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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  2002

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING 2002

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Subject:

Re: possible off-topic but relevant

From:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 7 Jan 2002 09:40:44 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (141 lines)

Murphy wrote:
>Since you don't name (and I don't recognize) the museum I can only write in
>generalities. Your list of "the usuals" shows you are definately not an
>American artist. Most US art museums are woefully underfunded and
>increasingly they are adopting corporate models to survive. So, these are
>perks granted to upper-level executive, not the grunt workforce, artists.
-----
The institution in question and the show in particular is funded by a
number of significant regional and national sources within the US and
appears reasonably well funded by US standards...certainly well enough to
be able to pay fees to all the artists and to be obliged to do so. By the
"usuals" I mean that the installation artists (and most of the net based
one's as well) are well established and show up regularly in both US and
international surveys of new media art. Whether that makes them part of an
"executive"...I don't think so. Most of these artists (like you and myself)
follow a non-commercial model of practice (eg: they do not employ a model
based on "selling" their work). You can actually be well known in the
artworld and still have a near-zero income situation. I am familiar with
the model you are using Murph and both admire and respect it...although I
would not expect it would suit all artists.

I didn't go into details of the show or institution as I didn't think it
relevant. If I was to do that it would suggest I was trying to embarrass
them into a response...which is not my intention. What I would like is an
engagement with the issue, a debate. If the institution concerned is at all
knowledgable of the field we are in, and at all connected, I am sure they
will respond in some form at some point in the future.

>Since Christiane Paul of the Whitney responded to your post previously I'll
>do a little minor venting about the fact that she included links to several
>projects of mine in her Whitney ArtPort site without asking me.
-----
I get this list in digested form and have not seen Christiane Paul's
post...which is a bit confusing. I would have thought posts would be
digested chronologically. I will go search the web archive to see what I
can find...I've read her post now...and what she says is all exemplary -
but perhaps Christiane might clarify matters in relation to the Artport
thing you mention, just to foster the discussion. Also, whilst I did not
intend this thread to focus on financial matters I do not think it is
unreasonable for artists to expect to be paid for their work being included
in shows. If an institution cannot afford the fees then they cannot afford
the show.

My problem
>isn't being paid for it but that those sites have deteriorated for various
>reasons and I no longer consider them to be linkable. Had the Whitney
>bothered to aske me I would have proposed a new strategy more in line with
>my current focus. Knowing Christiane, I know it is mostly a matter of lack
>of time and resources to do that but it was an assumption on her part that
>her focus (and the Whitney's) is my focus. That's why in earlier discussions
>of "virtual museums" I emphasised negotiation between artists and
>institutions and the need for someone to act in between. The curator, no
>matter what her ideal may be, always has to stand before the exhibitions
>committee (or something like that) and present her exhibition plans and I
>have the utmost sympathy for a curator who tries to explain someone like me
>to them.
-----
I agree with all this. Like you I have worked on both sides of the
artist/curator divide, and also in inbetween territories that remain
(happily) ill-defined. My attitude, no matter what my role, is that those
involved are in a collaborative relationship and that whilst there will
always be differences in agendas it is the responsibility of both to agree
on the principles and objectives of whatever it is they are planning. If it
is not possible to come to an agreement, or if one of the parties breaches
an agreement , then the working relationship should cease.

>Simon, make a stink. Offer some protocols for curators to follow in the
>future with regards to linking and suggest they offer some of their own. In
>other words, negotiate. One of my goals this year is to create new
>contractural agreements between artists and institutions for cases like this
>and the more imput, the better.
-----
As I said above, it is not my objective to embarrass or attack the
institution in question. I do not see that I would gain much by that route.
Mind you...there might be others (who do know of the institution involved)
that have a slightly different attitude to me and are only to happy to
expose them. The curators approach to this particular show is not atypical
and so it is my feeling that the prime concern here is a discussion of the
principles involved...on a list where both artists and curators are present.

Michael Alstad wrote:
>Im not sure what the situation is in the US but in Canada artist run centres
>and publicly funded art organisations must pay CARFAC (Canadian Artists
>Representation) fees to each artist included in their programme (including
>net.art projects). At Year Zero One even though we dont necessary 'host' a
>site on our server we still pay net artists a fee for linking their work as
>part of our exhibition.
-----
As I mention above...the institution in question seems to be funded by
major sources. I would have thought that this would oblige them to pay
fees...but like you I am unfamiliar with the US system.

>As far as linking sites to our media art directory...this is a free service
>where individuals or institutions have requested a link or we mutually
>exchange links. There's been some cases where we add important sites which we
>feel are of interest and beneficial to the community but this is obviously not
>in an exhibition context.
-----
That's fair enough...although I would suggest that it is only polite to
inform artists that you are linking to their site and to be prepared to
de-link if that is their wish.

However, the net is not something one can control. Anybody can link to your
website. The net is built of these links and it is in this unregulated
nature that much of the character of the net emerges. I wouldn't want to
see a situation where people could legally exercise control over who can
link to them. This would be to the detriment of artists and activists
everywhere. I am only arguing that where a person or institution is linking
and they are professionally involved in the field in some way that they
should take a professional approach and deal with those they are linking
with in a similarly professional manner.

>If the institution is a major museum I would assume they are receiving federal
>funding and therefore you should receive an artist fee...then again it is the
>US so you may have to do a bit of research since their cultural funding is
>quite different than Canada and Europe.
-----
The institution is question is in receipt of federal funding...but I am not
aware of how much. As I say above, the exact details are not relevant to
the discussion. It is a matter of principles.

best

Simon



Simon Biggs

[log in to unmask]
http://www.littlepig.org.uk/
The Great Wall of China @ http://www.greatwall.org.uk/
Babel @ http://www.babel.uk.net/

Research Professor (Digital Media)
Art and Design Research Centre
School of Cultural Studies
Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield, UK
http://www.shu.ac.uk/

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