Dragan Espenschied (1975, Germany) is a media artist, home computer folk musician and digital culture researcher and conservator living in New York City. Starting out as a net activist in the late 1990’s, he created several online interventions concerned with digital power structures and live network traffic analysis/manipulation together with Alvar Freude. In his artistic career, Espenschied focuses on the historization of Digital Culture from the perspective of computer users rather than hackers, developers or “inventors”. Together with net art pioneer Olia Lialina he has been creating a significant body of work concerned with how to represent and write a culture-centric history of the networked age.
Since 2011, they together have been restoring and culturally analyzing 1 TB of GeoCities data, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Espenschied worked with the transmediale festival’s archive and the Vilem Flusser Archive to conecptually and technically integrate large scale emulation while working as a researcher at the University of Freiburg and the University of Applied Arts in Karlsruhe. Publications include papers on large scale curation of complex digital artifacts, emulation and digital culture, the influential reader Digital Folklore as well as musical releases on Aphex Twin’s label Rephlex and several underground/net labels, performing and lecturing in between raves and museums in Europe and the United States. Since April 2014, he is leading the Digital Conservation Program at Rhizome.