Computer-based art is among the most variable and ephemeral of art forms. Computer-based works may take the form of Web sites, interactive environments, DVD-ROMs, or artist-developed software run from common desktop computers; others are created for mobile phones, iPods, and PDAs. Computer art practices may seem to confound the very notion of collecting art. Digital technologies, including media files, hardware and operating systems, are rapidly evolving and prone to obsolescence. Artists generate computer-based projects that can be mutated, replicated and re-circulated on the Web. These challenging conditions and unconventional strategies should not dissuade collectors from engaging with these dynamic new artworks. As artists increasingly reinvent the meaning and context of digital technologies, new standards and vocabularies for collecting and preserving these artworks are being developed.
This section outlines issues relating to collecting computer-based art, including best practices; planning; equipment and technical issues; budgets; and answers to basic but essential questions. Also included are interviews with key figures, including artists and curators, and a selection of important articles and case studies.