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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  November 2012

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING November 2012

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Subject:

Re: November Theme: Curating on and through web-based platforms

From:

Marialaura Ghidini <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Marialaura Ghidini <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 23 Nov 2012 15:09:50 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (317 lines)

Hello List,

I'd like to pick up on Susan's questions/reflections on her work 'In  
Coversation' as I think they resonate with some of the curatorial  
concerns when working online.

The first one:
- "Where is the work? - is it on the street, on the net or in the  
gallery (in two or three of the installations there was a gallery  
installation showing a live - cinema verite - feed also)"
And here I am thinking on exhibitions whose narrative unfolds across  
different sites that encompass the online and offline dimensions? How  
do we think/write about such exhibitions, and thus such artworks as  
curators, producers, artists and writers perhaps?
I think Saul has just given an interesting example in relation to  
this, using babelfish's translation system and IRC channels, an  
example of the relationship between technology/socio-cultural contexts  
and their often being time specific.

The second:
- "Who (and where) is the viewer? Is it the person on the street  
encountering the (disembodied) voice, the viewer on the net  
interacting with the street or a third person/position, an observer  
watching the action and the conversation/s (perhaps from elsewhere in  
the street or in the gallery) unfold"
How do we address the viewer? How do we envisage his/her role in an  
exhibition, or artwork, scattered through different sites/adopting  
different forms in relation to the medium used? Are there new issues  
that should be taken into consideration, or these issues are just the  
same as for any contemporary artwork, e.g. I could mention the Musée  
de l'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles by Marcel Broodthaers which  
could be seen as a sort of precedent, a work that encompassed  
different mediums and technologies of its time (often reflecting on  
mass communication, the inside/oustide, the private/public) and  
unfolded through time and different spaces, from the studio, the  
gallery, the book, and the film.

As for the earlier emails re moot/ahrc/software/hardware/tools  
something has struck me in relation to the idea of mediation/re- 
mediation both in terms of software and interface. Both software and  
interface often operates as tools of mediation, and here I am thinking  
of the differences occurring between curating or producing a show or  
work through adopting and already existing web interface, such as  
YouTube, and creating an interface for production and display from  
scratch. As for software, I think it can often be seen as an (artistic/ 
curatorial) tool which offers possibilities as well as limits, and  
here I am thinking about the tensions existing between organizing, for  
example, a radio show using Airtime Pro software vs using a sound  
editing software and uploading the results on SoundCloud as an indexed  
archive or, again, using YouTube as a sound archive and production tool.

Just a series of thoughts. It would be great to hear if there is  
something here that chimes with your practices/experiences.

Thanks,
Marialaura

On 23 Nov 2012, at 13:19, susan collins wrote:

