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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  September 2009

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING September 2009

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Subject:

Re: archives and repertoires, uncontrolled embodiments, Whose Responsible This

From:

Johannes Birringer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Johannes Birringer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 24 Sep 2009 22:35:50 +0100

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Dear Jeremy,  Curt,  and all:


your reponses were very eloquent, and thanks for that;   i had not been able to follow much of the discussions on "unassailable voices" of museums, and the relationship of the museum's voices , their responsibility,  regarding indigenous peoples.  I want to come back, though, with a small observation, in a moment.

Let me also acknowledge that now, reading Curt on "Spiral Jetty,"  I am astonished and persuaded by the manner in which you expand times scales, the repertoires and notion of inter-action with the times of art works in situ (Smithson and his crew collaborating with the Great Salt Lake, then filming the action and the post event structure, and thus creating (iconizing the first) a second time-based piece....?) and probably, i assume, thus problematizing the notion of author/artist - material relations as much  (if not more) as the site - non-site (mediating galleries or institutions) relations. 

You argue:
>Like other Dia-sponsored work established in perpetuity (De Maria's Earth Room, Young's Dream
House), the "preservational" aspects of the work aren't para-art. They are purposefully folded into the art as part of its concept.
>>


The preservational dimensions here are indeed challenging to discuss:  if they elude the control of both artist and gallery/museum/trust/estate etc --- do they fall into the domain of the state? national park authorities? district attorney?  I guess, into the hands of land owners?
how is geological time (in an artwork) or a work about  complex layers of time preserved, if you claim that some such work was planned for "perpetuity" (eternity?), which eternity? whose eternity?  
it was a durational piece surely anticipated to disappear, to crumble and erode? 

The sonic art piece that recently intrigued me in regard to geological and cultural layers, and interactional movement through/listening through,  is CORE SAMPLE (created by Teri Rueb on/about Spectacle island in  Boston Harbor). 

Now, Smithson would not have anticipated drilling interests?   You say: >> he yields a portion of artistic "control" to a non-human system that outlives him -- purposefully opening the piece up to large scales of time>..., implying a notion of "nature"  ("non-human system") which we might argue does not exist. The Lake is a cultural field of  economic interest, like an oil field or a forest or the sea...  or like Roden Crater? 


Now, imperpetuity seems to be the dissemination platform YouTube, unpreservable, or deemed not worthy of curating care and duties of care, at the moment. This might change. 

The examples from YouTube, which I want to add to the discussions here, to our examinations of time arts and networked art or "distributed" events and "memes"  (a Guardian column on "lolcats"  [?] asks whether memes can be art ...... and then takes you to parodic videos using new subtitles for The Downfall"........ and the lolcat apparently is  "Whose Reponsible This")  are new to me, I have in fact only now looked/listened to them, but my attention was attracted by an article, which I read just as  Jeremy's posting came in on "intangibilities" of time-based art. 

Jeremy writes:

>>However, for present purposes I am intrigued by the ways in which discussions about the intangibility of 'time-based', or 'new media' art and its presence in museums differ in various ways from those about how intangible indigenous cultural practices are preserved/recovered.>>


I cannot begin here to ponder all the tangibles/intangibles implied in the article by Nick Salvato on  "Out of Hand" (YouTube amateurs and professionals)" - in TDR: The Drama Review 53:3[ 2009] , but if we could attempt a queering of the pitch here, then the professed "tangibility" of Seth Green's actor-body (in his parody " Leave Chris Cocker Alone" :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiqkDm9UoKo) is posited in the burlesque parody Green posts/videotapes against the intangible effeminate amateur body (apparently hugely successful, watched by millions) of Chris Crocker's  tearful YouTube Video:  "Leave Britney Alone !" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHmvkRoEowc ). 

I was not aware of all these parodies and the level of meta-parody going on in the YouTube world, but Salvato's writing examines notions of sincerity (in professional theatre and art, historically since the 19th century, paired off against amateur theatre or the "folklore" repertoires) and queer abjection, and writes wonderfully on Britney Spears, Crocker,  Green and "central" casting in Film, TV, Soap, Reality TV and YouTube, etc.  evoking some resonating ideas on controlled and uncontrolled, or uncontrollable, bodies  (the grotesque body of exaggerated, melodramatic, embarrassing, queer, troubled performance). 

Perez Hilton (gossip blogger, also probably not yet deemed part of the preservable time-based artists/entertainers or indigenous cultural west coast voices...?)  also contributed to the battle of the bands, posting "Britney, Leave ME Alone!"  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoKlMpCW0Vc),  parodying the parodies and crying on video, imploring Spears to stop giving him more material for his blog.   What troubled Salvato was the actor Green's assertion that he is more tangible than the body of spectral, insubstantial flaming queens. 

What underlies the critique is a concern for phobic violence and the reverse effects (de-preservation, effacement)  of certain digital embodiments ( and stage invasions, making a fool of oneself, as in Kanye West, or being fooled out and humiliated, jackassed) and other time-based out of control embodiments, in  probably innumerable cases of performance media art over the past decades. 

whose responsible this?

regards
Johannes Birringer



-----Original Message-----
Subject: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] archives and repertoires
 
>>>>
My earlier comment came out of collaborating with Saskia Vermeylen on some work about the San, formerly hunter gatherers, in Southern Africa in the context of debates about the responsibility of museums regarding indigenous peoples.
 
One of our starting points was a comment in a 1997 paper 'The Web and the Unassailable Voice' where Walsh commented that a presence on the web might mitigate the effects of the  "unassailable voice" of museums. 
 
The ways in which this mitigation may happen through visitor interaction has been widely discussed, particularly in the context of enabling visitors to become involved in classification and access processes (e.g creating tags) to museum content.   
 
What interests me are the modifications to such processes when the issue of challenging the ways in which museums classify, display and value culture  is engaged with in the context of (re)presenting indigenous cultures. This is done, in my view correctly, with the aim of trying to contribute to the recognition of the narratives of First Peoples. As an aside I acknowledge that referring to narratives of indigenous cultures raises its own set of issues.
 
However, for present purposes I am intrigued by the ways in which discussions about the intangibility of 'time-based', or 'new media' art and its presence in museums differ in various ways from those about how intangible indigenous cultural practices are preserved/recovered. 
 
It seems to me that moving between the respective discourses contributes to revealing the differing emphases placed on the various values expressed in curatorial practices, and for recognizing how those values are realised (e.g. the ways in which visitor interaction is enabled through interfaces to online museums).
 
Cheers
Jeremy 
 


 




      

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