JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for NEW-MEDIA-CURATING Archives















By Topic:










By Author:











Proportional Font








Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Writing about the ephemeral... the insignificant the singular the conditional


Maeve Connolly <[log in to unmask]>


Maeve Connolly <[log in to unmask]>


Tue, 5 Feb 2008 19:42:45 -0000





text/plain (1 lines)

Thanks to Beryl and Verina for inviting me to contribute to the

discussion. I'm interested in Ken's comments on the re-viewing of moving

image works and also Verina's point about the social conditions under

which something is written. So here are some initial thoughts...

My research focuses on artists' film and video and I'm currently writing

about a series of works where questions of site or place are central,

and often integral to the commissioning and/or production process. I

have seen all of this work in public exhibition contexts (galleries,

site-specific installations, screenings) and reviewed some of it. But as

some time has passed since my first viewing, I'm also referring to

documentation in DVD form. 

Some of the works I'm writing about have been widely distributed but

others circulate within the gallery system so as I view these DVDs in my

own space (as opposed to in an archive) I am acutely aware of two

issues. The first is my economic and social relation to these works,

which varies greatly, and the second is the distance between the

original experience and that of re-viewing. 

To some extent this latter issue could just be an effect of the kind of

processes explored by Victor Burgin in The Remembered Film. But I

suspect that my first encounter with these works was always already

coloured by a strong sense of the ephemeral. In my memories (and in my

written records) of the exhibited works, the acoustics of the space, the

design of the installation, the journey through the exhibition

environment etc seem to take precedence. These elements are generally

absent, or obscured, in gallery documentation yet the act of re-viewing

seems to heighten the particularity of the first experience, rather than

supplant it... 

I haven't read Liam Gillick's intro to Proxemics but his comments - on

being both too close to and too distant from the main protagonists -

seem to describe aspects of my own experience of writing catalogue

essays. I've occasionally written texts that involve a kind of

speculative projection about the form the work might take, rather than

conventional description or contextualisation. This type of writing

seems characterised by 'closeness' -  it often involves an investigation

the artist's ideas and interests as well as process. But perhaps it also

produces a certain distance for the reader because it draws upon but

doesn't openly state the conditions of the exchange between artist and



Dr. Maeve Connolly

Lecturer in Film and Animation

School of Creative Arts

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology

Kill Avenue

Co. Dublin



Tel: +353 1 2144927

Email: [log in to unmask]





-----Original Message-----

From: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org

[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Verina Gfader

Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2008 1:12 PM

To: [log in to unmask]

Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Writing about the ephemeral... the

insignificant the singular the conditional

Thanks Beryl for introducing the new theme on the list. I want to

briefly pick up on two points written by Liam Gillick in his

introduction to Proxemics. Selected Writings (1988-2006) - which to me

seem interesting to mention in this context.

Although not taking on board the nature and affects of media art as

such, indeed the texts include a wide range of different "categories" of

art (which I'd like to say might be also significant to think

philosophically in terms of pluralities/), the absences and failures

that Liam describes by writing about art, can only as I think, confirm

something that is peculiar to art as such. Whether of not a work is

ephemeral or not, live or not, finite or not. 

If the experience of a work could actually be described in one possible

way only then we would not take into account the plurality of the

audience... Is the access to the work, the entrance point, an issue

here?  When artists write about their work, their intentions,

instructions, and so on, do these writings reveal the most direct access

to the work? In this case the text would follow the mode of a particular

practice most straight forward.  

The artist text versus the descriptive text (e.g. used on a label in an

exhibition space) versus the critical text? But where does the

criticality take place? In the differences of the texts that talk about

the work? In the gaps between these different texts? In the gaps of the


Liam says "I did not write anything of significance, although there are

interesting interviews. [ ] I was too close to the main protagonists,

and yet too distant in terms of understanding their motivations". 

Maybe one could say that the work lives and also is preserved precisely

in this "insignificant" utterances. 

In my experience as a researcher I did not feel uncomfortable writing

about work without having seen the "original" work, e.g. an early body

art performance by Carolee Schneemann or Gina Pane. I felt more

uncomfortable with reading texts that try to mystify the work in a way

and that were written "too distant" to return to Liam's expression.

New media art is interesting as it distances itself, through

technological progress, by introducing something that appears to be

'new' or not already experienced, seen, read. But moving away from a

technology-oriented analysis the criticality it bears lies in its

affective modes under certain conditions.   

Instead of isolating however work and text, what might has been at stake

and continues here to be at stake are the social conditions under which

something is written on something in a particular way (blog, review,

academic essay, interview).

How do other practitioners, artist, curators, writers, approach text,

work, criticality? 

Rambling notes on a chilly but sunny Saturday afternoon. 



----- Original Message -----

From: Beryl Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Date: Friday, February 1, 2008 10:17 am

Subject: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Writing about the ephemeral... Theme Feb


> Theme of the month February 08

> Writing about the ephemeral / the 'live' / the broadcast


> Beyond issues of physical preservation, the written record, 

> document or

> press review is particularly important for ephemeral, live or 

> broadcastworks. But how does one write about/criticise something 

> that's never

> the same twice?


> What are the modes curators use for the documentation of new media 

> art?Re-imagination; information; writing that in one way or the other

> transmits the various experiences of the work? Can it be argued that

> the life of a work consists precisely in the ways it departs from its

> initial point/source or concept? And if it does so how do the 

> differentafterlives, critiques and vocabularies associated with 

> media contribute

> to or resist the work?


> What framing systems emerge with forms of writing other than the

> traditional single-authored critical text (e.g. dialogue based,

> blogging, hypertext)? What framing systems are becoming more 

> peripheral(e.g. traditional art criticism)? Does a particular 

> work/practice need

> a particular mode of text to be understood or re-enacted? Can a live

> work be re-imagined by certain modes of preserving it? Does the 

> archivethe re-broadcast or the re-enactment then become more 

> important than

> the work?




> -------------------------------------------------------------------


> Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art

> School of Arts, Design, Media and Culture, University of Sunderland

> Ashburne House,

> Ryhope Road

> Sunderland

> SR2 7EE

> Tel: +44 191 515 2896    [log in to unmask]


> CRUMB web resource for new media art curators

> http://www.crumbweb.org



IADT Disclaimer.This e-mail and any other items transmitted with it are confidential  

and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom they are addressed. 

If you are not the intended recipient you must not use, disclose, distribute, copy,  

print or relay on this e-mail. 

If an addressing or transmission error has misdirected this e-mail,  

please notify the author by return email  

or inform Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art | Design | Technology's (IADT)  

Information Communication Technology Office on 01 2144770 or mailto:[log in to unmask]    

Any views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of IADT. IADT does  

not guarantee that this e-mail is free from viruses, worms or the like.   

Please undertake your own checks. 


Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools

RSS Feeds and Sharing

Advanced Options


June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager