For the last year I've been working on a commission project for Level Centre here in Derbyshire, and whilst the project was put on hold back in March, I'm pleased to say I am now continuing to develop and install the piece ready for launch in September / October (all being well).
If you've read anything regarding my work on the Digital Dark Age, then it will be easy for you to see where the inspiration for my new interactive installation 'Degradation' has come from. For the last few years I've been fascinated by the issues surrounding digital obsolescence and preservation, and what these issues mean for us all.
Our digital lives are ever present, yet also completely intangible, ever changing and developing as we continually add to their virtual mass. Whether this is photos taken on our smart phones, documents created for work or music we've downloaded, our digital footprint is huge and sometimes hard to manage. Furthermore, keeping up-to-date with changes in technology, file formats, storage mediums and even simple items such as adapter cables can be a huge undertaking.
Within the time I've been working on this project, one of the software plugins I have been using has been discontinued, which really highlights one of my main concepts. Must we continue to adapt and upgrade, or should we strive to create an environment in which the perfect working system is maintained and stable? The discontinuation of this plugin has meant using now 'out-of-date' versions of software, and with no continual support this could cause me problems in the not too distant future, in recreating the environment in which to run the installation. With that in mind, it's easy to imagine that this piece has a very short life, unless it's systems are frozen in time, impervious to updates in operating system, plugin architecture or firmware.
'Degradation' is an interactive installation that encourages the participant to manage and control a digital form in 3D virtual space. Mimicking our day-to-day use of computers and technology, in which we live an ever increasing part of our lives, how are we as the creators of this data affecting it's lifespan?