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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  June 2015

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING June 2015

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Subject:

Official closure on CRUMB May panel "Curating Process": Response to curatorial practice in contemporary process-based art and HUGE THANKS FOR ALL CONTRIBUTORS!!

From:

Xiaoying YUAN <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Xiaoying YUAN <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 8 Jun 2015 19:45:21 -0400

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Dear CRUMB May panel contributors,


Today is the official closure of our panel.


In my last post, I would like first to address the issue of process
curating in the contemporary process-based art.


Millie Chen, in her post relating to the topic of the process-based art
curatorial practice, suggested us to emphasize "on how to keep a
process-based work alive for the public rather than on how to document and
conserve these works." I found Millie's suggestion meaningful for both
process-based arts in the 60s and the contemporary process art in our time.
Here, I first would like to repeat my statement on the difference between
the process-based art in 1960's and the contemporary process-based art that
we are talking about at our panel.


The "Fluxus Performance Workbook" that Ken Friedman shared in his last post
provides an excellent research resource for the Process Art Movement in the
60s. However, as I have mentioned immediately at the beginning of May
panel, what we were going to talk about here is the contemporary
process-based art that is radically different from the process-based art in
1960's. I'd like to quote Christiane Paul's definition to explain the
difference between the two process-based arts here.


Christiane Paul, by invitation, was amongst the committee board members of
my Ph.D. transfer report at the Plymouth University in the UK recently. In
her evaluation letter for my report, she made a clear distinction between
the “historical process-based art” in the 1960s and the “contemporary
process-based art” that we are discussing on the current panel. I quote:


“1. Historical process-based art, which became an explicit practice in the
1960s and took the form of instruction-based conceptual art; Fluxus and
other performative art; mail art; projects by E.A.T.; among other
manifestations. These practices did not necessarily result in any art
object and needed to be distinguished from art that takes the form of
objects (even if these objects are supposed to question the value of art,
the market etc. as the ones in When Attitudes Became Form did). One has to
be careful about defining the latter as processed based art.


2. Contemporary process-based art, which can take the form of digital media
arts or social practice or the relational art of
Tino Seghal, Rirdrit Tiravanija et al. (see Bourriaud’s "Relational
Aesthetics" and the distinctions he makes between the ‘closed linguistic’
practices of the 1960s and the ‘open social’ ones of contemporary
relational art; while I would argue with his distinctions they are
important to consider in this context). Digital media arts are (by the
nature of their medium) more process-based since they typically involve
software and often are generative, real-time, distributed, etc. Digital
media artists are very aware of and often on this nature.”


At the beginning of our panel, I repetitively emphasized that I would like
to focus our discussion on the contemporary process art that was based on
the digital media and social practice. Thanks Millie for having mentioned
Tino Seghal, Rirdrit Tiravanija’s works in the Guggenheim and MoMA
collections for case studies of the latter one. Additional to Tino and
Rirdrit, I also would like to mention Chinese artist Wang Jianwei's solo
exhibition, "Time Temple" that was on display at the Guggenheim New York
between October 31, 2014 and February 16, 2015 (
http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/past/exhibit/5826). I
consider Wang's work one of the best examples of the contemporary
process-based art in China of our time. Meanwhile, I'm glad that some of
our contributors could bring thoughtful comments on the historical
process-based art on our panel. It is interesting to see how we developed
our discussion around these two types of process-based arts to realize their
radical differences.


In terms of curation of the contemporary process-based art, Ursula
Endlicher asked at the end of her post (to me as well as to all curators
that are interested in the topic): "Do you think about showing process-based
artworks through other processes, and if yes, what kind?"


I found the answer to her question in reading Elke Reinhuber’s post. Elke's
post is very inspiring for my research as first she is still IN the process
with all emergent that could lead her to various directions with different
outcomes in her project. Second, she is both artist and curator who creates
at the same time as curates. Elke’s description on her creative process,
step by step, with all difficulties, problems that she and her team
encountered and overcame with success showed how meaningful the topic of
Curating process is for artists rather than for curators. And yes, to
answer to Ursula's question: I do think about showing process-based
artworks through other processes, and these "processes" have to be artistic
processes that only the artists can create. This is to say, we, curators,
when we try to adapt this model to curate process-based art, no matter from
the 1960s or the contemporary time, have to position ourselves at the place
of the artists.


Elke's post also reminds me of the artists I invited to work on my Curating
Process series, how much they had to think hard to track back every single
detail in the process they undertook to accomplish the project we were
trying to present, especially how the complex technical issues they came to
solve out with their team or collaborators. In the end, almost every one
raised the same question as Elke: “… if this could still be called an
artwork per se or rather a professional (movie) production with an artistic
content…,” and felt the same pressure of “succeeding, at least for the sake
of (my) sponsors, hamstring the artistic process.” Thanks for telling the
truth with such a great sense of humor, Elke!


Amongst all posts, I found LoVid's comment extremely helpful because of
LoVid's identity as both artist and curator, also because of the way they
think about their projects. LoVid's analysis on curating process practice was
brief, accurate, and efficient. It was developed in five steps:


1/ What to curate: research, inspiration, fabrication, failures, successes,
public presentations, breakfast, meetings, fundraising, trips to Home Depot.

