(Excerpt from 'The Whitney to Relaunch Douglas Davis’s The World’s First Collaborative Sentence' posted on Whitney Museum of American Art. Found here http://whitney.org/file_columns/0004/0783/douglasdavis.pdf)
The Whitney Museum in New York houses one of the world's foremost collections of modern and contemporary American art.
After a year-long project to restore a visionary work of Internet art, the Whitney has relaunched Douglas Davis's The World’s First Collaborative Sentence (1994). Comprised of more than 200,000 posts in a dozen languages, the Sentence is a living document of the Internet's evolution, capturing an early era of online communication. The work is now viewable in both a historical and a live version, to which visitors can contribute again for the first time in years, at whitney.org.
“The Sentence, as plain as it may look today, is a truly visionary project in that it anticipated today's collaborative online writing environments,” says Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney “The project posed a few of the core technological and philosophical questions that the conservation of early net art has to address -- how do we preserve the ephemeral nature of the Web and should we? The decision to create two versions of the project is an unusual preservation strategy, enabled by the potential of born-digital art to create multiple identical copies. The project creates one potential model for the preservation of early net-based art, which is rapidly disintegrating.”
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(Image: Douglas Davis, The World’s First Collaborative Sentence, 1994–, conserved 2012, HTML and CGI script. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Barbara Schwartz in honor of Eugene M. Schwartz 95.253. Originally commissioned by the Lehman College Art Gallery, The City University of New York, with the assistance of Gary Welz, Robert Schneider, and Susan Hoeltzel)