Having been, shamefully, rather silent for much of this discussion, I
would like to propose some thoughts about the resistance to the digital
that seems to be part of ACE's process of deciding who should get
I think Pauline got it absolutely right when she pointed out how the
digital is regarded as nothing more than
<a new set of distribution and delivery mechanism>
and how, as far as ACE is concerned
<digital can now confidently be assumed to exist as a set of processes
internal to organisations (who should have the expertise to develop a
digital strategy, be that via Marketing or elsewhere), *and* that this
more self-reflexive (and, I'd argue, historically sensitive) conception
of it, can make way for a normalisation and integration of 'digital'
tout court, across the cultural landscape - be that in and through
e-commerce, geo-location and 'expanded reality', or audience
development, or whatever>.
Pauline perfectly captures the continued belief in the idea of the
'media', in other words that the technologies and systems that are used
to convey information are nothing but, or should be nothing but
transparent conduits for that information. They are in the middle,
'media', between the source of that information and the recipient. This
is at the core of the idea of media itself, and remains a central
understanding of its meaning.
Allied to this is a disavowal of technicity, or in other words a refusal
to acknowledge the constitutive role played by technologies in the
artefactuality of facts and information.
This is made more complex in the case of the digital in that it is not
one medium/practice/area among others, but the increasingly invisible
substrate of almost of all other media.
It is perhaps only those who are, in Pauline's words 'more
self-reflexive' and 'historically sensitive', who are in a position to
understand that our media are not actually simply media, but complex
artefacts, that, in Friedrich Kittler's words, 'determine our
In a situation where the digital is frequently touted as a kind of magic
wand that will solve any number of social and cultural problems, it is
easy to see why such self-reflexive, historically-sensitive thinking may
not be popular.
Such thinking above all does not offer the kind of big society-friendly,
impact-sensitive solutions that ACE need to be seen funding. It rather
involves thinking critically and possibly antagonistically about our
wholesale embrace of new media and the digital. Perhaps it's not
surprising that the organisations that engage in such thinking are not
From: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sarah Cook
Sent: 05 April 2011 13:19
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Ace funding
Hello CRUMB list
as it suddenly went dead quiet I just wanted to let you know that the
curators and other practitioners concerned with the cuts to digital
media arts organisations in the UK are continuing to debate over on the
Googlegroup list which Pauline set up (link below). I hope that some
people might take the most relevant bits of the discussion and paste
them over here to CRUMB for the benefit of our international subscribers
who are sharing in our pain as we adjust to this new landscape.
There has been talk of how to set up an advocacy group (who could lead,
how could both funded and non funded orgs be involved), and also of a
meet-up at FutureEverything in Manchester in May. More on that as it
Meantime, CRUMB will return to regularly scheduled programming in May
with an online discussion in partnership with the Goethe Institute and
the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn as part of their Gateways exhibition.
More on that soon.
Please do continue to post your thoughts about April's hijacked theme on
the analogue/digital divide here too if you'd like, which before it spun
off into quantum physics was quite productive ;-)
...it leads me to ask whether the Arts Council England decisions can be
read in light of this - that the digital is still only ever understood
as a networking tool or a distribution mechanism and not as a medium (as
Pauline's great post suggested)? Interesting that in addition to media
art orgs (including labs - much discussed on this list - and
studio/residency programs, commissioners of digital content),
architecture and dance also took a hit (work which is difficult to get
your hands around - as Charlie might have put it in his great post about
tangibility?) as well as organisations that sought to sustain networks
with national/international links (such as the very valuable
International Curators Forum!) rather than those which are more locally
or community driven (Knowle West Media Centre and Somerset Film and
Video are part of the portfolio).
>>>> https://groups.google.com/group/acedigitaluncut/about?hl=en (I've
made it public for access, but subscribers-only for posting)