“ISEA Archives” presented by Mitchell and Plas


Session Title:

  • ISEA and Friends

Presentation Title:

  • ISEA Archives




  • Abstract
    Since 1988, the annual and bi-annual ISEA Symposia have fostered the exchange of information within the electronic art field. This international, multi-disciplinary gathering of practitioners and researchers in the arts, sciences and technology community present their work at the conference, exhibitions, performances and/or workshops. The ISEA Symposium Online Archive is an initiative that aims to bring together the papers, abstracts, proceedings, videos, artworks and other materials that have been presented throughout the history of ISEA. It provides an important resource for researchers and historians and also an historical record for many of those who have presented at ISEA over the years.

    ISEA Background
    The series of symposia known as the International Symposium on Electronic Art was initiated in 1988 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in order to support the founding and maintenance of an international network of organisations and individuals active in the field of the electronic arts. This network took the shape of an association, founded in 1990, called the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts. In 2008 the association was replaced by a foundation, called ISEA International. Historically the symposia were held as both a biennial and annual events. Since 2009, the symposium was held annually. The ISEA community has always drawn from an international audience, thus the symposia are hosted in different countries each year.

    Symposium Materials
    Each year a wealth of scholarly research, artistic artifacts and documentation of performative events are generated and presented at the ISEA Symposium. These artifacts take the form of academic papers, abstracts, artist statements, artworks, videos and animations, documentation of performances and photographs of events. The materials are often, but not always, published in printed or online symposium proceedings and/or exhibition catalogue. They are also collected by the authors and artists and members of the ISEA community and become part of their personal archives or online postings. Since 1988, Wim van der Plas, one of the two co-founders of ISEA, has been collecting and archiving ISEA artifacts. Having attended every symposium (except one when he was in the hospital), he also holds institutional knowledge not often available via the publications. ISEA “Headquarters” also holds a collection of printed proceedings and other artifacts.

    ISEA Archive History
    The Symposium Archives project was initially assisted by the Mondriaan Foundation and the VSB fund in the Netherlands. Archive material was gathered by intern students under the co-ordination of Nadia Palliser. Programming of the original site was undertaken by Michiel van der Haagen from de Balie, Amsterdam. The first version of the online archive was launched at ISEA2008 in Singapore. In 2013, the original archive was terminated and a new version with an easy to navigate interface was developed by Bonnie Mitchell.

    The current online archive project is managed by Wim van der Plas and Bonnie Mitchell. Wim van der Plas has added over 8000 pages of content so far. As of April 2016, all symposium overviews, abstracts, and artist statements from 1988 to present have been added. Most proceedings and catalogues are also now available. The next stage of the process is to add the academic papers then tackle the difficult process of adding images or videos of the artworks and performances. Finally we will create an index of artists and presenters with robust search capabilities. Technical upgrades and design modifications also occur regularly in an attempt to constantly improve this resource for the community.

    ISEA community members are welcome to contribute materials as well as proof-read their submission information to help us improve the quality and accuracy of the ISEA International Symposium Archives.

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