I think the article by Pobric is worth spending a little time on here not because it's an isolated snarky review, but because it represents a view that is (in my experience) fairly common in the mainstream art world. Usually, it's not expressed so bluntly as that comes off as nasty (not to mention ironically attentive to new media art) but rather more subtly as to make it seem just un-cool to "still" be talking about new media art. I think the attitudes that happen underneath the surface of the open discourse are fascinating and of course influence important decisions.
Christiane Paul is working on a new book from Blackwell with a chapter on the relationship between digital art and institutions that should further the conversation in this area (Jon already plugged our new book so I thought I'd take the chance to plug a different book in which several CRUMBers will appear :)
I agree with Nick that Pobric was unwise to posit new media art, perhaps inadvertently, within the classic post-colonial framework of center/periphery because those who live in glass houses..... As for Pobric going on about what activist art does/not directly influence other world events, well, even Marx admitted that there exists a differential between society's economic base structures and it's cultural super-structures. It happens.
And I share Marialaura's concern about the erasure of new media art's history as a potential by-product of this article/view/attitude. The ongoing mainstreaming of new media art has many benefits, not least of which is to engage a new generation of artists and curators with the intellectual toolkit of art historical methodologies (and vice versa.) But something is being lost when new media art is denied existence as a legitimate or discrete subject; when it is assimilated into the art world only one-by-one as "contemporary" artworks and not studied as the collective tangled mix of media/artworks/technology/theory/industry/practice/community that it is.
Samek Art Museum
Lewisburg, PA, 17837
> Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 05:35:13 +0200
> From: Oliver Grau <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Antw: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] An article that doesn't understand new media art | An Archive that does
> Dear colleagues,
> I couldn't agree more with Jon and others: We should not be frustrated
> by ignorant articles of people writing for the Art Market, which has
> other interests.
> Over the last fifty
> years, media art has evolved
> into a vivid cultural expression. Although there are well attended
> collaborative projects, discussion forums and databases (Da Costa and
> Kavita 2010; Dixon 2007; Gardiner 2010; Grau 2003 and
> 2011; Popper 2007; Shanken 2009;
> Sommerer and Mignonneau 2007; Vesna 2007; Wilson 2010), media art is
> still too rarely collected by museums,
> barely supported within the mainframe of art history and with relatively
> low accessibility for the public
> and scholars. As we know, compared to traditional art forms – painting
> sculpture – digital media art, has a multifarious potential of
> expression and
> visualization; and therefore, although underrepresented at the art
> market that
> follows other interests and commercial logics, it became a ‘legitimate
> art of
> our time’. Media addresses a variety of complex topics and challenges
> for our
> life and societies, like genetic engineering (Anker and Nelkin 2003;
> 2008; Kac 2009; Reichle 2005) and the rise of post human bodies
> (Hershman-Leeson 2007), globalisation and ecological crises (Himmelsbach
> 2007, Cubitt 2005, Demos 2009, Borries 2011),
> the explosion of human knowledge, the image and media revolution (Grau
> Mitchell 2011), the change towards virtual financial economies, and new
> extremes of surveillance of all human communication (Ozog 2008).
> We therefore should not stop communicate, that digital art is able to
> deal with the big issues of our time, all thematized on festivals and
> meanwhile 200 biennials all over the world. We should not count on the
> art market, but we should remind our tax financed museum system (in
> Europe) that it is their job, by law, to document, collect and preserve
> the relevant art of the time - as we know, the museum system, founded in
> the 18th century, ideal to preserve the media of its time (sculpture,
> painting etc.) is not in the situation to fulfill their job. But many
> museums are fully aware that this is the case - like TATE - where I
> could give a lecture on the topic a few weeks ago. The museum system has
> to reorganize to catch up with the digital age. There are thousands of
> digital art works, shown around the world, which received an endless
> number of articles and lectures, who never made it into the collections
> payed by us. Some you find in the archive of digital art:
> Many regards,
> Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. habil. Oliver Grau
> Chair Professor for Image Science
> DONAU UNIVERSITÄT
> Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Strasse 30
> 3500 Krems, AUSTRIA
> Tel. +43 (0) 2732 893 2550
> Archive of Digital Art www.digitalartarchive.at
> Graphische Sammlung Goettweig-Online www.gssg.at
> New Publication: Oliver Grau (Ed.): Imagery in the 21st Century,
> Cambridge, MIT-Press 2013.
