Project in the European Commission’s support programme Culture 2000

The project vector – European Art Archives was started in 1999 as a cooperation of various archives and exhibition spaces. The goals were to establish a decentralised network of stored archive content based on methods of scholarly standardisation, and the installation of a central, internet-accessible interface for querying locally-run databases. basis wien acted as initiator and project manager.


From the beginning, the working group was based on the view that art cannot be documented by a summary listing of materials. It saw all actors participating in artistic production and distribution processes as vectors that point to other actors: from the individual production of an art work through the personal and local surroundings of an art gallery and media presence to presentation at international festivals (such as documenta, biennials, etc.). Each of these manifestations represents a vectorial quantity in a space that it on the one hand shapes and on the other hand shapes it. This complex and dynamic structure can be represented by vectors and made available as a publicly accessible database.

The focus was on the working out of scholarly and technological foundations for the development of materials on contemporary art in variously structured institutions.

The results of this basic research were then published in a handbook: Archiving the Present – Gegenwart dokumentieren, (ed.) Lioba Reddeker, Wien: basis wien, 2007.

Out of the collaboration also arose a first model of an interface, which was developed by basis wien together with two Swiss guest partners, the Kunstbulletin and the Swiss Institute for Art Research SIK: the European art portal EAN.

The vector project was supported by the European Commission as part of its Culture 2000 programme from 2000 to 2003. The following were participating institutions:

# Consortium partners

Archives de la Critique d’Art, Rennes
documenta Archiv, Kassel
John Hansard Gallery of the University of Southampton
Museion – Museum for Modern Art, Bozen
Central Archive of the International Art Trade, Bonn

# Associated partners

Research Center for Artist’s Publications WESERBURG, Bremen
Academic Research Centre of the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague
Contemporary Arts Centre, Skopje
Institute for Modern Art e.V., Nuremberg
Kunstbulletin, Zürich
Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana
Ludwig Múzeum, Budapest
Neue Galerie Graz / Univeralmuseum Joanneum, Graz
AIT – Applied Information Technology Research LLC, Graz