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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  February 2013

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING February 2013

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Subject:

Reading the Network

From:

Helen Pritchard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Helen Pritchard <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 00:10:59 +0800

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Hello,

Thankyou Roddy for the invitation to be part of this discussion and also thanks to the other respondents for their comments and thoughts so far…I have a few tentative notes and responses and I want to start first of all with the notion of diffraction...

What is interesting about the questions you are posing is that in a way it sets up a space for productively reading ‘network culture’, ‘curating’ and ‘Fluxus’ through each other - as an affirmative process.  Which could perhaps be thought of as the process that Donna Haraway and Karen Barad have described as 'diffraction'. [1]. As Barad explains diffraction is a productive methodology and 

" a method of diffractively reading insights through one another, building new insights, and attentively and carefully reading for differences that matter in their fine details, together with the recognition that there intrinsic to this analysis is an ethics that is not predicated on externality but rather entanglement. Diffractive readings bring inventive provocations; they are good to think with. They are respectful, detailed, ethical engagements." [2]

Diffraction as a methodology is something we are currently exploring in the work I am undertaking with Jane Prophet [3], Winnie Soon [4] and Fran Perona [5] at the School of Creative Media, City University Hong Kong. In our research we have become increasingly interested in considering not just ‘reading’ the blind spots of theory against each other but also diffracting ‘practices’ through each other such as diffracting arts practice through the practice of nano science or the practice of archiving through the practice of network art.  

Diffraction as Iris Van der Tuin explains, “is meant to disrupt linear and fixed causalities, and to work toward ‘‘more promising interference patterns’’ [6].  It is practiced by reading one text through another text and the rewriting. Disrupting the temporality of the piece and opening up meanings in new contexts. 

I bring up this idea of diffracting practices through one another in response to Clive’s earlier comments about the possibility for curating as the network as a practice of ‘caring’ for the/a network/s and Marc’s suggestion that much of the work they engage with at furtherfield, artists/collectives such as YOHA and Platform, “meet, not through style or as part of a field of practice, but as contemporary artistic practitioners exploring their own states of agency in a world where our ‘public’ interfaces are as much a necessary place of creative engagement”. It also relates to Ken's comments outlining the question "what is a network?" and perhaps - how we begin to become attuned to what a network is/and or might be otherwise. The matter of becoming attuned - is something I was alerted to recently in discussion with Kathryn Yusoff [7]. 

It seems to me that many artists that engage with network ecology often use the methodology of diffraction to become attuned to its performativity - to what it includes or excludes in what Adrian Mckenzie might describe as the processes of circulation [8].  Artists often diffract one practice through another to expose its blind spots - such as in the network reading group work “Common Practice” initiated by Magda Tyżlik-Carver [9]. In this work online reading practices are diffracted through the practice of curating and the practice of “commoning”. Not in order to control, order or stabilise these reading practices but as a way to become attuned to both limitations and the indeterminate possibilities of both networks and curating. 

As  Magda explains “ the subject of my research which proposes to understand curating in/as common/s. If the common, as Hardt and Negri say (256), is discovered and produced through joyful encounters, then perhaps writing about curating in/as common/s should be also done with others. [10]

- more soon :)
Helen 

[1] Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke UP, 2007
[2] http://quod.lib.umich.edu/o/ohp/11515701.0001.001/1:4.3/--new-materialism-interviews-cartographies?rgn=div2;view=fulltext
[3] http://www.janeprophet.com/
[4] http://www.siusoon.com/home/
[5] http://www.francescaperona.com/
[7] http://www.lec.lancs.ac.uk/people/Kathryn_Yusoff
[8] Adrian Mackenzie, 'The Performativity of Code: Software and Cultures of Circulation', Theory, Culture & Society_, vol. 22, no. 1, London: Sage, 2005, pp. 71-92.
[9] http://www.magda.thecommonpractice.org/index.php?/projects/common-practicecode/
[10] http://www.aprja.net/?p=460

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