How deep is your source ?
Within the realm of archiving and conservation, free and open licenses are seen as a positive additional tool to make the preservation of digital art more feasible. It is undeniable that they have an overall positive effect, they do however have a problematic way of dealing with the definition of source code in an artistic context. The lingo used in such licenses stems from the world of software and despite its adaptation to cultural works, it still hasn't gotten rid of the binary nature of its origin. As a consequence when the license requires the publication of sources, the «source code» of a work of art is often defined as its modifiable textual representation. While this perfectly fits a particular use and production of art, for instance so-called remix culture, it is questionable whether this helps the conservation of artworks. Solely relying on the license requirement is not enough. Each artwork requires a different understanding of what source code is in order to make it truly accessible in the context of conservation. We will examine the issues at hand by looking at different layers of what can be considered the source of a work of art. So, how deep is your source?
Aymeric Mansoux (FR) is an artist, musician and media researcher. In 2003, he founded GOTO10 with Thomas Vriet, a non profit organization and artist collective, with the goal to promote the use and support of free software in electronic music and media art creation. Aymeric has been active in the collective until 2010 and initiated several projects such as: make art‚ a yearly international festival for software artists and musicians using and writing free software; puredyne‚ a popular live GNU/Linux distribution for media art and design and the FLOSS + Art publication, the first collection of essays on the use of free/open software in digital art production. Since 2009, he is core tutor and co-supervisor of study for the networked media branch of the Media Design and Communication Master of the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam (NL). Aymeric is also a PhD student at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, researching online art and design communities, free culturelicenses and distributed collaboration. His latest project is a Facebook interactive fiction that investigate and highlight privacy, ownership and identity issues surrounding proprietary commercial social networks.