The need for salvaging
salvaged.work began with us making the winning bid for the catalogue raisonné of the Danish painter Asger Jorn and the subsequent action to digitize the catalogue, which had long been out of print. Further research into Jorn’s œuvre revealed many works that had been published in limited number and had since become scarce. salvaged.work’s first idea was to digitize and rescue these rare works from the confines of their physical copies and share them with a new online audience, but has since expanded to include other works that are similarly being salvaged from restrictive sources.
Libraries, archives, museums, and collectors reinforce the artificial scarcity of a published work when they limit means of access. When a work is accessible through reading room use only, the experience requires a physical presence. In a modern digital-first society where the need for physicality is declining, institutions need to embrace this change and digitize their collections. These efforts are slowed by copyright restrictions and the sheer volume of published works to be digitized that have never been released beyond analogue form, leading to the need for intervention.
The voluntary dedication of citizen archivists to bring these works to the internet is invaluable. The permanence of a digitized work transcends the decay of paper, the warping of vinyl, and the ruin of institutions.
salvaged.work uses the Internet Archive as the digital repository for these works, so that they may exist even after this archive has disappeared.