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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  January 2013

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING January 2013

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Subject:

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

From:

Johannes Birringer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Johannes Birringer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 13 Jan 2013 01:10:37 +0000

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dear all
thanks for these replies, Sarah, and I'd like to follow up.

To provide a further context, I might mention that i was asked recently to write on a new  issue of a journal (IJPADM) dedicated to "choreographic documentation" processes and especially real-time processes of reccording, scoring, notating, describing, developing dance works --  to write/comment on what the practitioners propose deriving from their current choreographic work and their reflections on documenting such work (scores). [this is a project extending the research and archiving/online documenting of William Forsythe's work, in "Synchronous Objects" [http://synchronousobjects.osu.edu ] and the current follow up "Motion Bank: A Context for Moving Ideas" developed in Frankfurt, http://motionbank.org/en/] 

I quote from one choreographer team's' introduction:

"“77 Choreographic Proposals: documentation of the evolving mobilization of the term choreography” emerged from our co-taught workshop, Out-Score/In-Score, during the 3rd German Dance Education Biennale 2012, as a means to document a collective questioning process, with the participants, of what choreography is and what more choreography can be. Through a daily practice of responding to the question “What if choreography is…?” we were engaging with choreographic possibility, rather than fixing the term or coming to a consensus about the definition. Over the course of the workshop, the anonymous hand-written responses (from us and the participants) were collected and posted on the studio wall in an ever-shifting landscape of the term choreography....
Derived from our experiences working with choreographers Deborah Hay and William Forsythe respectively, the Out-Score/In-Score workshop engaged with how scored proposals (as scripts, maps, and props) couple with choreographic direction (spoken, read, real-time and/or remembered) to generate performance. The workshop was initiated by Scott deLahunta, director of Motion Bank , as a means to reflect upon recent work within the team’s projects—Jeanine on the current project with Deborah Hay and Liz from Synchronous Objects for One Flat Thing Reproduced/Dance Engaging Science. It was intended both to look at the pedagogical potential of Motion Bank’s score work, as well as to support the practical research of choreography on which Motion Bank’s digital projects rests.
The theme of the 3rd German Dance Education Biennale, which took place between March 6-12, 2012 at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt was cultural heritage in dance, focusing specifically on how documentation of dance generates forms of dance and body knowledge. For us, this opened consideration of documentation as a social practice: the interactive processes through which documentation is produced, and the interactive processes through which products of documentation generate transfer of knowledge between people and over time...."


Now, nothing would prevent us from considering an exhibition such as "Radical Presence,"  or the other ones mentioned by you in earlier postings, as a "score," and it will contain scores within the score, some historical, now "preserved " as an art object, some historical but living, in the sense in which I described Benjamin Patterson re-creating "Pond" or Willam Pope L. have someone perform one of his new scores for performance, mediated of course via the exhibit and the sensuing catalogue or online documentation. And some generated in situ, new. 

Sarah observes that "getting things into print is still important for art history, but telling the story of the live events in book form isn't easy as many on this list could attest to" --  and thus in curatorial terms it becomes a challenge to look at the preserved data, objects and media that are exhibitable, and the new data and reception/enactment and performance contexts created/generated, the trace structures. 

We have also addressed in these pages the digital or internet-proper exhibitions and platforming /diffusion of art practices (new media in my mind relating to performance in a particularly complex way, as contemporary live art is instantly and immediately recorded and recordable all ontological arguments notwithstanding, and the public/audience now often gets explicitly invited to participate).

** A footnote on Synchronous Objects, a quotation I saved from researcher Norah Zuniga Shaw [soft_skinned space, 2009] 

""We created http://synchronousobjects.osu.edu  from the initial concept of a generative motion trace. Creating a trace not for preservation, not for repertory or reconstruction, not as an etymological, archaeological, historical exercise, not to recreate the experience of the piece or its genesis but to create a trace/traces of choreographic principles or what we started calling a choreographic object.
The interactive moving animations reflect on, work on, re-invent the choreographic structures in a dance. They were generated at the intersection of choreography, animation art, geography, architecture, theory, and even I suppose a form of activism in that they are reaching out to invite folks in to the dance and into some ways that we see patterns in complexity. They are a mix of analytical and creative. They seek to generate new creativity while representing a form of it (namely counterpoint in William Forsythe's One Flat Thing Reproduced). They seek to invite a certain kind of "dance readership." 

