected by many Dutch museums.

Read more about the artist

Digital technology plays a major role in our daily life. Computers have changed the world. Contemporary artists, too, create more and more digital works. They reflect upon the medium, write their own software and look for the limits of what’s technically possible. 

Museums and archives are increasingly confronted with works that don’t have a physical carrier anymore, but that only exist in digital form: born-digital art. The display and storage of digital art poses new questions and challenges. Digital artworks depend on a technological environment that changes constantly. Equipment ages and software develops further. Artworks evolve as well, or disappear forever. 

To give these works a permanent place in museums, a different approach is needed. What is required to bring digital art from the past to the future? Peter Struycken is a pioneer in digital art, well-known for Dutch audiences as the designer of the ubiquitous ‘Queen Beatrix’ dotted postage stamps, common from the 1980s till the 2000s. His work is collected by many Dutch museums and is typical for the problems that arise around the preservation of digital art. Researching his work is enlightening for the treatment of digital art today and in the future. This documentary presents a number of possible approaches.

This documentary has been created as part of the research project ‘Transformation Digital Art’. A project about conservation strategies for digital art by The Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (SBMK) in collaboration with LIMA and their museum partners.

Video credits

  • Director: Maarten Tromp 
  • Camera: John Treffer 
  • Script and interviews: Sandra Fauconnier 
  • Research: Nina van Doren, LIMA 
  • Editing: John Treffer & Maarten Tromp 
  • Sound design: Vladimir Rakic Voice-over: Kim Berkhout 
  • Title design: Ariënne Boelens 
  • Subtitling: Einion Media
  • Produced by: Rinske Hordijk, ARTtube 
  • Made in cooperation with: Paulien 't Hoen, SBMK and Gaby Wijers, LIMA
  • Music: Bogey in sight, Performed by LT Barber & The Messengers; River Side Pickup, Performed by LT Barber & The Messengers; Copyright: 1973 - 2015, Rundfunk Records & Redrum Recordz 
  • Thanks to: Nina van Doren, Doede Hardeman, Susanne Kensche, Peter Struycken, Daniel Dekkers, Floris van Manen, Rafaël Rozendaal, Geert Mul, JODI, Studio Moniker, Rosa Menkman, Edo Dooijes, Femke Burger / Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Laurens van Manen, Carl Doeke Eisma, Erik Kopp.
  • With the financial support of Mondriaan Fonds and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.