Simon Biggs wrote:
> Josephine's attempt to distinguish between the net and
> computing is valuable in potentially illuminating some of those pursuant
> issues, although I feel that any heirarchical value she seeks to place upon
> them can only be subjective and of relevance only within a Dietzian TAN.
Ah! Pots and kettles! Glad to see you are so objective! Will you stop
labeling me as if I were thinking more hierarchically then anybody else
too? Dear me.
I hope we can slowly start talking about curators and their critical
There are a few points that are interesting to me:
1 - it is beyond doubt that curators are as important or probably more
important as critics in the way art is perceived. Can they make a
difference as to how it is valuated (economically) as well?
2 - There are on line and off line exhibitions. Do curators take more
liberties (with both the artists and the artworks) when they arrange an
on line exhibition then when they organize physical exhibitions? If yes,
3 - When dealing with net art (but also other electronic art and new
media art) do curators realize at all there is a history and context? If
yes, should they take this context into account at all? Are catalogues
giving enough insight into the works presented?
4 - What do curators find more problematic about new media art:
interactivity or ephemerality? Does the answer to this depend solely on
whether a curator creates a permanent collection or a temporary
exhibition? Are there any curators out there who think new media art
should be left to its own domains (the public domain for example)
Writing these questions down I realise that there is no such thing as
Some background to the questions:
1 - I have trouble understanding the lower value of 'immaterial' (of
course there often is some kind of material residue) work in the Art
System (for want of a better term). How influenced or dependent are art
institutions and curators by/from the art market? How influenced and
dependent are their sponsors and funding sources by/from the artmarket?
Could curators raise more financial support/reward for 'immaterial'
2 - What I find very strange is that some large media festivals (in
Europe) think they do not even have to inform the artist if their work
is in their exhibition and catalogue (or even press releases). This is
really not uncommon! It seems even that ('traditional') art institutions
are doing a better job then their media counterpart there.
On the other hand there is a general tendency to treat media artists as
if they were immaterial themselves. They often do not get invited to
openings or physical openings are not organised (there are not many on
line openings (in chat or so) either) and they seem to get less
attention of the pr department in general. I think we are really missing
an opportunity when media art gets seperated from the real (flesh)
3 - I ask this because especially in the case of net art it seems as if
curators sometimes want to recreate history. It makes a difference
whether you commission a famous media artist (usually a video or
'multimedia' artist) to make a net art work for your site or whether you
choose an existing or commissioned work by an artist that is used to
working with the net. The difference is that the first is very likely to
reinvent the wheel: he or she will often make work that is really not
that interesting when you consider net art as a whole. Maybe, to compare
it to the music industry, it is like creating pre-fab number one hit
groups with genuine musicians. Therefore it will not be taken seriously
on line and/or the exhibition is a laughing stock in that context.
Context matters. If your audience does not know anything about this
context you can teach/show it to them with a good catalogue (with
articles about the work and other relevant texts).
I guess this matter is closely related to the issue that many art
institutions do not realise the potential and responsibility they have
gained when entering the media realm 'real time' (until today art and
popular media did not engage with eachother much besides the almost
bureaucratic press releases from one to the other). The web and the net
are not just a collection of journals and magazines, they have some
qualities of tv and radio combined with the personal space of the
telephone. The cultural space has changed, and art institutions are part
of it. Art institutions and curators should realise what power politics
they become/became part of.
4 - No comments here, just questions for the time being.
Well, I could go on changing details to this mail, but what matters is
the discussion that comes out of it. Looking forward.