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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  December 2012

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING December 2012

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Subject:

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

From:

Beryl Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Beryl Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 7 Dec 2012 11:27:03 +0000

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Dear List,

Thanks Marc and everyone for getting this back on track - as this is a mid-Nov to mid Dec theme, it would be great if it continue until we all fall over with festive exhaustion! 

As I labour over a book about collecting after new media, I really appreciated these points about 'context', as this seems like a major differentiation between new media and other kinds of contemporary art, although as Johannes points out, performance also needs to deal with process, context and time. 

So, in the light of these points, I'd be curious to hear from people (especially this month's invited respondents) about examples where online curatorial 'context' has been presented in a different way from offline 'context'?

Yours,

Beryl

P.S. Thanks Domenico and Vuk for your posts - I'd encourage your own responses too to how this relates to Marialaura's theme about online/offline as both your areas intersect with that. As the more general theme of 'is new media part of contemporary art' can be a contentious one that runs and runs, I'd encourage responses that are purely about that directly to Domenico's online article, as otherwise I'll feel too guilty if poor Marialaura's theme gets sidetracked again! 

Domenico's online article:
http://rhizome.org/editorial/2012/dec/6/whats-really-specific-about-new-media-art-curating/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rhizome-fp+%28Rhizome+%3E+Front+Page%29



On 28 Nov 2012, at 19:05, marc wrote:

