The idea of the Mobile Archive surfaced during several conversations on the idea of bringing the Israeli Center for Digital Art’s Video Archive to the Kunstverein in Hamburg. The question was how it could function out of its original context – how to make the archive dynamic and valuable to the local audiences at both ends. This question led curators Eyal Danon, Galit Eilat and Eva Birkenstock to the decision to open the archive to local art contributions made by the host institute abroad.
Starting in Hamburg in 2007, the Mobile Archive began its journey when each of its stations contribute artworks to the original collection and send it along in its extended version. At the end of its route, it will return back to Holon.
The project consists of three main components:
1. Opening of the entire archive to the public at large: each visitor will be given the opportunity to selected materials s/he wishes to view. The archive will be presented in a video library format, where each visitor will be able to choose freely from hundreds of existing video works, and view the select pieces under gallery viewing conditions.
2. Presentation of video programs curated by the Israeli Center for Digital Art, and by curators, artists, art students, and others. Some of the programs have already been presented several times; others will make their debut here.
3. 25 selected works by the host organization will be added to the original collection and by the end of the tour the expanded archive will return to Holon.
The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon has been operating an archive for video art and digital media. The archive contains more than 2,500 titles, including works by Israeli and International artists who have exhibited at the center, and works by artists who have contributed works over the years. Following many requests by local Israeli scholars, students, and art lovers we decided to transform the collection into a video archive open to the public.+ The archive is intended primarily to represent local contemporary artistic practice. It is distinguished by a concentration of local and regional (Near East) work and by creating work contacts with similar bodies worldwide based on the exchange of information, knowledge, and work collections, enabling the expansion of the archive and the promotion of Israeli artists abroad.
In the past years we have toiled to catalogue and transform it into a convenient viewing and research library, open to curators, artists, art students and teachers. At the same time, in order to expand the collection, we have been approaching various artists and asking them to send copies of their works to the archive. The appeal is made through the websites of the Israeli Center for Digital Art and Ma’arav (an online magazine for art, culture and media), as well as directly to artists engaged in the field.
+Laying the grounds for the Mobile Archive, The Archive Project: An Open Archive for Video Art and Digital Media was open to the public at the Israeli Center for Digital Art from September 26th – November 11th, 2006. This is also a good opportunity to mention the project Serial Cases, which could be seen as an even earlier strain of the same institutional exchange model. Its first stage was an exchange Video Screening Program among different cultural and art centers. The expansion of the geographic boundaries of the network from the Middle East towards the area of the Balkans was seen to have the potential of revealing additional modes of information about the regions.