1. Please tell a short introduction about yourself.
My name is Anne Laforet and I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. Sometimes, I’m an artist, too. I work alone or collaboratively in a number of different situations/contexts, mostly in Europe.
2. You mostly work as a researcher and lecturer. What are the main topics of your professional interest?
I’m interested in art practices, mostly digital, free software, the preservation & documentation of artworks, pedagogy…
3. When we talk about the question of digital art conservation, we come across the problem of distribution. How would you explain this relation?
Preserving digital art makes sense only if there are people to experience it, in one way or another. Access to what is preserved is as central as the conservation itself, and accessibility is therefore related to the distribution and dissemination of artworks. Preservation involves a series of deliberate actions upon an artwork, and it is generally done with a certain purpose in mind, a situation in which the work would be made accessible (through an exhibition, a website, a collection…).
4. Speaking of digital art, the first association to me is “indefinite”. Do you consider digital art as indefinite, too?
Perhaps I wouldn’t choose the word “indefinite”, but digital art is about being in flux, having mutability, variability in itself. In part, this is what makes preservation such an elaborate enterprise, because artworks are complex digital objects, and it also makes digital art so exciting, as we don’t know how artists’ practices will develop.
5. Your PhD thesis is titled The preservation of net art in museums. Strategies at work., published in 2011. How do the questions you are opening in the frame of digital art – production and especially conservation – relate to your current research work?
The attention towards digital art preservation informs my current work in different ways, from a focus on sustainable digital practices and tools, to delay planned obsolescence for instance, in my teachings and writings, to thinking about what could be an undocumentable, unpreservable artwork.
6. You have been involved in TRIBE project in September 2013 when you participated in the research residency at MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art in Ljubljana. Please describe briefly the research work you have done there.
At MoTA, I started a research project on Anarchronism, a portmanteau word composed by anachronism and anarchy, where I’m looking at artworks that have both analog and digital components, and are trying to confuse the viewer, making her or him unable, for instance, to “date” the artwork. There, I read, looked online and at the artworks that were shown in Ljubljana at that moment.
7. Speaking about AnarChronism, what are its main aims and objectives?
$ echo anarchie | sed ‘s/i/ronism/i’
$ echo anachronisme | sed ‘s/a/ar/2′
I got a bit lost in my research, perhaps something predictable when looking for chaos in artworks and feeling confused by not being confused enough. I took some turns that were dead-ends (at least for now), and all I have is bits and pieces of information, from notes to lines of code. The vernacular (and not retro) practice of using the terminal instead of my laptop has brought me a new concept to deal with in that research, the antonym to anarchronisme: it’s “arnachronisme” (I got it while typing this line of code in my terminal, try it, it’s fun! – $ echo anachronisme | sed ‘s/a/ar/i’ ). “Arnachronisme” sadly cannot be understood easily in English, only in French, but it is an effective word. “Arnaquer” in French means “to rip off”, and it could be used to describe something that deals with the retro, not the vernacular: the retro element is just an effect, not something deep and felt, as opposed to something that is truly vernacular, truly alive. A lot of artworks, and more generally cultural products, clearly have to do with “arnachronisme”!
8. How would you describe the relation between digital and analog, focusing on the question of the conservation of digital art?
Both analog and digital media have positive and negative aspects when it comes to preservation. Is therefore an anarchronistic artwork particularly difficult to preserve?
It could be one element of its definition, perhaps I could have started with that, it might have taken me away from some dead-ends
9. Do you see any similarities/discrepancies between net art and transitory art?
Net art and transitory art are both variable practices that rely on flux in one way or another.
10. Could you please summarize the connection between AnarChronism and transitory art in the frame of the TRIBE project?
Transitory is one of the key words that could describe anarchronism, with other words like confusion, compression, creolization, hybridation, entanglement, breach, heterochrony, precarity, asynchrony, matter, planned obsolescence…
11. We have stopped just briefly on your fruitful research path. What would you like to say to conclude this interview?
Would you perhaps like to refer to some future projects?
I’d like to carry on looking at anarchronism as I’m still figuring out what it is, and how it can inform our understanding of contemporary art practices.
Thank you for your collaboration!