NEoN Digital Arts Archive
Welcome to NEoN’s online archive. This online archive marks one of our milestone ambitions of collating and organising our data and assets into one place. Along with making it accessible to the public. We would like to thank you for visiting and hope you find it useful, and the artists we have worked with inspiring.
Establishing an archival strategy for digital artwork is key in preserving our digital heritage, safeguarding knowledge, and stimulating future creative inquiry. NEoN Digital Arts uses a festival platform to disseminate its aim of promoting digital and technology-driven art. Through years of festival activity NEoN holds many digital assets and valuable documentation of digital artworks. We are now investigating the importance of preservation, dissemination, and legacy of these digital assets and considering the values and resources required to develop an archiving strategy.
The collecting, archiving, and preservation of digital and technology-driven art presents a great global challenge for artists, curators, galleries, and museums. These artworks can be categorised as having an ephemeral nature containing hybrid elements, live performative qualities, and are often dependent on technology destined for obsolescence. However, the challenge is an important one and one which cannot be ignored if we are to preserve our digital arts heritage.
Over the years we have documented many activities, commissioned new works, and accumulated a large amount of data and digital assets. Hours of video footage, thousands of images, hundreds of artists' interviews, commissioned works, behind-the-scenes information, new sound works, coverage of discussions and talks, and much more.
Over time the festival has grown to recognise the importance of preserving these assets but has never had the resources to adequately archive the materials and make it available to an audience. We are now exploring what NEoN’s digital archiving strategy might look like and considering the values and resources required moving forward.
Currently NEoN faces the challenge of being able to offer access to its content in a simple and timely way and our experiences have taught us that this can be a barrier to effectively communicating with new collaborators. We have no way of opening up our assets to other artists, technologists, audiences, and potential funders around the world. This was the point at which it became clear that NEoN needed to understand that the quality and longevity of the festival are very much dependent on the development of a well-designed strategy that informs an accessible workable archive. Without understanding and being able to communicate our festival activity we will ultimately impede our own progress.
This is a working project and will be updated and adapted on a regular basis and we understand that some information may be missing or incomplete. We also acknowledge that the content management system we have chosen to use is not as accessible as we would like it to be. With this in mind, we are investigating how further developments can address this.
Comments from Allan
The NEoN Archive was developed using Indexhibit as a content management system because it is open-source and was initially developed for artists and creators. The capabilities of Indexhibit for developing a simple DIY archive became apparent after some experimentation, and the results are what you see on this website.
Indexhibit has a sensible one-page “index” for creating new pages (or “exhibits”), which proved to be valuable in structuring a very large number of archive pages, as well as including tools for publishing content such as slideshows or videos. Everything that is uploaded and published using Indexhibit links to a PHP/MySQL database, which made it easy to backup and thus unlocking its preservation potential.
I also found Indexhibit to be very intuitive and easy enough to hack into its code to modify the website’s design and functionalities. Every attempt has been made to make the site as responsive for the user as possible, with further developments being discussed to improve accessibility. You can find my code modifications on GitHub.
The layout of the archive is designed to be as straightforward to navigate as possible. The years act as their own dropdown menus, dropping down to reveal categories, then dropping down to reveal the pages.
I would like to thank Donna and all at NEoN for the opportunity to work on this, and Prof. Sarah Cook for nudging me towards Indexhibit.
NEoN would like to thank the developers of Indexhibit. Indexhibit is an archetypal portfolio CMS for everybody, made available by developers Jeffery Vaska and Daniel Eatock.
This system is free to download and use but please consider donating to the cause.
We are also very impressed with the diligent work done by our online digital archivist, Allan McCafferty and will be eternally grateful to him for making our messy files organised, for showing patience when negotiating our creative file naming system and making our archives public.
With NEoNs materials, you are free to:
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Photographic archives can be viewed on our Flickr account