Ubu@50 — 50 Ubus: A Virtual Conference

Felix Stalder, Sanja Bojanić, Srećko Horvat, Aleksndra Savanović, Nick Thurston, Alessandro Ludovico, Dušan Barok, Olga Goriunova, Cristóbal Sciutto, Marcell Mars and Tomislav Medak reflect on the events before 1996, the year when Kenneth Goldsmith started Ubu, the developments since and the projections until 2046, when Ubu turns 50.

UbuWeb (ubu.com) is arguably the largest web archive of avant-garde art. In 2021 Ubu turned 25. For about the same time the Internet has been a mass medium on a global scale, the US American conceptual artist Kenneth Goldsmith has alone, using the simplest HTML code, collected, organized and made available to anyone otherwise inaccessible works of experimental cinema, video art, contemporary theatre and concrete music. Years before museums and archives had started to digitize the collections from their vaults, Ubu made possible the discovery of works that have played an important role in cultural history, or could play that role in the future. However, in the present times of digital platforms, dataveillance and copyright, control valuable archives such as Ubu can disappear overnight. In 2024 Ubu has ceased adding new items to its collection and transformed into an archive preserved hopefully in perpetuity.

With Ubu@50 we wanted to open a debate on what can we envision as acts and developments that would allow for Ubu and other autonomous digital archives to persist and thrive for another quarter of a century. What futures could we imagine for the avant-garde starting from several processes that define our present moment: the ubiquity of digital infrastructures, the intensive application of artificial intelligence, and the privileging of technological responses to social and environmental crises? And in turn, what futures can we imagine for societies starting from the resilient use of technologies, radical avant-garde gestures and practices of commoning that have emerged over the last quarter of a century from the critical media cultures?

The virtual conference was held in Moisé Palace in Cres, April 6-10, 2024.

Concept: Marcell Mars & Tomislav Medak

Cinematography, sound and editing: Ivor Glavaš

We wish to thank: Kenneth Goldsmith, Sanja Bojanić, Andreja Malovoz, Tina Perić Lukačević, University of Rijeka

“Ubu@50 – 50 Ubus” was organized within Multimedia Institute’s “Public Library” programme. It was developed within the “Peripheral Visions – towards a trans(l)national publishing culture” project, a partnership between EIPCP, Kontrapunkt, Kuda.org, Kulturtreger, Maska and Multimedia Institute, funded by the European Union. “Public library” is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia.


Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.