> Hi Marialaura,
> 
> I've enjoyed reading the contributions so far...
> 
> >...your idea of interface seems to be related to your intent to bring
> >in external trajectories related to discourses that are not necessarily
> >part of fine art discourses and are related to the socio-cultural and
> >economic environment in which we live in. An interface which acts as a
> >centre of attraction (and/or dissemination) for other issues that the
> >works you have presented touch upon, and here I am thinking of your
> >co-commission with AND Festival of the project A Crowded Apocalypse
> >by IOCOSE. I wonder if you have something to say about commissioning
> >this work, presenting it, as well as the work itself in relation to
> >this notion of the 'interface'?
> 
> Yes, you've got a point. The intentions behind this mental shift, directly relate to finding ways to present a flexible context for the work we are showing at the Furtherfield space. It is a mixture of having a feeling about much of the art work we have been engaged with, and also realising if we wanted to communicate to people who were not used to visiting art galleries, or viewing art coming from the media art field; that it was necessary to find a different way to meet people half-way. Wowing people with how great the technology was, just seemed a bit lame. Most of the art work we've been presenting, either had something to say or was exploring things at deeper levels, and there were fascinating stories to share.
> 
> A renegotiation had to take place. For a while now, we've not been interested in showing art for technology's sake, as a singular theme or item of interest. But, we still wanted to work with artists engaged in using technology at various levels. And knowing this work is 'contemporary art' (whatever the mainstream art franchisers prefer to highlight, as their 'genius' products) another approach was needed.
> 
> At one level, it's about having continual dialogue with artists who are making these works themselves on an everyday basis, which is always stimulating and an extremely rich resource. For us, artists are the real source, just as much as code is source material. Whether these artists are making work in terms of hacktivism, geeky stuff or performance; we view their roles as explorers. They bring back to us what they have discovered through their creative endeavours and journeys, which means we have to find ways in representing the work on their terms, and in ways that others can engage with. Which brings me to the concept of the 'interface' once more. We do not wish the work to be contained within a space but at the same time it is in a space, so by allowing as much 'in' from the outside world (physical, cultural and virtual) as possible (respecting the context of what the work asks for); other people then, tend to relate to it and are not even bothered whether it is art or not, but accept it as art (because it is), and are very interested in the ideas that these art works are exploring, discovering or communicating.
> 
> We are not telling anyone this is great art - instead, we are sharing our discoveries of other people's journeys, whom happen to be artists. We think it is great art, but definitely not in terms of how the traditional art world sees art. Again, this may not be appropriate for other curators and the artists they work with, but this works best for us and those who come to visit the shows, events and workshops. It's also, important to us that we are not playing the colonial game of educating the peasants, we are the peasants, and mutual emancipation is part of the process, we're learning about this amazing stuff together.
> 
> Regarding A Crowded Apocalypse by IOCOSE. We had already worked with them before in Furtherfield's older space the 'HTTP@ gallery, when in 2010 we hosted the UK premiere of 'In the Long Run', (http://www.furtherfield.org/exhibitions/long-run) produced by Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art (Ljubljana) as part of the platform RE:akt!.
> 
> Nearly all of their works relate to human behaviour but with a twist. To me, (my opinion here) they are like a collective of David Cronenberg's, but seriously interested in networked culture at the same time. Some of their art work features disease, mutation, anxieties and fear; and our relationship with technology at a raw, and phenomenological level. And, similar to Cronenberg's early themes, it touches on issues of transformation and contamination as forces involving technologies of power, are also closely entwined with fantasy and post-utopian realisations. Even though IOCOSE's work exploits computer networks, it also expresses a visceral edge.
> 
> I think what is interesting regarding IOCOSE's level of politcal attention in their art works, is they are not proposing any particular view point (politically) and are pulling out selected items in which they observe as part of a larger set of themes - some of it's primordial and wild, with questions relating to our sensory experiences and assumed certainty, and some it connects with recognising that the structures around us whether they be solid, networked or close family ties, these archetypal, inter-relations are vulnerable and unnervingly transient.
> 
> It was great to be collaborating with the (excellent) AND Festvial. Plus, we were very interested in working with IOCOSE again. A Crowded Apocalypse (http://www.iocose.org/works/a_crowded_apocalypse) was part of the 'Invisible Forces' exhibition (http://www.furtherfield.org/programmes/exhibition/invisible-forces) at the Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park, North London in June 2012.
> 
> The piece sat well with the Invisible Forces theme "Our social, economic and cultural institutions are being dismantled. Control over the provision of social care, urban and rural development, and education is being ceded to the market facilitated by unseen technological and bureaucratic systems. Undeterred, the artists in this exhibition meet the challenges that ensue with clear eyes, spontaneity, experimentation and a sense of adventure. This selection of installations, digital video, net art, painting and drawings deal with conspiracy, money, politics and hidden signals."
> 
> The art works added the real 'context' and 'meaning' to the show. Of course, we chose the theme, but the artists were asking similar questions in their work. Invisible Forces also featured the works of Kimathi Donkor, Laura Oldfield Ford, Dave Miller, Edward Picot, and YoHa with additional game events, talks and workshops with Class Wargames, The Hexists, Olga P Massanet and Thomas Cade Aston.