> On Fri, 20 Jun 2014 Marialaura Ghidini wrote:
>> I am concerned too with "invisibility" of excellent work....Some
> projects are not even browsable anymore even if done less than 10 years
> ago. And I feel that this is bringing out so many interesting positions
> that would not necessarily come to light if these people were not
> Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 08:48:28 +0000
> From: Beryl Graham <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: An article that doesn't understand new media art | A book that does
> Dear List,
> In relation to this recurring debate about whether we need curators, critics and journalists who actually have knowledge of new media art, or whether we have achieved the ‘post-media’ condition, I’m not convinced that much has changed since we wrote Rethinking Curating.
> This was discussed at MuseumNext in Gateshead recently, albeit in relation to whether museums need ‘digital officers’ for their education and marketing any more. Kati Price from V&A has written a nice piece here, which I’m referencing rather proudly because she cites CRUMB researcher, artist Victoria Bradbury.
> I’m becoming very interested in who cites who in publications, because that is the way art history is made. I was rather amused that one of the publisher’s internal reviews for Rethinking Curating criticised the book for citing too many other people rather than having a singular theoretical position!
> On 25 Jun 2014, at 23:55, Jon Ippolito <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Marialaura et al.,
>> Because what goes uncontested is often taken for truth, I believe we need to continue to make the case for the relevance of new media art in those places least likely to believe it, namely the hidebound art world.
>> I don't think that case is hard to make. Some on this list will be familiar with a little number-crunching from the essay "Out of the Hothouse and into the World" that concludes the Met has 2.5 visits per artwork while Rhizome has 7,000.
>> As far as the seemingly unstoppable disintegration of new media art, I invite practitioners everywhere to consider some of the radical strategies proposed in the book Re-Collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory, which just hit the shelves this week.
>> From emulation to DNA storage to proliferative preservation, co-author Richard Rinehart and I hope the book will open new attitudes and toolkits for amateur and professional preservators alike.
>> Jon Ippolito
>> Professor of New Media
>> Co-director, Still Water
>> Director, Digital Curation graduate program
>> The University of Maine
>> 406 Chadbourne
>> Orono, ME 04469-5713
>> Tel: 207 581-4477
>> Fax: 207 581-4357
>> Twitter: @jonippolito
>> On Fri, 20 Jun 2014 Marialaura Ghidini wrote:
>>> I am concerned too with "invisibility" of excellent work....Some projects are not even browsable anymore even if done less than 10 years ago. And I feel that this is bringing out so many interesting positions that would not necessarily come to light if these people were not practitioners.
> Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art
> CRUMB web resource for new media art curators http://www.crumbweb.org
> Research Student Manager, Art and Design
> MA Curating Course Leader http://www.macurating.net
> 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
> Recent books:
> New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences Ashgate
> Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media MIT Press
> A Brief History of Curating New Media Art The Green Box
> Euphoria & Dystopia: The Banff New Media Institute Dialogues Banff Centre Press and Riverside Architectural Press
> Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 22:11:46 +0100
> From: Marialaura Ghidini <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: article which mis-understands internet art, again?
> Thanks Mez and Jon for the links.
> I look forward to reading re-collection too!
> Till next time,
> On 25 Jun 2014, at 00:42, mez breeze wrote:
>> Hi Marialaura,
>> More about the "net.art Painters and Poets" Exhibition can be found here:
>> 1. Official Gallery description: http://www.mgml.si/en/city-art-gallery/future-exhibitions/net-art-painters-and-poets/
>> 2. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt3y6xR0L-A
>> 3. National TV coverage [in Slovenian]: http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/kultura/17428 + http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/osmi-dan-prispevki/174282914
>> On Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 6:59 PM, Marialaura Ghidini <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I am very interested in the "net.art Painters and Poets" exhibition you mentions. Have you visited it? Do you have more information? There's not much I can find out on the website..
>> | facebook.com/MezBreezeDesign
>> | twitter.com/MezBreezeDesign
>> | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mez_Breeze
> End of NEW-MEDIA-CURATING Digest - 25 Jun 2014 to 26 Jun 2014 (#2014-104)