Now, an example from today, 2pm, CAM Houston, for the record: 

The artist Clifford Owens steps out into the midst of the exhibition space and lies down on the floor, in a rectangle created with black strips.  The assistant curator announces that two performances will take place, upstairs and downstairs. 
Then another assistant reads out the 'score' for the first performance, which consists of Owens inviting audience members to place his body into five different postures on the floor, each positioning prescribed and then enacted by the volunteering audience members. "You need to place my body in the middle of room facing the entrance door, the right leg crossed over the left leg, my torso leaning to the left, and my left arm supporting me head, the other arm bent over behind me, etc. "   The audience members did their best and manipulated the positions until they got it right. Applause.  etc.  Later downstairs we were in an enclosed room (adults admitted only), and Owens continues to propose scores, this time it seemed he had the score adopted from "Steffani Jemison".  The task was:  "Do something to me that you will regret, but do not apologize."  You would not believe the (playful) aggression that unloads and gets unleasehd by a majority white but also black and Latino and Asian audience in the little room.  Maybe because the artist/performer sets up a 'convention' that allows acting out within the (contained) (containable) room of a museum, and then things happen and will happen.  (cf. Ono: Cut Piece.  Abramovic, Rhythm O). Owens then suggests, take out your cell phones and photograph me, post the image on your facebook..... Whoosh, out come the cellphones, everyone clicks. 


This invitation to manipulate the "art object/body" and record it and post it instantly makes me wonder how we will thematize performance and new media art in preservationist or archival-digital terms for the "long run" as i asked last time, as this long run is for me an unanswered proposition, in keeping with the unsolvable issue of "cataloguing" a time art exhibition that includes many temporaral/ephemeral events - or events that used to be considered ephemeral (anthologized and re-performable too.  Owens's pieces, today, apparently are from a work cycle called "Anthology").

The choreographers I quoted above, for example, raise this important caveat:  

<This is very interesting in relation to the digital medium that Oral Site [http://www.oralsite.be]  is employing. Internet is a far less durable medium than originally thought of. You once said that internet-based initiatives as Oral Site and Sarma (Sarma is the producer of Oral Site, and a webbased workplace for artistic research) are fragile, running around with a death certificate. The date of its extinction is unknown, but it for sure has an expiring date. Why do you make this double movement? Isn’t this some sort of double nostalgia? First you give space to fragile, ephemeral material, and you do it with so much effort, etc, but at the same time you put it in an unstable environment, and it risks to get lost again.>[Myriam Van Imschoot]

And one final impression I leave you with, namely of audience behavior I observed today.

I watched one of the Chinese digital animations again, a fascinating and difficult piece shown in the UNFINISHED COUNTRY: NEW VIDEO FROM CHINA exhibit:   Sun Xun's "Some Actions Which Haven't been Defined Yet in the Revolution", 2011, animation, 12:22 minutes.  I was alone watching, then a preservationist woman visitor entered the room, sat down, and started capturing a few stills of the work with her cell phone, about 16 shots, she then got up and left after 3 minutes, not bothering to even watch the whole piece. 

what is happening here?  selective documentation as a social media practice?


with regards
Johannes Birringer

(apologies for long text)


- - - - - -

[...]  Sarah schreibt
>>
This is an ongoing consideration, and while new media art can learn much from how performance and live art has made it into the institution of the museum over the years, I suppose we could now consider how new exhibitions of 'intermedia' art can learn from the recent histories of the exhibition of new media art. The exhibition sounds good but I'm guessing from your question that there isn't an online component to the show or the inclusion of recent new media art based on performance actions?

> PS. I called the CAM and they tell me a catalogue of the exhibition will be forthcoming after all the live events have passed.

Good. With pictures? with narrative descriptions such as the one you've given us of the live event you attended? With audience feedback? It seems getting things into print is still important for art history, but telling the story of the live events in book form isn't easy as many on this list could attest to.

> PS 2:  Notably, the museum incorporates happening, dance, fluxus and performance into "black visual art" thus writing a new history, yes?

Sounds like it! Blurring of categories is usually a good thing when a show is well curated (Ref. The Robert Breer show held recently at BALTIC - an artist always understood as either a film-maker, or a sculptor, or a painter, but never as someone whose practices wove between and around different media, until now).
>.

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