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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  December 2012

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING December 2012

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Subject:

Re: What's (Really) Specific about New Media Art? Curating in the Information Age

From:

Domenico Quaranta <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Domenico Quaranta <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 13 Dec 2012 17:37:31 +0100

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Dear Crumbers,

thanks for your comments! I didn't want to steal the show to the very interesting debate about online curating, to which I'd love to contribute, but unfortunately I have barely the time to respond to your comments to my text. So, I will try to address briefly only the questions that are asked directly to me. But let me start with a more general consideration. I'm sure this text is weak on many levels, but the best way to destroy it is refusing to address the main topic it raises, that is the opportunity to keep addressing new media art, or whatever you want to call it, as a technology-based practice *in the first place*, and grounding its definition on the use of specific media, or of media with specific behaviors. Which is exactly what everybody did so far, complaining for the absence of informations and topics that couldn't be discussed in a 20.000 chars text without turning it into something completely different.

Coming to your responses…

Re: Andreas Broekmann

I publicly apologize for sharing your private comment. I didn't do it willingly - as I wrote you privately, I replied to the list because, for some reason, with CRUMB the automatic "reply to" botton responds to the sender, and not to the list. Sometimes one doesn't notice it and doesn't respond to the list without noticing it. Maybe this can be fixed, it doesn't happen to me with other mailing lists - usually the default option is the mailing list address.

Re: Sarah Cook

> I'll finish with just one more aside to Domenico, I wonder how familiar you are with the scholarship of curatorial studies and whether you would understand our book differently considering its address to that audience of readers?

I don't need to understand your book differently, because I couldn't love it more. I think that it is an invaluable resource that really enhanced our understanding of how to bring time-based, processual and performative art to the exhibition space. Let me say the same thing about Christiane's book, before being accused to keep it in my trash bin. What I'm questioning is just the premise that both these books share, but I think they are both incredibly useful when you *have to* deal with technology, its environments and its behaviors.

Re: Johannes Birringer

> one remembers such debates to have been quite lively in France and elsewhere surrounding Les Immatériaux, but also in other contexts (during the emergence
of alternative galleries and Projects) - and certainly also outside of the US and Europe

Thank you Johannes for pointing this out. While writing my response, I thought exactly to Les Immateriaux as an exception, but I forgot to mention it in the end. Also, I know just some interviews with Lyotard addressing this topics - if you can point to other written traces of that debate, it would be really useful, at least to me

Re: Annick Bureaud

> In the early days of "new media art", there was no "specialized media art events, usually attended by media literate people who have no concerns
about technology and its legitimacy as an art medium"

of course I agree with you - specialization developed along the years. And to some point, what you say is still true today, as Johannes Goebel clearly pointed out: at festivals and even much more online, where the "bored at work network" widely exceeds the dimensions of the art audience. I know that, when you are talking about art audiences, any word you use should be dissected but, for the scope of my text, I decided to stay on the way these terms were used in the texts I was commenting. So, to me "a generic contemporary art audience of "non experts" includes all the people who are sincerely interested in contemporary art, for any reason; and "experts" are, in Christiane Paul's words, those of them who are already familiar with new media art.

> Mentionning Documenta VII, Les immateriaux, the 1986 Venice Biennal, Mediascape at Guggenheim Soho as "exceptions"  is interesting as they were a) the biggest art fairs worldwide (Miami was not existing) and b) two of the most important contemporary/modern art museums worldwide.
This shows that the divide between contemporay art and media art was not existing.

I don't agree on this. Integration requires more than one big dedicated show every 5 or 10 years. It requires good feedback from the press and the audience, artists that - starting from there - take off a career that brings them to good galleries and museums, a regular presence of the same artists in the same venues, out of "dedicated" events, some presence in contemporary art history books. It would take a whole book to explain how and why this didn't happen, but this is how the story goes

> And it is because the "traditional contemporary art world" at some point rejected "new media art" mainly because they didn't know how to sell it that so many "specialized" places emerged, not  because the "curators" did not want to exhibit in the "white cube". And the "white cube" has been put in question by the contemporary art artists and cultural players too.

I never said that curators don't want to exhibit in the white cube, but just that sometimes they (we) are not so good at doing it. And of course, "the "white cube" has been put in question by the contemporary art artists and cultural players"… who finally ended up in it (or disappeared). But I'm not defending the white cube here, nor saying that art has to end up in there. I'm just trying to understand which is the best way in the case it wants to end up in there. 

Re: Johannes Goebel

> And indeed, being in the process of hiring a curator for "time-based visual arts" exposed to me critically how little the "mainstream academic curatorial programs" actually teach about the "reality" of the art, which CRUMB list is focused on. And I mean"reality" in the sense of beyond or before reflection (which certainly is part of reality), but knowing about the "ingredients", the "how and what" which hopefully curatorial practice in this part of the arts world should be as informed about as much as the curator for Renaissance sculpture might or should know about types of stones, Carrara or not,chisels, hammer, guilds and dust. This specific knowledge might or should be specific to curating "new media art".

Johannes, even if you won't probably ever hire me :-), I agree with you - and this is exactly why I love Sarah and Beryl's book. There is no need to defend specialization - it's already worth a lot in our society. But I also know that sometimes, for an expert, is useful to listen to amateurs; and that sometimes we just need to move a little bit around our subject and look at it from a different perspective. Maybe we just mess up things, which is also useful. But maybe things start appearing surprisingly easier from there…

My bests to you all
Domenico

---

Domenico Quaranta

email: [log in to unmask]
skype: dom_40

http://domenicoquaranta.com
http://www.linkartcenter.eu

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