Web Residency 2022

The ONB Labs ran the second Web Residency for the Creative Europe project “Open Digital Libraries for Creative Users” (ODL) in spring. The results can now be explored in the ONB Labs virtual Artspace.

For the Web Residency 2022 we invited artists to engage creatively with two very distinct datasets of the ONB Labs, namely the collection of historical issues of the Wiener Zeitung and aerial photographs from the 1930s. We collaborated with two curators, Heike Fiedler and Seth Weiner. Both have different backgrounds, Heike a more text- and performance based approach, Seth a strong digital background and an elaborate view on what he calls “the politics of the browser”.

We are proud to present the artworks of the two residents, Sînziana Păltineanu and Ida Westh-Hansen.

It was a great experience to be part of the ONB Labs Web Residency and to see the overwhelming participation in its open call from artists all over the world. Among this big amount of amazing proposals, I am happy our, the jury's commonly discussed decision fell on Sînziana Păltineanu and Ida Westh-Hansen: the result of their Web Residency, the insertion of ONB’s archive into contemporary art is just breathtaking. Have a look! (Heike Fiedler)

Web residency 2022 title image

Thunder and lightning

Sînziana Păltineanu selected snippets from the Wiener Zeitung as starting point for an “anachronistic, limping walk on the imagined corridors of the newspaper”. Sînziana arranged a multi-lingual storyline to a pathway, that unfolds with the user's interaction. Every click opens a new passage, every new passage an unforeseeable junction of narratives. The reader comes across fragments of digitized newspaper items while “strolling through layers of text”, across the roll of the dice or “eodem ants”. Click yourself into imagination with Sînziana's “Thunder and lightning”!

Boon Scrolling

The moment of infinite exploration that lies in the gesture of the scroll becomes tangible at the tip of your finger on the scrolling wheel interacting with Ida Westh-Hansen's artwork “Boon Scrolling”. “How can one explore a digital archive [ . . . ]?” the artist asks and invites us into the explorative impetus that must have driven the makers of the aerial photographs Ida used for her work of art. She literally cut out shapes of landscapes and combined them with artifacts taken from her own personal archive. The collage is assembled contingently with every interaction forming a “cooperation between the artist, the algorithm and the scroller”. Let yourself be taken away!


Within the frame of the first Web Residency the ONB Labs Artspace was developed, an online platform for the presentation of the works created in the course of the Web Residencies. It is also intended to function as a virtual exhibition space for future projects at the ONB Labs. The conception and development of the Artspace took place in close cooperation with artists and curators of the Web Residencies. Its intention is to allow for an immersive experience of the art works. They should be given as much space as possible and the attention of the visitors should be distracted as little as possible by navigation elements. The Artspace is therefore marked purely by a narrow frame and the navigation has been restricted to a subtle point. Both elements, point and frame, react in their appearance to the content. The flexible area of the Artspace will be developed further for future projects and might change in its design for different contributions. As a space for artistic experiments with the digital holdings of the ONB Labs, it will be open to all users.

ONB Labs is dedicated to experimentation and making its collections accessible for creative use. For previous examples of experiments working with the ONB Labs data see: https://labs.onb.ac.at/. The web residency programme is part of the international research project “Open Digital Libraries for Creative Use (ODL)”, in collaboration with the national libraries of the Netherlands and Estonia. ODL is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. We thank the vienna poetry school (schule für dichtung) for supporting the planning of our Web Residency 2022.