Humanities and Arts

From Visions of Technological Progress to Technological Ruins: The Swedish Millennium Monument and the Challenges of Preservation of Digital Public Art

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On December 20, 1999, the Swedish national monument, celebrating the turn of the millennium, was inaugurated by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf (Fig. 1).1 The monument was a collaboration between artists, architects, and engineers, and it was erected on behalf of the Millennium Committee set up by the Swedish government. The commission to realize the monument was given to Chalmers University of Technology along with a request to create something “permanent with an everlasting value.” 2 The committee paid particular attention to the university’s outstanding research in digital technology and, over the course of one year, artists, scientists, architects, and engineers collaborated in constructing the monument. The vice-chancellor of Chalmers implied that the working process represented an ideal example of how to conduct research in the future. He particularly emphasized the project’s interdisciplinary art, science, and technology collaborations, conducted in close cooperation with both the City of Gothenburg and industry.3