IMAL - Bruxelles
19 / 03 / 2015 – 26 / 04 / 2015

The floppy cd-rom revolution

In 2015 iMAL, in collaboration with PACKED, the Flemish Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage, will present a series of exhibitions, workshops and symposiums on Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age. The exhibition Welcome to the Future! is the first event of this program and highlights the short life of born-digital art.

Welcome to the Future! proposes a historical selection of art & culture cd-roms and electronic artworks published on floppies, mostly produced in the 90s. It presents early pioneering works in new media and digital arts, conveying many visions and utopias around the upcoming digital world. It shows the dynamism of pre-web electronic publishing, featuring remarkable experimentations in hypertext and hypermedia narration and documentation, in User Interface design before the normative ergonomy of the web and its dotcoms, in the aesthetic of interactivity, in playable interactions between sounds and images, in generative art and digital literature.

Their platform was the Personal Computer which was becoming the ubiquitous computing appliance that prepared today’s digital world.


Welcome to the Future! is not only about the history of 20-years-old new media art, but also about the future of today’s born-digital content. Cd-rom and floppy artworks are emblematic examples of the preservation problem of born-digital content. Playing these 20-years-old contents on contemporary machines is already impossible now, and will be as well within 5 to 10 years for any software-based art that is produced today (from digital artworks to ebooks, apps and webdocs).

Without substantial R&D effort in preservation methodologies and technologies, without political decisions regarding software publishers, main internet actors and IPR issues, without a profound analysis of the roles and actions of museums for born-digital content, born-digital art will soon be dead, lost for future generations. This is why iMAL is initiating a new R&D project, the Resurrection Lab.

Artists and publishers

Thanks to collectors, artists and media art organizations in Europe, USA, Japan and Australia, Welcome to the Future! will show a selection of around 50 cd-roms and floppies (including some rare items) focused on 3 themes: (1) visions, utopias and politics of the upcoming digital world, (2) new artistic digital expressions and (3) hypermedia documents on contemporary arts. The works will be presented with their original packaging (box, booklet,…) and the visitors will be able to play with them on vintage computers or on today hardware with emulation software.


Artists: Laurie Anderson, Jean-Pierre Balpe, Bill Barminski, Pierre Bastien & Karel Doing, Zoe Beloff, S.Bilous & F.Lagny & B.Piacenza, Simon Biggs, Jean-Louis Boissier, Philippe Bootz, Gareth Browyn & Peter Sugarman, Andy Cameron, Marc Canter, Leon Cmielewski & Josephine Starrs, David Cunningham & Stephen Partridge, Linda Dement, Antoine Denize, Masaki Fujihata, Michel François, Jim Gasperini & Tennessee R. Dixon, Peter Gabriel, Alain Geronnez, Clive Gillman, Sophie Greenfield & Giles Rollestone, Paul Groot & Jans Possel, Graham Harwood, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Troy Innocent, Jodi, Tamara Laï, George Legrady, Jaime Levy, Marita Liulia, John Maeda, Antonio Muntadas, The Residents, Antoine Schmitt & Vincent Epplay, Keith Seward & Eric Swenson (Necro Enema Amalgamated), Mari Soppela & Leo Anemaet, Alberto Sorbelli, John Thackara, Florian Thalhofer, Suzanne Treister, Gerald Van der Kaap, Die Veteranen, Romain Victor-Pujebet…

Publishers: Centre Pompidou (FR), Digitalogue (JP), Ellipsis (UK), Gallimard (JP), Gas as Interface (JP), Hyptique (FR), Mediamatic (NL), Necro Enema Amalgamated (USA), Voyager (USA), ZKM (DE)…