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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  2001

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING 2001

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Subject:

Re: Curating

From:

"Thomas Bell, Psy. D." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Curating digital art - www.newmedia.sunderland.ac.uk/crumb/

Date:

Sun, 22 Apr 2001 22:05:06 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (192 lines)

Sarah,
     Your comment on 'mass and velocity, impetus and speed' strikes me as
worth comment, together with the question of place and permanance.

     The fGId project I' working on began, for example, on a bulletin board,
the impetus has come from many individuals, and it will soon have an impact
inWashington and England which in turn will have an impact on a lot of
doctors and patients.  Much of the material will probably disappear unless
there is a permanent place for it to be housed (a website and emails is a
different collection than a pile of letters and petitions)

     The Menezes tribute began in Brazil and had an immediate impetus from
an email from Wisconsin to Buffalo to an email list which eventually
elicited art works internationally (leading in turn to journal special
editions and exhibitions in several countries).  When completed (which might
happen at or during the international Epoetry 2001 meeting going on as I
write) it will be housed in Buffalo.

Reiner's project is another interesting example of impetus and velocity as
if I remember right the work was gathered in about a month's time from all
over the world.

tom bell
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sarah Cook" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2001 4:03 AM
Subject: Re: Curating


> Dear Grant and List,
> I've been attending the Momentum workshops organised by Digital Arts
> Development Agency in Bristol. It is about 'mass and
> velocity, impetus and speed', which means it is about how to create a
weighty
> enough new media art project that when you launch it into the
> world it travels with intent -- surely a goal of activist networked
practice.
> The discussions seem less focussed on institutional curatorial matters as
on
> the independent, small, artist-led productions that are currently being
> developed. In relation to this and in light of some of our discussions,
I'd
> like to return to Grant's questions, as I think they are exactly the right
ones
> to be asking.
>
> I would say (with my usual optimism) that, yes, curators are interested in
> net-based activist work. However, for different reasons, as no two
curators are
> alike.
> For instance, those curators who call themselves producers or
commissioners, or
> who have worked on time-based events such as performance art -- and I
think
> here of Jon Bewley and Simon Herbert of Locus+ (a site-specific art agency
run
> out of a very messy office in Newcastle, not a gallery:
www.locusplus.org.uk)
> -- might be interested because of the art's engagement with a time and a
place
> (the context _is_ the work) not because of the particular technology or
medium
> it uses (the net). However, on the other hand, a similar argument could be
made
> for the inclusion of rTMark's etoy project in the last Whitney Biennial --
> there the prioritised context was that of the web and business on the web
> rather than the context / content of the specific company involved and
what
> each company did.
>
> My concern is that with the technology involved -- the web -- curators new
to
> this work might not be able to separate those different contexts, or, more
> problematically, separate the medium from the content from the context.
>
> To address each of Grant's points in turn:
>
> > In some ways it seems like the pedagogical,
> > conservative/archival, and publicity functions that museum-based
curating
> > typically performs are made redundant by some net-based projects (e.g.
> > RTMark),
>
> Perhaps not so... or at least, i know some museum-based curators are
trying to
> redefine what they do (pedagogy, conservation, archiving, publicity) in
order
> not to be out of the loop of contemporary art production in its myriad
formats.
> As Peter Weibel puts it in his interview (on the crumb site), the net
needs
> curators because they can a) show you where to find the work and b) put it
into
> a chronology, or a context of other art work, or into a theoretical
framework.
> I suspect that rTMark is busy enough just realising their projects to
worry
> about how they might fit into a history of art activism... that may be why
they
> have a curator as part of their team. (FYI: be on the lookout for a show
about
> activism and breaking the law which includes the Barbie Liberation
Organisation
> at the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut).
>
> > to the extent that 1) they often don't assume the same kind of gap
> > between the museum-goer and "advanced" art that is the basis for
wall-texts,
> > explanatory catalog essays, etc.
>
> this question about the assumption of audience is one that I'd like to see
more
> discussion about. Do museum curators write texts because they assume there
is a
> gap between the public and the work that needs filling? Probably, but more
> likely they write the text to further research and knowledge about the
work,
> and to justify why they've put it there. And if a museum is a place to go
to
> learn about art, why shouldn't there be as part of that experience
somewhere to
> get more information about the art and the artist? That, at least, seems
> obvious. Someone had to have written a wall-text about rTMark's
presentation in
> the biennial. That said, I would be disappointed if an activist artist did
> assume their audience to be of one kind or another, and I feel this way
about
> all artforms -- how boring would art be if each piece was made with a
> particular viewer in mind?! This becomes even more problematic with new
media,
> where artists are forced to consider, as part of their conception of an
idea
> for a work of art, how long it might last technologically and what to do
when
> the browser no longer supports it. Perhaps some artists on the list could
> respond -- do you consider who you're making a work for, and how long the
work
> will last when you have an idea for a piece?
>
> > 2) they can be easily "archived" without
> > capital-intensive storage space
>
> yes, but who will do or does that? Let's say rTMark's piece gets x number
of
> articles printed in the popular press - will someone keep a file of them
for
> future reference? Here a curator's job seems the least unchanged from
> traditional practices.
>
> > 3) they can be cheaply publicized on the
> > net.
>
> The publicity end of a curator's job is, in my opinion, a new one. In fact
it
> is one which the marketing department of the museum has put on the curator
(see
> the conversation with Julie Lazar also on the crumb site about this). A
> museum's role is, in part, to bring art to new audiences and what is worth
> dicussing is to what degree they do in fact do this and if they do it
through
> publicity and marketing or through programming.
>
> > Aside from using the accumulated economic resources of a museum to
> > commission net-based activist works (bearing in mind the potential
problems
> > that might raise), what role does the curator play here?
>
> A word that has come up often this weekend in Bristol is "catalyst" as
that is
> common whether you act as a curator, a producer, an agent or a broker of
new
> media work. I think the Tate Mongrel commission (which Matthew Gansallo
> discusses in his interview on crumb) is a good an interesting example of a
> potential curatorial role in regards to net-based activist works. Through
> commissioning, curators can open up their institutions to a more vibrant
> institutional-critique.
>
> Activist art in particular aside, part of the discussion around
> small-organisation models of curating/production in the new media world at
> Momentum has focussed on the topic of interactivity and collaboration --
where
> partners in the project are "mutually influential" - and it's clear who is
the
> partner exchanging knowledge and skills, rather than who is the client
> providing services.
> Perhaps if we think in a more concrete manner about being "mutually
> influential" in regards to activist-based art we might get a little
further...
>
> Sarah

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