Networks of care

In her new book, in the chapter ‘Networks of care’, Annet Dekker also briefly mentions the project of mine which you may or may not be aware of.

Collecting and Conserving Net Art: Moving beyond Conventional Methods
by Annet Dekker, Routledge, 2018

Chapter: Networks of care

“[…] oµ4× a ‘performative action’ by Igor Štromajer who over a period of four years (from 2016 to 2020) asks a group of people to keep safe several encrypted files, which he randomly selected from his earlier project Expunction (2011) in which he deleted many of his net artworks from his server. Looking for other modes of distributing, sharing and experiencing the potential art which is stuck and compressed in those removed files, Štromajer is organising his own ‘network of care’.45 These works afford new modes of active engagement and creative use, and demonstrate a more recent way of dealing with circulation, in which the distributive effects are intentional if not foreseeable.

Although important questions remain – for example, how shifting constellations and power relations will affect future prolongation efforts of the artwork, or who will be leading or even responsible for safekeeping and tracking the documentation that is distributed across several caretakers – it is clear that these networks can operate without the structures of centralized archives and authorized custodians, which are present in most museums. For a ‘network of care’ to succeed outside of an institutional framework, or to become effective as a tool for transformation, it ideally has to consist of several characteristics. These can be traced by looking at how a network gives agency to individuals, instead of answering the question of how individuals create networks. A ‘network of care’ is based on a transdisciplinary attitude and a combination of professionals and non-experts who manage or work on a shared project. To enable the creation and administration of a project, the transmission of information is helped by a common mode of sharing where everyone in the group has access to all the documents or archives. Ideally, it would be an open system, or a dynamic set of tools that is used and cared for, where people could add, edit and manage information and track changes that are made. Such a system can be monitored by the network. An added bonus is that if someone leaves, the project can continue because the content and information is always accessible and part of a larger network. Such a structure allows people to take control of a shared project, thus obtaining meaning from their ‘investments’. To be able to share information and benefit from experience and insight gained elsewhere, for example, in other networks dealing with similar issues, a network should be dynamic such that individuals can easily move between networks and projects can be merged or split into separate smaller or more specialized groups. […]”

45 For more information see Sakrowski and Štromajer (2017):

Sakrowski, Robert and Igor Štromajer. 2017. ‘EXPUNCTION. Deleting Net Art Works. A Conversation.’ In Lost and Living (in) Archives. Collectively Shaping New Memories, edited by Annet Dekker. Amsterdam: Valiz, pp. 159–72.


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