> 
> When working with IOCOSE, not only were we all interested in trying to find the best way to present the work, we were also continually discussing the ideas behind the work. This was important, because knowing it's intentions, reasonings, non-reasonings helped us understand the deepr nuances and how we could create an engagement with the public, so it was appreciated on IOCOSE's terms but also not obscured by it's complexities. Not easy, but it worked. At the same time AND Festvial, asked me to interview IOCOSE for their web site. I had already interviewed them in 2010 on Resonance FM, Furtherfield's (then) weekly arts broadcast (http://www.furtherfield.org/radio/07112010-iocose-and-owen-bowden).
> 
> The AND Festival interview 'Crowdsourcing a conspiracy' (http://www.andfestival.org.uk/blog/iocose-garrett-interview-furtherfield/), was another opportunity to find out more about the ideas behind 'A Crowded Apocalypse'.
> 
> In respect of showing works on-line and off-line. We present both, which works well. In the end it's up the art itself to stand up for itself to initiate dialogue and interest, whatever the medium.
> 
> Thanks for your time & wishing you well.
> 
> marc
> 
> 
> 
> > Thank you Anna, Marc and Mark for describing your projects in such an in-depht manner. Mark feel free to talk more about your remixthebook and Reihard about the disadvantages of presenting web-based art, as I am sure their will bring into the discussion more food for thoughts!
> >
> > Marc, I think you brought up something very interesting for this discussion. Something the I have been thinking about for a while in relation to how to overcome the often still existing conceptual/ontological distinction between online and offline exhibitions - which probably the topic of this month might seem to reinforce since it stresses the need to analyse the workings of curatorial work online, but this stress is my starting point to look at the relationship and similarities between these two modes of curatorial/artistic work.
> >
> > So, you talk about 'transversal experiences' - which is something that also Anna stresses in the presentation of her work with/at Radio MACBA -, 'outer dialogues which are connected' to a work, its presentation,  which are now more present to the way we experience exhibitions. And I think this is something you achieve very well with your shows at Furtherfield, opening them up to discourses that 'operate outside of the fine arts tradition' - to use Mark's description when talking about his own practice. So here we are with your definition of exhibition as 'interface', 'a representation of current thought and experiments which communicate or relate beyond the object itself. We witness the continuation of an artist's or an art group's journey, displaying their discoveries and where they are at various moments. This has much to do with technology never standing still.' I am not really making a point here - as I don't have one yet - but the way you define this interface resonates with me because I know it is related to a practice - yours - which does not understand interface as bringing together multi-selsorial exhibitions in order to parallel our online experiences - as for example the speakers in the Guardian video that Bronac proposed to us seems to suggest - Rather, your idea of interface seems to be related to your intent to bring in external trajectories related to discourses that are not necessarily part of fine art discourses and are related to the socio-cultural and economic environment in which we live in. An interface which acts as a centre of attraction (and/or dissemination) for other issues that the works you have presented touch upon, and here I am thinking of your co-commission with AND Festival of the project A Crowded Apocalypse by IOCOSE. I wonder if you have something to say about commissioning this work, presenting it, as well as the work itself in relation to this notion of the 'interface'?
> >
> > On another note, I wonder if Lindsay might want to talk about her project dump.fm/IRL which to me seems to directly link to this idea of exhibition as interface with a focus on experimenting with the relationship between the online/offline?
> >
> > To end this series of thoughts, I would like to quote what Vito Campanelli wrote in his book Web Aesthetics in which he discusses the relationship between form and content in relation to web aesthetics and says that in order to answer to the question 'what does form mean in relation to the web?' it is necessary to introduce the concept of interface; "the interface is a fiction, a form that pretends that data can be held steady [...] the interface given to the subject's senses is nothing but a contingent, momentary form, a form that in that very moment seems to fix a more or less well-defined set of data [...] data that in actuality are always flowing".
> >
> > Thank you,
> > Marialaura
> >
> 
> 
> -- 
> --
> Other Info:
> 
> Furtherfield - A living, breathing, thriving network
> http://www.furtherfield.org - for art, technology and social change since 1997
> 
> Also - Furtherfield Gallery&  Social Space:
> http://www.furtherfield.org/gallery
> 
> About Furtherfield:
> http://www.furtherfield.org/content/about
> 
> Netbehaviour - Networked Artists List Community.
> http://www.netbehaviour.org
> 
> http://identi.ca/furtherfield
> http://twitter.com/furtherfield


------------------------------------------------------------

Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art
Research Student Manager, Art and Design
MA Curating Course Leader http://www.berylgraham.com/macurat/

Faculty of Arts, Design, and Media, University of Sunderland
The David Puttnam Media Centre, St Peter's Way, Sunderland, SR6 0DD 
Tel: +44 191 515 2896    Fax: +44 191 515 2132

CRUMB web resource for new media art curators http://www.crumbweb.org
Recent books:
* Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media (2010)  from MIT Press
http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=12071
* A Brief History of Curating New Media Art, and A Brief History of Working with New Media Art (2010) from The Green Box http://www.thegreenbox.net
*  Euphoria & Dystopia: The Banff New Media Institute Dialogues (2011) from Banff Centre Press and Riverside Architectural Presshttp://www.banffcentre.ca/press/39/euphoria-and-dystopia.mvc

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