Past Event

Future Proofing Emerging Digital Documentary Forms.

Ticket prices (taxes and fees not included):

Adults: $300 / Students and seniors (65 and over): $270

Reduced price when you purchase 4 tickets or more:
Adults: $270 / Students and seniors (65 and over): $243

ID will be required at the entrance for any discount ticket.
Each ticket to
Update or Die includes breakfast, lunch, the day’s panels and conference, as well as access to an exhibition.

A one-day conference curated by the MIT Open Documentary Lab and Phi, in collaboration with IDFA DocLab and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

Unstable platforms, rapidly changing technologies, and shifting investment priorities are the new normal in today’s media landscape. As attention turns to the next big thing, digital games, artwork, interactive news features, and web-based documentaries made as recently as five years ago face obsolescence.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Documentary Lab and Phi propose a one-day multi-disciplinary conference to discuss the pressing issue of disappearing digital documentaries. What remains and who decides? What kind of artifact is an interactive documentary from a preservation perspective? What kinds of obsolescence do these often networked and platform-dependent documentary forms face in fast-changing technological, cultural, and even legal ecosystems? How can non-profit organizations, news agencies, and independent media makers manage constantly changing technology platforms and dependencies on external operating systems and APIs? What should we expect from cultural institutions, governments, and for-profit technology companies to help ensure the survival of our digital culture? Given the current preservation strategies of emulation, migration, and re-creation, how do we best memorialize and document those artifacts that we cannot save?

We will bring together global leaders from media and arts organizations, libraries, archival institutes, game and technology companies and initiatives to address these questions, learn from each other and our past attempts at preservation, and collectively discuss and tackle the unique challenges posed by documentary in a fast-changing and often proprietary digital media landscape.

Ironically, the digital information age is at risk of losing its memory in ways unthinkable in the analog past. Unless we are resigned to losing a foundational chapter in interactive, participatory and locative documentary, we must act now.

Full schedule:

7:45 AM – Arrival of participants and breakfast

8:45 AM – Word of welcome by Myriam Achard (Phi Centre) and Sarah Wolozin (MIT Open Documentary Lab) and presentation of Sandra Rodriguez (MIT Open Documentary Lab, EyeSteelFilm) and Catalina Briceño (Canada Media Fund), our hosts of the day

9:10 AM – Opening of the conference by Prof. William Uricchio (MIT Open Documentary Lab): Preserving a Precarious Ecosystem: Assessing the Needs of Interactive Documentaries

9:25 AM – Interactive demo by Caspar Sonnen (IDFA) and Erwin Verbruggen (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision): A Short Introduction to the Interactive Documentary Canon

9:45 AM – Conference by Rick Prelinger (University of California, Santa Cruz/Prelinger Archives/Internet Archive), followed by a Q&A: Perishable Practices: Preserving New Documentary Forms in a Post-Archival Moment

10:10 AM – Conference by Zachary Kaplan (Rhizome), followed by a Q&A: Preserving Performative Media

10:35 AM – Conference by Patricia Falcao (Tate), followed by a Q&A: Preserving Digital Artworks at the Tate

11 AM – Break

11:15 AM – Conference by Jepchumba (African Digital Art), followed by a Q&A: Digital Colonialism: Erasure and Digital Memory

11:40 AM – Conference by Henry Lowood (Stanford University), followed by a Q&A: Replay: Games, Performance and Preservation

12:05 PM – Conference by Brett Gaylor (Mozilla), followed by a Q&A: 404 vs 401: A Tale of Documentary Horror and Redemption

12:30 PM: Conference by Jason Scott (Internet Archive), followed by a Q&A: Dead Man Beeping: Shouts from the Cutting Edge of Web-based Emulation

12:55 PM – Recap by Catalina Briceño

1 PM – Lunch

2 PM – Interactive demo by Vincent Morisset (AATOAA), followed by a Q&A: The Resurrection of ZIG

2:25 PM – Conference by Christiane Paul (The New School, Whitney Museum of American Art), followed by a Q&A: Conserving Context: Approaches to Preserving Digital Art

2:50 PM – Conference by Caspar Sonnen (IDFA) and Erwin Verbruggen (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision): (Im)possible Approaches to Preserving Interactive Media

3:15 PM – Break

3:30 PM – Panel 1: HIGHRISE: A Case Study

Moderator: Sarah Wolozin (MIT Open Documentary Lab)
Speakers: Marianne Lévy-Leblond (ARTE France)
Marc Bramoullé (Ubisoft)
Hugues Sweeney (ONF)
Mark Beasley (Rhizome)
Katerina Cizek (MIT Open Documentary Lab)

4:30 PM – Conference by Jean Gagnon (Cinémathèque québécoise), followed by a Q&A: Memory Loss

4:55 PM – Panel 2: Policy, or Planning for Posterity
(Presented by Telefilm Canada)

Moderator: Julia Kaganskiy (The New Museum)
Speakers: Dr. Nancy Y. McGovern (MIT Libraries)
Janine Steele (ONF)
Chance Coughenour (Google Arts & Culture)
Monique Simard (SODEC)

5:55 PM – Recap by Catalina Briceño

6 PM – Summary of the day by Prof. William Uricchio (MIT Open Documentary Lab)

View all speakers biographies

Note that the conference will be held in English.

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