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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:

Josephine Bosma <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Josephine Bosma <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 15:46:34 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (207 lines)

Maybe it helps if I just say that it is really not a matter of  
'either, or'. The -addition- of artists talking about their work in  
new media (explaining their work seems the wrong term) is a layer on  
top or below, whichever strikes your fancy, of existing practices. I  
don't think it is unusual in traditional art circles either. I have  
been to any number of exhibitions where artists were present to talk  
about their work.

Another thing I read in Sheldon Brown's mail is his passivity. There  
is of course a rather large chance this cannot be blamed on him, as  
the institutionalization of new media art has produced a certain  
rigidity in presentation. It depends on what kind of exhibitions of  
this art you visit, in which institution, how big the exhibition is,  
etc. Yet this reminds me of something similar maybe: I have seen  
critics refuse to (inter)act with artworks, walking away after seeing  
there was the interactivity aspect (after at first glance liking the  
work) simply because they are not used to interacting or they just  
feel uncomfortable and exposed. New media art discourse, like its  
art, is not just a matter of waiting for the critic, curator or  
artist coming to you either. I understand if you would want a  
description of what you can do, but it is more a question of what you  
want to do, and of knowing what you could do, to escape this role of  
media art victim.

I am not entirely sure Armin posted his text as an addition to this  
discussion. If so, I should say I am glad to see more texts appear  
about the diversity and different tendencies within media art, texts  
written from an independent (non institutional) perspective. Armin  
Medosch's work on both open source art practices and, its opposite,  
high media art is very important in this. I do hope however that the  
tendency to generalization in the discussion of new media art does  
not lead to a misreading of his criticism of *high* media art as a  
criticism of *all* media art.


regards,


J
*



On 11 Sep 2008, at 05:43, Sheldon Brown wrote:

> 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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