Thanks Susan for your thoughtful posting - this kind of experience is
I think very useful for fellow curators. I'd like to pick up your
points about blockages, categories and placing your show successfully
in the Design and Architecture Pavilion.
I was struck that architecture curators are perhaps surprisingly
experienced in the kind of challenges offered by new media, although
new media curators often come instead from a video background. In
talking to Aaron Betsky during my research on SFMOMA
it was apparent that architecture curators dealt with the challenges
1. Materiality: Although architecture is very material, obviously you
can't show "a building" in a gallery. So, are you showing
documentation, plans, maquettes, VR walk-throughs, or personal
responses? Architects have thoroughly discussed materiality
recently, especially concerning the 'immaterial' or conceptual nature
of much certain architecture education courses. Fine art curators
still tend to have problems with the 'immateriality' of networked art
2. Art/science: architecture obviously works across both (or perhaps
design/engineering/science?) and the roles are comfortably
established. Are there the same blockages here as for media arts?
3. The audience for architecture exhibitions may expect a range of
screen-based to physical 2D and 3D media, and perhaps also some
physical interaction with the work displayed. Again fine art
audiences may not expect this.
It's notable that Betsky was involved in starting the SFMOMA espace
net art and design collection <http://www.sfmoma.org/espace/>, and
that he is still programming new-media-involved work, for example the
current Asymptote show at Netherlands Architecture Institute (which
brings us back to Rotterdam).
So, could it be that we are being short sighted about the canons we
are examining (media, fine art, science), and missing debates which
might be useful to us? Are there more examples of disciplines which
work around the art/science blockage?
>Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2004 11:09:20 +0000
>From: Susan Hazan <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: Feb Theme of the Month: Formal Research 2 - Resisting the Canon
>Resisting the Canon
>The V2_ conference "Understanding New Media Art and Research" sounds very
>interesting - I would like to respond to the comments that Ole Bouman made
>about the sheer lack of curiosity as a serious blockage in the art world,
>and the slowness of the scientific process as a blockage in the research
>As curator of new media in an encyclopaedic museum which encompasses four
>separate wings and where the art wing includes nine distinct curatorial
>departments: European Art, Prints and Drawings, Israeli Art, Modern Art,
>Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture, Photography, East Asian Art,
>and the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, as well as a six acre
>Art Garden, locating new media in this hierarchy of artistic practice
>becomes a daunting challenge.
>Last month we opened a 'new media' exhibition Liquid Spaces and resolved
>the classification issue in our institution by locating the show in the
>Design and Architecture Pavilion.
Research Fellow in New Media, University of Sunderland
Tel: +44 191 515 2896 email: [log in to unmask]
CRUMB web resource for curators http://www.newmedia.sunderland.ac.uk/crumb/