> Dear all
>
> Apologies for stepping in late to respond, and I haven't had a  
> chance to
> properly review the flurry (flood) that the moot (which I didn't  
> attend)
> and subsequent discussion seems to have provoked. However these latest
> emails (plus an email that just was sent out by CAS of Harold Cohen
> featured in this months Country Life magazine) remind me of a time  
> just
> pre-90's when I first met Harold Cohen. Me in London fresh out of Art
> School making drawings (and some animations) variously on whatever I  
> could
> get my hands on (Nimbus, Archimedes, Amiga 1200 & 2000). Him looking  
> for a
> research assistant in San Diego, and Harold arguing that it (ie  
> computer
> art) could not be considered properly authored unless the artist is  
> also
> programmer (Harold has been programming Aaron for 30 or so years)
> therefore I could not possibly be making art. Added to which he  
> pointed
> out that you needed to either be an artist/programmer or be married  
> to one
> (if you were a woman). As you might imagine a somewhat spirited  
> discussion
> ensued, after which we became firm friends and agreed to differ (and I
> never did become his research assistant I had neither the programming
> skills or the visa and ended up in the Art & Technology Department  
> at the
> School of the Art Institute of Chicago instead)....
>
> I've always made work with whatever makes the most sense to work with,
> from the point of view of the context (be that site, audience,  
> cultural)
> and whatever means I have at my disposal (financial, technical,
> infrastructure). For me that¹s where the surprise (and often the  
> invention
> or innovation) in the work happens. Some of what (from my  
> speedreading so
> apologies if I'm missing the subtleties of the debate here) appears to
> being referred to here might be described as anthropological. Works  
> made
> with means available in the 90's obviously don't have the same  
> cultural
> reading to an audience in 2012, it isn't just the technology but  
> also - in
> many cases - the cultural reference points (and this is obviously  
> true of
> much work that is created in any medium)
>
> A work that I (first) made in 1997 (which I think is one of the  
> reasons
> MariaLaura invited me to participate in this debate) was a piece  
> called
> 'In Conversation' [http://www.inconversation.com]. It was a work which
> connected the public space of the street with the 'public' space of  
> the
> internet (but this was a time when not so many people were yet  
> online and
> those that were at home were on a 28.8 - at most - dial up  
> connection). I
> had been making a lot of work using projection on the street as a  
> form of
> intervention (intentionally antispectacular these were intended to be
> found/stumbled across) and was keen to have the street audience take
> ownership/occupy/inhabit the work in some way. Using realplayer and
> (hidden) cameras and mics there was a live (image and audio) stream  
> from
> the street to the internet and on the internet viewers could write  
> text
> strings and send them to the street where a text to speech programme  
> would
> deliver the words through a (hidden) speaker, and various multiple  
> uneven
> timelagged conversations ensued turing the streetspace into a physical
> chatroom. This work was in a sense all about the state of the  
> technology
> (both technically and culturally) at that moment in time. The timelags
> (which wouldn't exist now in the same way) becoming a material  
> quality of
> the work, and the fact that many of the people experiencing the work  
> on
> the street were not online and this was in many cases their first  
> internet
> connected (or first chatroom) experience, gave it another quality
> altogether (surprise, disbelief and in some cases wonder), one that  
> would
> be impossible now to replicate (online anyway). It may be worth  
> mentioning
> that no one at the street end ever saw a computer - nor did they  
> have any
> (visible) interface), just a (disconnected) projected mouth to stop  
> them
> in the street and keep them standing there long enough for the
> conversation to flow. I showed the work five times in five different
> cities. The first one was Brighton in 1997, the last one Berlin in  
> 2001.
> By 2001 the image stream was colour, the passersby more familiar,  
> and for
> me the piece did not make sense to show again as it had not only
> materially changed, but the cultural context that it operated in had
> already in those four years changed beyond recognition.
>
> There were some ongoing issues (which continue to inform the way I  
> work
> and many of my works since) which came out of 'In Conversation' for me
> which directly relate to Marialaura's concerns for this theme  
> (though from
> the point of view of artist rather than curator) and these were (and  
> they
> may seem quite obvious now, but were quiet fresh then):
> Where is the work? - is it on the street, on the net or in the  
> gallery (in
> two or three of the installations there was a gallery installation  
> showing
> a live - cinema verite - feed also)
> Who (and where) is the viewer? Is it the person on the street  
> encountering
> the (disembodied) voice, the viewer on the net interacting with the  
> street
> or a third person/position, an observer watching the action and the
> conversation/s (perhaps from elsewhere in the street or in the  
> gallery)
> unfold
> Are the viewers subject or object, observer or observed?
> I also became very interested in the questions of authorship and  
> multiple
> perspective in relation to what is essentially an open structure or
> architecture within which the work or the narrative plays itself  
> out, and
> the fact that no-one anywhere ever sees the 'whole' work. It simply  
> isn't
> possible.
>
> The other thing that happened that had not happened before (and this  
> may
> sound trivial/prosaic but I think any artist who has made work with
> technology for a gallery may have some sympathy for this) is that I  
> could
> check on the work from wherever I was (ie make sure it was still
> working)...and this has been true of some of the live internet  
> streaming
> works (albeit quite different landscape and seascape works) I have  
> made
> since.
> It may also be worth mentioning that whilst it was a commissioned work
> originally (artec, lighthouse, fabrica, BN1 and supported by Pavilion
> Internet) it was actually made on a shoestring with most things  
> begged or
> borrowed. Realplayer had just come out with their first (free)  
> streaming
> server and the cameras and mics were really basic webcam type ones.  
> There
> was only one piece of custom programming (by Andi Freeman - I still  
> don't
> program) to literally join the dots/freeware together....
>
> I have no idea if this prehistory is interesting but I felt moved to
> respond to the collective moot/crumb nostalgia with a 90's case study!
> All best wishes
> Susan
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On 23/11/2012 11:38, "Simon Biggs" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> My counter arguent to this is obvious and consists of two main  
>> points.
>>
>> Firstly, there is no method by which we can de-mediate our  
>> relations with
>> things. We are mediated through and through. We are our tools and our
>> tools are us. To think otherwise is extremely idealistic;  
>> essentialist
>> and fundamentally dualist.
>>
>> Secondly, the computer is just the latest step in the evolution of  
>> human
>> language, and all that is subsequent to that (such as social form,
>> culture, knowledge, etc). If we are to dispense with computers then  
>> are
>> we to dispense with language? An interesting proposition - but also
>> ridiculous.
>>
>> I'm with Heidegger on how we should understand the relationship  
>> between
>> humans and things. They are ontologically fluid and of one another.  
>> We
>> cannot exist separate to our tools and media and what we do, and  
>> why, is
>> an inescapable function of those relations - just as we are  
>> ourselves.
>>
>> best
>>
>> Simon
>>
>>
>> On 23 Nov 2012, at 11:19, Martin John Callanan (UCL) wrote:
>>
>>> All technology must move toward the way things were before humanity
>>> began changing them: identification with nature in the manner of
>>> operation, complete mystery.
>>>
>>> Art, once so elegant, has been transformed by representation into an
>>> object, cluttered and confused not only by operating systems and
>>> applications, its once-accepted inherited discourse, but by the  
>>> words
>>> and the theories used to prescribe its very being. These  
>>> prescriptions
>>> are themselves shrouded in a language that, disconnected from the
>>> world as it is, is no longer useful. To recapture that connection,  
>>> it
>>> is necessary to find and use a tool that will leave no traces, that,
>>> in other words, will allow an unmediated relationship with the thing
>>> in itself.
>>>
>>> The problem is more serious: we must dispense with computers
>>> altogether and get used to working with tools. It can be put this  
>>> way
>>> too: find ways of using computers as though they were tools, ie, so
>>> that they leave no traces. That's precisely what our computers,  
>>> video
>>> cameras, amplifiers, web-servers, projectors, cameras, mobile  
>>> phones,
>>> etc.,  and even the internet, are: things to be used which don't
>>> necessarily determine the nature of what is done.
>>>
>>>
>>> On 23 November 2012 10:55, Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>  
>>> wrote:
>>>> There's an interesting and subtle issue here.
>>>>
>>>> Martin has distinguished between a programme and the computer it  
>>>> can
>>>> run on. However, where is the computer in this?
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> Simon Biggs
>> [log in to unmask] http://www.littlepig.org.uk/ @SimonBiggsUK  
>> skype:
>> simonbiggsuk
>>
>> [log in to unmask] Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
>> http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/  http://www.elmcip.net/
>> http://www.movingtargets.org.uk/
>> MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices
>> http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees?id=656&cw_xml=details.ph
>> p

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