Founding editor / research fellow
Monoskop.org, University of Amsterdam (NL)


Dušan Barok is founding editor of the platform for collaborative studies of the arts and humanities Monoskop and currently a research fellow at the University of Amsterdam, focusing on the documentation of time-based art. He graduated in information technologies from the University of Economics, Bratislava, and Networked Media from the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. He was involved in running the Multiplace network culture festival and along with Pit Schultz he developed an artist-run platform for contemporary art history, ArtWiki. Recently, he organised and moderated the series of seminars on media aesthetics ‘The Extensions of Many’ at the Hordaland kunstsenter, Bergen, Norway, and a symposium on the aesthetics and politics of information, Ideographies of Knowledge, at the Mundaneum, Mons, Belgium.


From Collection Management to Content Management in Art Documentation

Collections management systems have limitations in adequately representing contemporary art. The presence of installations, performances and time-based media in museum collections raises the importance of documentation and makes it key in collection care since their lives depend on it. In recent years, several initiatives responded to these persisting challenges by implementing a supporting platform. Collaborative networked software such as wiki came into focus as a prominent choice for documenting media arts. The wiki is suitable for integrating diverse material in oneplace and accommodating much needed things such as multiple iterations of an artwork, relations between its elements, and multimedia content. Its version control helps collaboration, while its API enables a certain level of reciprocity with other platforms. In addition, as a knowledge resource, it provides a different kind of framework for records on artworks. While collections management systems are designed primarily to handle objects using forms, wikis and other content management systems are publishing platforms in the first place. They are designed to employ text and media to compose articles. This paper takes the case of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)’s Media Wiki to determine whether and under what conditions a wiki is capable of supporting collection care sufficiently enough in terms of documenting time-based media art.



Collaborative Documentation and Archiving of Digital Art

Facilitated by Dušan Barok, Julie Boschat Thorez, and Lozana Rossenova.

This workshop will explore open source platforms to supplement standard collections management databases for art documentation and archiving, in particular for processual and networked artworks. These types of artworks pose challenges to standard content management applications due to the need of capturing their various iterations, the nature of and relations between multiple components, as well as contextual information. The collaborative nature of archiving and documentation also requires the possibility of tracking changes, in other words version control. Since proprietary systems developed by commercial companies are not flexible enough to accommodate these needs, we will focus on open source alternatives such as MediaWiki, GitLab, and WikiBase. We will reflect on the technical details of the different systems, their pro’s and con’s for documenting and preserving art, while looking at the potential of collaborative workflows.