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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2010

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2010

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Subject:

Re: Three questions about commissioning variable media

From:

Beryl Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Beryl Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 2 Mar 2010 17:08:00 +0000

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text/plain

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Dear List,

Thanks Jon and Leigh for a fine start! I'm very interested in Jon's 
"consumerist model" of commissioning, and Leigh's concerns that the 
model is indeed becoming much more commercial compared to a more 'hands 
off' fine art commissioning model.  In an interview on the CRUMB site, 
Benjamin Weil describes a "curator as producer" mode of working with 
Christian Marclay - quite hands on, but not a director model.

Might models and roles from film be useful here, or is there a danger 
that new media gets treated like commercial mass media - quite the 
opposite of Open Source ethics? I know that Richard Rinehart has an 
interesting Open Source model for archiving net art ...

Yours,

Beryl



On 2 Mar 2010, at 12:41, Variant wrote:

> Hi Jon, and all
>
> Messier still, I'm interested in 'commissioning' in the context of 
> unfolding experiences in Scotland and the proposals for Creative 
> Scotland, a non-artform specific supersession of the Scottish Arts 
> Council and Scottish Screen said to encompass the 'creative 
> industries'.
>
> As to a clear division of roles, the commissioning processes you 
> describe appear not to address the tectonic shift of public subsidy 
> with regard to encouraged IPR retention & exploitation. (Public 
> subsidy is already of paramount importance here, but will increasingly 
> be so given the recession.)
>
> With the proposals, artists/filmmakers will have to 'pitch' to 
> Creative Scotland in what is increasingly looking like a commissioning 
> process, with the need to appeal for advocacy within the NDPB. This is 
> a significant shift from previous 'arms length' public sector models 
> of support (however partial and problematic they continue to be).
>
> It is still very hazy, even at this late date, but the proposals 
> appear to include Creative Scotland look to also generate income 
> streams (for itself, as well as encouraging other cultural 
> institutions to do so) through the exploitation and retention of 
> Intellectual Property Rights of the material it will effectively 
> 'commission'. (The proximity of Edinburgh's financial/legal sector is 
> palpable.)
>
> NESTA was the outcome of such an exploration of copyright- and 
> profit-orientated approaches to ‘investment’ and would seem to be the 
> guiding light of Creative Scotland. NESTA advocates its retention of 
> patent rights for intellectual property resulting from publicly funded 
> work and the wider state exploitation of IPR. One other example we 
> have is the Catalan Department of Creative Industries' "refundable 
> contribution [credit / loans] system as a way to have financial 
> participation in market driven cultural projects and, therefore, be 
> subject to enterprise risk." Creative Scotland will also introduce 
> loans.
>
> As Nicholas Garnham has written:
>
> “ [T]he cultural industries are seen as complex value chains where 
> profit is extracted at key nodes in the chain through control of 
> production investment and distribution and the key “creative” labour 
> is exploited not, as in the classic Marxist analysis of surplus value, 
> through the
> wage bargain, but through contracts determining the distribution of 
> profits to various rights holders negotiated between parties with 
> highly unequal power (Caves 2000). ... [T]he political economy 
> approach placed its major emphasis on the technologies of 
> distribution, on the ways in which key economic and regulatory debates 
> were to be seen as struggles over access to distribution under 
> shifting technological conditions without any necessary effect on 
> either the nature of the product being distributed or the relation 
> with the audience. In particular, this analysis stressed the ways in 
> which the profits of the whole process were returned to controllers of 
> technological distribution systems rather than to the original 
> producers of the cultural products or services.”
>
> (‘From Cultural to Creative Industries: An analysis of the 
> implications of the “creative industries” approach to arts and media 
> policy making in the United Kingdom’, Nicholas Garnham, International 
> Journal of Cultural Policy Vol 11, No. 1 2005)
>
> All best,
> Leigh
>
>
> -------------------------------------------
> Variant
> ...in-depth coverage in the context of
> broader social, political & cultural issues.
>
> 1/2 189b Maryhill Road
> Glasgow G20 7XJ
>
>    t. +44 (0)141 333 9522
>    e. [log in to unmask]
>    http://www.variant.org.uk
>
> receive events info & online Variant:
> [log in to unmask]
> -------------------------------------------
>
>
> On 2 Mar 2010, at 11:16, Jon Ippolito wrote:
>
>> Thanks, Beryl, for inviting Rick Rinehart and me as guests for this 
>> month! Later this week I'll be reporting from the DOCAM conference in 
>> Montreal, where we'll unveil the third-generation Variable Media 
>> Questionnaire developed by John Bell, and where I expect to learn of 
>> other exciting developments culminating from the research that Alain 
>> Depocas and the Langlois Foundation have nurtured over the past five 
>> years. And I'm looking forward to hearing reports from other 
>> correspondents on Friday's BALTIC conference.
>>
>> Rick and I have the distinction, or perhaps more accurately infamy, 
>> of  having played both roles of artist and curator in various 
>> commissions. As a double agent, I see the process as a bit messier 
>> than might be visible from the outside. To see if I'm not alone, I'd 
>> like to lob some questions at all of you artists, curators, and 
>> others who have been, or will soon be, involved in the commission of 
>> a variable media work:
>>
>> 1. The process of commissioning offers more give-and-take between 
>> artist and curator than just buying work out of a gallery, which is 
>> tantamount to shopping at a store for art. But the traditional 
>> artistic commission still divides responsibilities according to a 
>> consumerist model, this time based on freelance labor: the curator 
>> defines the job and hires the artist; the artist makes the work; and, 
>> depending on the terms of the agreement, either the artist or the 
>> curator inherits the work, along with the sole responsibility to 
>> maintain it. I'm interested to know whether the experiences of people 
>> on this list have echoed or disrupted this clear division of roles. 
>> How involved are curators in the production of the work? How involved 
>> are artists in its documentation and preservation? And how subversive 
>> can an artwork be if it is "work for hire"?
>>
>> 2. The word "commission" comes from the etymological root "to 
>> entrust," which in medieval Latin became "put into custody." So, from 
>> those who've been involved in commissions on this list, I want to 
>> know who trusted whom with what, and whether that trust was honored 
>> or betrayed. Who got custody of the "child" of this unnatural union 
>> between artist and curator? Of the hardware? Of the source code? If 
>> the work was created collaboratively, how were the rights and credit 
>> apportioned? What did you keep, and what did you let go? Who made out 
>> better in the end?
>>
>> 3. How, if at all, did the variability inherent in technological and 
>> process-based artwork complicate or enrich your commission? I'm 
>> especially interested in any problems you encountered--with an 
>> institution, an artist, or a technology--and whether the solution you 
>> hit upon was satisfactory.
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> jon
>> ______________________________
>> Still Water--what networks need to thrive.
>> http://still-water.net/
>>
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art
Faculty of Arts, Design, and Media, University of Sunderland
Ashburne House, Ryhope Road
Sunderland
SR2 7EE
Tel: +44 191 515 2896    Fax: +44 191 515 2132
Email: [log in to unmask]

CRUMB web resource for new media art curators
http://www.crumbweb.org

CRUMB's new book: 'Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media' from MIT 
Press 
http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=12071

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