Still Water, a New Media program of the University of Maine at Orono, USA, was founded in 2002 by Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito to promote network art and culture. Although the program's title derives from the name of a river that flows alongside the physical facility (Stillwater), "still water" also connotes the values electronic and cultural networks need to thrive.
These include transparency, open access to ideas and code; variability, the capacity to morph into new configurations as the need arises; and stillness, a rare quality in today's frenetic culture but one demanded by any creative endeavor. Still Water is not a center--for a successful network has none--but a medium primed for the transmission of multiple waves of culture.
Still Water has received a 2007 NEH grant for its work as lead organization of Forging the Future: New Tools for Variable Media Preservation. This consortium of museums and heritage organizations is devising and building tools to safeguard digital culture from the ravages of time.
The tools produced by Forging the Future are based on the variable media paradigm, which concentrates on the behaviors, rather than solely the material, of contemporary artifacts made in ephemeral mediums. The variable media paradigm asks creators themselves, rather than just technicians and conservators, to imagine ways to outwit the obsolescence that often besets technological and other ephemeral art forms.
There are three practical and complementary tools that will be developed in this project: the Variable Media Questionnaire (VMQ) contains metadata necessary to migrate, re-create, and preserve variable media objects; the Digital Asset Management Database (DAMD) manages digital objects or documentation files and related metadata; and the Franklin Furnace Database (FFDB) is for cataloging physical archives of arts organizations.
Please visit the website: Still Water