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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  2002

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Subject:

Re: curating critically

From:

Patrick Lichty <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 13 Feb 2002 13:21:27 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (88 lines)

A brief one here...

> I suppose it's obvious, but I think it's worth stressing - that the
curatorial
> role is a function not a person.

Yes, but personal agendas are often integrated into curatorial practice.
For example, is there any correlation between the Michael Rush chairing a
panel on secular humanism and its role in the museum in countering the
religious backlash with his history (I believe) with the clergy?  To define
the person versus their function is too simple of a dialectic, as the
relationship of a person and their role is interdependent, and indivisible
(not entirely).

>Roles are fluid and multiple.
As is identity, as above.

"Early on" - and
> continuing - practicing artists have been the best curators of net art (or
is it
> vice versa?) Miltos Manetas and Christiane Paul are both curating
"whitney"
> shows.

Yes - I might have some curatorial role in the former, although I'm sure
that Miltos will be the 'curator'. Role, identity.

They are differently sanctioned. Miltos also has a role as an artist and,
> I believe, Christiane has had a (creative) role in the creation of
collaborative
> art projects. Neen and Christiane's forthcoming book are also both kinds
of
> criticism. The difference, I might try and argue, between their practices
isn't
> one that makes a difference. It's the context in which it happens.

Sure.  Do you think that this is largely in context of institutional
structures?  What is interesting to me is the relationship between the
aspects of legitimation, generation, and distribution (among others), that
this combination of practical strategies entails.  The nature and timbre of
each's mode of engagement is fascinating.

And even that
> needs to be nuanced. What's the qualititative difference between how the
Whitney
> supported Data Dynamics, say, and how Neen was presented at Gogosian
gallery?

Part of it has to do with the milieu - that's the most basic.  We can almost
put both on an equal background of Manhattan.  Museum, gallery.  But that's
the easy part.  But then, you get into institutional representation of both
(the gogosian rep of Manetas, the relationship od DD with BitStreams).  I
would venture that the frame has a great influence on the painting in this
case, and to push the metaphor further, where the piece is placed in the
gallery, lighting, promotion, persented perception of the piece by staff,
etc. is also key.

But then independent, non-NYC tech art shows have gotten the nod from
Mirapaul. But obviously those shows don't have the cachet that proximity
affords, even though they contain many of the same artists.  You could have
two identical shows, one in NYC, and the other in Barcelona, and the NYC one
would like be the winner. But once again, one has to look at the curator,
institutional context, and the whole cultural matrix in order to get a
handle on the relations.

> Mathew's putting into play the role of curator as producer reminds me of
> Gerfried's oft-stated comparison of new and old museological practices,
one of
> the main differences being the shift from presenter to producer. I'm not
sure,
> however, this is specific to new media. It may seem like it looking
through the
> lens of visual arts, but in the area of performing arts, it is quite
common for
> the presenter to also be a producer. Walker's curator of performaing arts
> (Philip Bither) does this all the time. Looking at new media through the
lens of
> performing arts, I would say that in commissioning works for Gallery 9, I
both
> make a selection (curate) and am more and less involved in enabling its
> production, but this is not that unusual. Is it?

IMO, it has to do with modes of engagement.  In New Media, perhaps the
distinctions are less inertial.  One can move more quickly from role to
role, or even play multiple parts simultaneously.  Although this has been
relatively common during the 20th, I think that the potential for more
multicameral thought is clearly evident.

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