Tuesday 29th October 2013 — The SKOR Codex, an artwork designed as a lasting symbol of the preservation of cultural data in a non-digital format was presented to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, President and Co-Founder of the Open Data Institute (ODI) at the ODI Summit in London today by Dutch artists, La Société Anonyme.
The SKOR Codex is one of only eight books in existence designed to last 1000 years. They have been created by La Société Anonyme to help inform future generations about the diversity of European cultural life in years to come, when today’s computer systems are beyond recognition.
Printed as raw data, the books contain greetings in four languages, binary encoded images, and sound files selected to portray the diversity of life and culture at the Foundation for Art and Public Domain (SKOR) in Holland. They also contain samples of artworks from different artists and eras. Printed as raw data, the files are protected from bitrot, software decay and hardware failure by being transformed from magnetic transitions on a disk to ink on paper; the data will be safe for centuries. Instructions in a symbolic language explain the origins of the book and indicate how the content is to be decoded.
The SKOR Codex has been in-situ at the ODI since December 2012 where it forms part of the on-going Data as Culture programme. The other copies are distributed across the globe.
Gavin Starks, CEO of ODI said: “How do we preserve our digital culture as technology changes? Can you still read the emails you were sent 20 years ago? How will you pass down a digital photos and music to your grandchildren? In 1977 a snapshot of human culture was shot into space on the Voyager spacecraft: this book preserves a cultural record in a form that can be understood by our future terrestrial relatives, and embodies the principles of openness as the only mode of communication that persists.”
About the ODI: The Open Data Institute catalyses the evolution of open data culture to create economic, environmental, and social value. It unlocks supply, generates demand, creates and disseminates knowledge to address local and global issues. Founded by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the ODI is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, Limited by Guarantee company. It has secured £10 million over five years via the UK innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, $750,000 from global philanthropic investor Omidyar Network, and is working towards long-term sustainability through match funding and direct revenue
The SKOR Codex was submitted to the Open Data Institute (ODI) as part of the Data as Culture commission for data driven artwork. The ODI received over 80 submissions in two weeks from over 20 countries.
Image: Courtesy SKOR Codex