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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  September 2008

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING September 2008

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Subject:

Re: NEW-MEDIA-CURATING Digest - 9 Sep 2008 to 10 Sep 2008 (#2008-134)

From:

Sheldon Brown <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Sheldon Brown <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 10 Sep 2008 20:43:31 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (124 lines)

It might be worth thinking about how the situation of reception impacts the
production of new media artworks in a few ways. One is on the type of work
that is often shown as new media art. The desire to have new media artists
present to explain their work, is probably first motivated by operational
concerns.  Works need to be operated, and each is done in different ways.
The works can't be viewed if they aren't doing their thing.  However, the
"operational" aspects of work might be (should be) one of the key sites of
engagement for many of these works. Problemitizing operation can be one of
the critical functions of a work - just as problemitizing representation or
perception may be for painting, photography, etc..
The other dilemma that this explanatory anxiety can provoke is the
encouragement of reductive, simplistic works. The explanation crutch is
effective for work that is confined to the explanation. The presence of the
explainer has tremendous impact on the reception of the work - and if the
work isn't well encapsulated by the 20 seconds of explanation, then the work
may seem deficient. It is less likely that the audience is there to hear a
long drawn out discourse on complex concerns that evade rhetorical
encapsulation (which is why a work of art was produced rather then a text).
I find that the situation of having an explainer guide me through a work as
a primary way of encountering it is different then hearing a docent at a
museum talk about more traditional artforms.  The ability to discuss
contradictory ideas about more historical works is often used as a type of
validation for a work. It implies to the audience that artworks are complex
entities which are continuously re-read, generating open ended readings,
rather then single illustrations of concise concepts, such as a technology
demonstration.

-- 
http://crca.ucsd.edu/sheldon
Sheldon Brown
Professor of Visual Arts
Director - Center for Research in Computing and the Arts - 0037
Director, UCSD Experimental Game Lab
University of California at San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0037
[log in to unmask]
http://crca.ucsd.edu/sheldon
voice (858)534-2423
fax (858)534-7944


On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 7:40 PM, Brett Stalbaum <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Jumping in to second J* here. I enjoyed a good laugh at myself (as a
> practicing artist who has in the past been asked by curators to spend time
> near the work and explain it...) But I had a related response to J*'s re the
> ridicule of curators suggesting that artists "spend hours standing by your
> own wall text so that you can explain to attendees "how it works"".
>
> I for one enjoy doing just that... most recently in the big tent at
> ISEA/01SJ in 2006 with a C5 project. (I was on the C5 showroom floor when I
> met J* for the first time in RL, in fact. Another funny connection is that
> Julian was one of our "contestants"...) I think the first time I had this
> experience was in fact at Ars Electronica in 1999, again with C5, at the
> Brucknerhaus Open-X part of the festival that year. I assume that no better
> interface to the interpretation of an artwork can be devised than a
> circumstance where the audience feels welcome to interact interpersonally
> with the creator(s) of the work, (No offense to anyone who has ever
> published a catalog text intended:-) And while the model has obvious limits
> for institutions with long exhibition time-frames, in the temporally
> delimited context of a festival or special event it is very workable,
> especially with collaborative projects whose members can reasonably staff
> the room, booth or table for reasonable periods of time. (Or a showroom
> floor...)
>
> Not to mention, it is really great fun...
>
> Much was made in the 90s about the conflation of the artist/curator/critic,
> but I'm afraid the conflation of artist/docent may have been greatly
> under-theorized in curatorial circles.
>
> Should I end that last sentence with a ;-) ? I'm actually not sure...
>
> On Sep 10, 2008, at 4:01 PM, NEW-MEDIA-CURATING automatic digest system
> wrote:
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> Date:    Wed, 10 Sep 2008 11:20:15 +0200
>> From:    Josephine Bosma <[log in to unmask]>
>> Subject: Re: fresh from linz
>>
>> I think those criteria could offer much more interesting points of
>> entry to a discussion then just a simple self-beating. I would just
>> like to make a quick point, after reading some of the responses:
>>
>> The self-critical criterium which points at the artists having to
>> stand next to the work to 'explain' it seems a bit amateurish to me.
>> Only an amateur would think all art can be understood at first
>> glance. In 'traditional' art circles art works were explained and
>> contextualized by critics and curators, in catalogues, exhibition
>> papers and in newspapers. The tendency in new media art to involve
>> the artist in this process should maybe be seen in the light of an
>> increasing importance of the artist audience relationship. If the
>> artists prefer critics to be the sole opinion-makers of their works,
>> then by all means:  make the installation and then go home to read
>> the newspaper.
>>
>>
>> ;-p
>>
>>
>> regards,
>>
>>
>> J
>> *
>>
>
> Brett Stalbaum, Lecturer LSOE
> University of California San Diego
> Department of Visual Arts
> http://www.paintersflat.net
>
> Fall 2008 office hours
> Thursdays 1-4PM in one of the
> the alcoves on the 2nd floor of CALIT2.
> Week 0, yes
> Week 6, no
> Week 9, thanksgiving day holiday
> Finals week, yes
>

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