The Archive of Digital Art

As a pioneer in the field of Media Arts research, the ARCHIVE OF DIGITAL ART (ADA) has documented the rapidly evolving field of digital art since 1999. This research-oriented overview of works at the intersection of art, science, and technology has been developed in cooperation with international media artists, researchers and institutions as a collective project.


Since todays digital artworks are processual, ephemeral, interactive, multimedia-based, and fundamentally context dependent because of their different structure, they require a modified, or "expanded concept of documentation." We ascribe high importance to artistic inventions like innovative interfaces, displays or software.

2020 – 2024

Lehr- und Forschungsinfrastruktur für Digitale Künste an Hochschulen

Tool Development for Image Data Literacy: Understanding Digital Art with complex data analysis

In order to do justice to the broad spectrum and fast-moving nature of media art production in the context of archiving and scientific research, the projects LeFo (Infrastructures for Digital Arts Teaching and Research in Higher Education) and ImDaLi (Tool Development for Image Data Literacy: Understanding Digital Art with complex data analysis) set out to develop interactive and immersive virtual spaces optimized for media art. Both are focused on creating new prospects for the exploration of perception and the value of collections.

LeFo will develop and extend the Archive of Digital Art as a platform for research and teaching of themes emergent from the field of Media Art. In order to extend the platform as a teaching tool, the project will in addition to continuing to extend the ADA collection, focus on the incorporation of collaborative communications into the platform and develop and integrate visualizations of the archive’s content, themes, tools and practices as a research methodology.  Additionally, LeFo is developing Augmented Reality interfaces to the archive’s collection, thus investigating new paradigms for presenting and navigating digital collections. Most ambitiously it will also develop technical foundations for connecting disparate but thematically aligned online archives so that content is more directly discoverable and comparable across overlapping collections, reinforcing the value of each platform in the context of research and teaching themes in media art.  The LeFo project is closely affiliated with its partner project ImDaLi.

ImDaLi researches and designs digital tools for image databases with the aim of both improving the user experience when using archive platforms and testing different approaches to digital image analysis. To reach these goals, ImDaLi addresses two core topics within its research. Firstly, the controlled vocabulary of the Thesaurus, which already encompasses keyword-tags for the numerous artworks within ADA, is used for extensive analysis to explore visualization concepts that contribute to media art research. Furthermore, it will be explored if and how the Thesaurus could potentially enrich semantic web data on media art to further interconnection and integration among media art archives. Epistemological structures of archives however, often developed organically over time and are focused on their respective needs. Consequently, basic alignment of vocabularies anchored in a mutually accepted standard (like the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus) is a prerequisite for improving the accessibility of content across databases. Secondly, the LightBox tool already available to users on ADA is further developed for in depth image analysis. Starting from Aby Warburg's approach of comparative iconography, which focused on the analysis of semantic and visual connections between artworks, the LightBox first transferred this method into the digital age in 2015. Now it will be successively adapted to modern requirements for the analysis of contemporary media art, e.g., by implementing a state-of-the-art 3D viewing application allowing for diverse experiences of a work of art within the digital realm.  

Results produced within LeFo and ImDaLi are expected to support community building and closer networking between archives. Moreover, they strive to create novel forms of user experiences and knowledge extraction from ever-growing data collections that prove fruitful for the future of media art research. Findings of both projects will aim to reveal a higher impact of media art archiving and foster collaborative practices across educational institutions, artists, researchers and other players in the field. 

2013 – 2016

Meta-Thesaurus for Media Art Research  (AT.MAR) 

The Austrian Science Fund funded project “Interactive Archive and Meta-Thesaurus for Media Art Research (AT.MAR)” implemented social software into the database. The new web-based, cost-free instrument allows individuals to post material themselves.

With video documentations, technical data, artist statements, academic texts, artistic inventions, discussions as well as bibliographical information, exhibitions and events, the ARCHIVE OF DIGITAL ART is the most comprehensive resource in the field. It will contribute to the development of Media Art Research and the systematic preservation of the art of our time.

Editorial & Research Team

Founder of ADA, Concept & Project Lead / PI until June 2022:

Prof. Dr. habil. Dr. hc Oliver Grau, MAE

LeFo & ImDaLi Project Lead July 2022 - February 2024

Led by.phil. Viola Rühse, M.A.

Team 2022-February 2024

Carl Philipp Hoffmann


Carla Milena Zamora Campos, M.A.
Alejandro Quiñones Roa, B.A.


Mag. Laura Ettel (Image Analysis)
Alexander Wöran, M.A. (Thesaurus & Taxonomy)
Michael Perl, M.A. (Data Visualisation)
Isabella Iskra (Research Assistant)
Fabian Schober (Tool Development Serendipity)
Paolo Schmidt (Tool Development Mnemosyne)


Max Resch, BSc.


Center for Image Science

Department for Arts and Cultural Studies
University for Continuing Education Krems
Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30
3500 Krems, Austria

Partners & Cooperations

LeFo Project Partners

Kunstuniversiät Linz, Interface Cultures

Die Angewandte Wien, Digitale Kunst


ISEA Symposium Archive

AURORA ARchive / HTW Berlin


Universität Graz, Die Angewandte Wien