Digital Art – the challenges and preservation strategies, interview with virtual reality artists: Strategy accompanying the acquisition of VR experience

Author: Paulina Staszkiewicz
Mentor: Iwona Szmelter, PhD, Full Professor

Institution: Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art (Poland)
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art, Uniform twelve-semester Master’s programme, 5th year of study
Specialization: Conservation-restoration of paintings and polychrome sculpture

Digital works of art can mostly be characterized as allographic, they might exist in a virtual space in many copies and are more easily accessible to the recipient by collecting them in virtual museums and databases. At first glance, they seem to be easier to preserve for future generations - they lack material bodies that would be exposed to standard factors that damage the autographic body of the work, such as incorrect maintenance, mechanical damage, unfavorable environmental factors etc. However, this impression is misleading, because the danger that affects digital works of art is technological acceleration causing rapid obsolescence of media, incompatibility of hardware, software and peripheral devices. So how should one preserve a digital work of art? Different strategies and case studies are being discussed, including storage, migration, emulation, reinterpretation and documentation.
In order to better understand the challenges of digital art preservation, virtual reality artists Przemysław Danowski and Jakub Wróblewski were interviewed. Strategy accompanying the acquisition of VR experience was established in a form of an interview. It documented artists' technique and creative process of making the artworks Bardo and Lovestory; importance of the VR medium, relation between artists intention and VR technology, their attitude to future conservation treatments and aquisition of the artworks.

Speaker's biography
PAULINA STASZKIEWICZ is an MA student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, specializing in conservation and restoration of paintings and polychrome sculpture. Recently her student project has been granted the Mazovian voivodeship scholarship and she is currently conducting conservation and restoration treatment, as well as the collection inventory in the Children's Memorial Health Institute in Warsaw. In 2020, she published an article on the 18th century Italian capriccio paintings, now attributed to circle of Alberto Carlieri, „At the Well – Where art conservation meets investigation“ in the 4th issue of the peer-reviewed journal ICAR. She also gave an oral presentation on that topic at the 4th International Conference of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art in Cracow in 2019.