Right now through September 8, the New Museum is home to an experiment in digital preservation. XFR STN is marketed as part art exhibition, part public service project seeking to conserve, distribute, and thereby reinvigorate content trapped within the confines of long-dead media.
Artists with work on floppy disks, old hard drives, or other accepted forms of archaic storage can make an appointment on the New Museum website and, in the case of moving images, have their work transferred to the wonderful repository of digital archaeology that is the Internet Archive.
Purely from a monetary standpoint, the venture could be described as “ludicrous.” But that’s part of the allure: it is a democratization of the otherwise pricey process of digital preservation.
As new storage technology rapidly develops, older forms, and the material they contain, usually die a slow and ignoble death under people’s beds or hidden in the backs of closets. XFR STN acts as a catalyst for people not just to remember their old files and projects, but to save them before it’s too late.