FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
«There is no such a thing as a copy. In the world of digitalized
images, we are dealing only with originals - only with original
presentations of the absent, invisible digital original. The
exhibition makes copying reversible: it transforms a copy into an
original.» Boris Groys
«One could of course argue that this is not the real thing, but then –
please, anybody – show me this real thing.» Hito Steyerl
The MINI Museum of XXI Century Arts (also known as MMAXXI) is a 7''
digital photo frame bought on eBay equipped with a 4GB pen drive.
Founded and directed by Domenico Quaranta, the MINI Museum has been
designed to store and display the art of the XXI century - that is art
that takes, has taken or can take digital form, at some time in its
life, and can thus be stored on a USB pen drive and displayed on a
digital photo frame.
The MINI Museum will travel from node to node around a network of
artists, and will host temporary solo shows by the artist owning it at
the time. All the artworks shown in the MINI Museum will enter the
permanent collection of the Museum itself. The Museum will return to
the Director when there is no more storage space left. The process is
scheduled to start on October 15, 2010, when the MINI Museum will
officially be given to its first “temporary owner”.
The MINI Museum addresses issues of copyright, ownership, networking,
versioning, sharing, curating, collecting and displaying, but also of
space and time, scale, history-making, preserving and forgetting.
A space for XXI century Arts
The architecture of the MINI Museum has been designed employing the
most basic display media devices available today. Digital frames are
cheap, kitschy, easy to use and understand. They are the ideal gift
for your granny. Designed to display mainly digital photos, most of
them support many other media formats as well. USB pen drives made
both CD-ROMs and DVDs dead media in the blink of an eye. 4GB pen
drives are currently the smallest, cheapest format available on the
market. Both digital frames and pen drives are beautiful examples of
digital waste, since they are both used to store and display absurdly
heavy files. The MINI Museum wants to turn this waste into a resource:
an architecture to store and display art.
The MINI Museum can display artworks in jpg, mp3, mpg and avi format.
Any artwork adopting one of these file formats is eligible to be shown
at the MINI Museum and enter its collection. Furthermore, any artwork
that, according to its author, can be legitimately translated into one
of these formats without losing its status of “artwork”, is eligible
to be shown at the MINI Museum and enter its collection. This means
that the MINI Museum can virtually store and display any kind of art:
digital images, animations, photographs, videos, software, music
scores, texts but also paintings, drawings, installations, sculptures,
architecture, performances and so on.
This is why the Museum has been called “The MINI Museum of XXI Century
Arts”. Many attempts have been made to describe the arts of the XXI
century, and much emphasis has been put on the fact that a new art
requires new media. Bullshit. If there is any lowest common
denominator between the arts of the XXI century, it is not the fact
that they are digital, but the fact that they can all be translated
into digital form, or exist temporarily in digital form. Not all
contemporary art is media art, but all contemporary art can be
mediated. Thus, all contemporary art can be displayed via a digital
photo frame, or stored on a USB pen drive.
The way the MINI Museum is conceived reflects the shifting identity of
contemporary art in a networked, globalized, information-based world.
It's light and portable. It can travel. The collection won't be the
result of an act of individual selection: it will be the unexpected,
dynamic result of friendship connections and casual meetings, fair
play and mischief, and dynamic interpretations of its rules. All this
will become part of the history of the Museum - and art history in
The MINI Museum was directly inspired by the Nanomuseum, founded in
1994 by the Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, and by the Pirate
Paintings conceived in 2009 by the Greek artist Miltos Manetas. The
Nanomuseum was a little frame, bought by H.U.O. in a store set up in
Düsseldorf by the German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann. Throughout the
Nineties it housed many solo exhibitions by the likes of artists such
as Chris Marker, Yoko Ono, Gilbert & George, Christian Boltanski,
Jonas Mekas, Gabriel Orozco, and the architect Cedric Price. Its final
show was supposed to be by the artist Douglas Gordon, who was going to
organize its funeral, but then the Museum was lost in a pub. The
Nanomuseum was a free museum, without a regular programme and, of
course, without a collection.
The Pirate Paintings are oil paintings featuring the logo of The
Pirate Bay and equipped with a pen drive or a hard disk full of files
(including Manetas' collection of Neen artworks) that visitors can
freely download to their laptop or mobile phone.
Further inspiration came from Marcel Duchamp's Boîte-en-valise, the
Fluxus boxes and Andy Warhol's Timeboxes.
How it works
1. After buying the digital photo frame and the USB pen drive and
setting up the MINI Museum, the Museum Director will hand it over to
an artist. From then on, he will have no control over the life of the
Museum until the end of the process.
2. The artist will make a work for the Museum, set it up, put it on
show for an unspecified length of time, document the exhibition, send
documentation to the Director and hand the Museum over to another
artist. This is a recursive rule: that is, all temporary owners of the
MINI Museum have to follow this one basic procedure.
3. Only the “temporary owner” of the MINI Museum can decide who the
next one will be. He or she might choose to lend it to a close friend,
or to somebody they just met. But the artist may also choose to pick
up a name from a growing list of applicants. If you are interested in
joining this list, please send us an email at the following address: [log in to unmask]
. With luck, you could be the next one.
4. The process ends when there is no storage space left on the pen
drive. The artist adding the last work to the collection is to take
care of the MINI Museum until he or she has a chance to give it back
to the Museum Director.
5. From then on, the MINI Museum Director will be in charge of
curating the Museum - rearranging the collection, lending pieces to
other museums or exhibitions, restoring pieces, etc.
6. Before starting the process, the MINI Museum Director will store a
README file on the USB pen drive containing additional instructions
for the artists. Each participating artist is kindly invited to follow
these rules. But since the Museum Director does not have any control
over the process, all artists are free to decide, at any time, that
they do not wish to follow one or more of the rules: potentially
deleting other artists' works, stealing them, selling them, renaming
them, reformatting the pen drive, or donating just one 4GB artwork and
then giving the Museum back to the Director.
The MINI Museum Unboxing Ceremony:
Director, The MINI Museum of XXI Century Arts
email. [log in to unmask]
mob. +39 340 2392478