Writing from EMPAC, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in up-state New York:
The center was explicitly established for "time-based arts" without any
distinction between the areas the work comes from. We understand and are
tooted in this understanding that all areas which can create something that
may be called "time-based arts" have their own background, history, their
own way at looking at the world and their specific art and their own
requirements of expertise.
For the past ca. 5 years, we have been working in a team of three curators -
one from/for "time-based" visual arts, one from/for dance and theater and
one from/for music (and myself coming from a mélange of backgrounds).
The most interesting and challenging experiences comes from our goal that
everyone contributes from their background, expertise and interest in
programming, working with artists, creating programs, commissions, workshops
and residencies, and that that specific expertise is well respected - but it
does not create boxes and everyone is limited to work in their own box. The
music curator comes up with a commission for a stereoscopic video work
combined with a special music recording, the dance curator brings in an
interactive installation and the visual arts curator can come up with a
The interesting part in this is how we can respect and accept expertise that
is held by someone else and collaborate in such a way so it may become part
of our own project, how we can actually communicate with each other without
being limited to the jargon of our professional peer-group, and - most
critically - how we can have a discourse on aesthetics, art and technology
which is so vastly different in each of the areas involved - not only in
regard to terminologies but from different production and presentation
modalities all the way to what and how we create programs for audiences.
And this then certainly reaches over to the production teams we have - from
stage technology to audio, video and IT and who have to learn what the
difference is for instance between building a pedestal for a theater
performance or for an exhibition which is "museum-like", or what the
difference is between a performance stemming from the theater or music
world, a performance stemming from performance art or an intermedia
inter-active art installation that is up for 6 weeks. Again it is the
different time-lines that create the biggest challenges - we all know well
the interactive arts exhibition, where the main thing is to get "it" working
for the opening night and then we see how we can really fix it in the next
days for the next weeks - whereas in the situation of a more theatrical
performance, everyone has only that one shot at the time of the performance
(or maybe a second shot the next night).
Museums are usually not built to accommodate sound (even the Media Museum at
ZKM has still lots of difficulties, but they accumulated quite a bit of
experience over the past almost 15 years), architects designing new museums
have a hard time building them for the cross-roads between daylight from the
north and electronic image requirements because usually the curators don't'
quite understand or - more often - the pecking-order puts them lower than
those who curate objects instead of time.
So much to talk about, exchange and learn from what others do. We had a
great opportunity here at EMPAC to go down this path.
On 2/4/11 3:14 PM, "Johannes Birringer" <[log in to unmask]>
> dear all
> if I may, as a small postscript, comment on the discussion regarding "new
> media curating" -
> now that we are having a lively discussion on media objects and synchronous
> "performance objects"
> - it is good to see such exchange, on the matter of time-based art and
> performance, especially
> at a time when museums more and more frequently invite performance/performing
> (live art, dance, music)
> into the exhibitions scene or, if you like, try to write performance history
> into the history and
> the discourse of the visual arts.
> the performative (and interactional) dimension of time based art (if we
> remember the discussion about Paik),
> as well as the continuous rapprochement between (post)media artists and the
> cross-over collaborations between
> postmedia art and performing arts, but also the independent developments in
> intermedial performance, in music
> and sound art, etc, would seem to require that interdisciplinary thinking -
> in the practice of
> curating - draws more on the practical knowledge and artistic methods of the
> performing arts
> (I looked for references to the large body of writings in performance, when I
> began to read "Rethinking Curating," [esp.
> the sections on Time based Arts / Video and Performance & Performance Time],
> or the catalogue for
> Move: Choreographing You, or the catalogue for AWARE.... and couldn't find
> them, and i guess this also is what Johannes
> Goebel meant at the end of his last post?).
> wishing you well
> Johannes Birringer