2/ Way to curate: social media

3/ Whom to work with: organisations, institutions, interdepartmental
collaboration involving an education coordinator or public events manager)
rather than simply work with a curator* (the definition of “curator”
changed from one person to a team)*

4/ How to curate: find the right presentation, distribution, and archiving
method for each work, or body of work (case study: Reaction Bubble
commissioned by Real Art Ways: a series of public events that track our
artistic thinking, problem-solving, and production, taking the form of an
intimate talk, a participatory presentation, and coming up next: an online
discussion)

5/ Conclusion: curating a process-based project requires work in
collaboration between curator and institution: it relates tightly to the
redefinition of “curator,” “curatorial practice” and what to curate, the
“object.”


This short, clean, coherent and rational text showcases perfectly how a
curator/artist combined mind works on the contemporary process-based
project. Besides their ongoing projects in 2015, the Streaming Museum New
York is just uploading LoVid's newest project, iParad #3: Troy online under
the form of a process-based exhibition. This is a project that I'm
collaborating with Nina Colosi the founder of the Streaming Museum in a
long term, LoVid's exhibition being the third process exhibition we worked
together. We welcome you to take a look and give us your comments and
feedback!


"iParad #3: Troy" process exhibition is online at
http://streamingmuseum.org/lovid-iparade-creative-process/


I also want to thank for Marisa Jahn for having shared her book,
“Byproducts: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices” that serves as a
wonderful resource for a group of artists embedded in industry, science,
and government. The particular context allowed them to “adopt the language,
look, and feel of their ‘host’ organizations to produce artwork that is a
‘byproduct’ of a larger system. And this is the strategy that Marisa
suggests as the curatorial model to deal with contemporary process-based
art. One detail for us to pay attention to: in these cases, like Elke, the
artists are curating themselves. They did NOT need any curator in
conventional meaning to present their works.


Marisa’s cases are relating to the contemporary process art based on social
practice, which might be the most challenging art for curators to work on.
From Marisa’s description, Kristin Sue Lucas’ process was still presented
under the form of documentation (“The artwork is both the process and its
artifacts – the court transcripts, the court sketch, and other artifacts”).


I’m glad that Marisa shared Barbara Steveni and John Latham’s APG as
another precious research resource for contemporary process-based art
curating. The resource is especially important for our reflection on the
definition of “object,” the “object” in a process-based art project and the
one in the gallery.


Here, I’d like to mention the post of Laura Blereau, the director of
bitforms gallery in New York, in responding to Beryl’s update on the
presentation, promotion and collection of artists’ works. Laura’s post
doesn’t seem to me respond directly to the topic of curating new media
artist’s creative process, but is more relating to the gallery’s working
methodology and strategy between new media artists and institutions – major
museums – when they come to collect the works. And, I totally agree with
Marisa’s thinking about the power of the artifacts and its process. They
certainly have a separate life of its own, meaning relationship to its
viewer, and that’s exactly because us to set up the current panel today.


In Laura's post that discusses how to understand the curatorial practice
(or process) in new media art within a gallery framework that involves the
presentation, promotion and collection of artists’ works. Laura suggests us
to promote digital works through education, based on a “strong records of
past exhibition, interpretation and behavior, as well as recommendations
for future care/presentation. The key point for her is the huge gaps in
education at museums when it comes to presenting and conserving new media
art – because the language and story of technology evolves independently
from the narrative of art history, which creates the radical difference
between a conventional contemporary artwork (or project) and an
art/technology work/project.


This is exactly the reason for curators to give as much emphasis on the
presentation of the artists’ creative process as their final object, as
it’s the only way for the public to see and understand the core nature of
art and technology. And I agree with Laura's remark on solo show: "Solo
shows are great opportunities for curators - or curating unit as it might
refer in nowadays to the interdepartmental work of an institution or a
gallery – to develop a process-based project exhibition."


Our May panel on the theme of Curating Process ends here. I have to say
that I'm very happy, and feel extremely grateful for all contributors'
time, energy, and brainstorm for the panel. I received so many great
comments, feedback, analysis and knowledge about the theme during our
one-month discussion at the panel. It is delightful to have you as my
contributors. I learned so much from you, THANK YOU!!


My sincere gratitude addresses to the following contributors to May panel
"Curating Process:"


Bruce Wands, Elke Evelin Reinhuber, Gregory P. Garvey, Hans Tammen, John
F.Simon Jr., Laura Blereau, LoVid, Marisa Jahn, Millie Chen, Stephanie
Rothenberg, Ursula Endlicher, Victoria Bradbury, and Beryle Graham.


Huge thanks for Ken Friedman, Clive Robertson, Johannes Birringer, Simon
Poulter, and Ashok Mistry for your significant support to the panel!


My very special thanks for Alex Adriannsens, Christiane Paul and Nina
Colosi who followed our panel and contributed it in their own way!



[End]




Xiaoying Juliette Yuan 袁晓萦
Media Arts Curator
Visiting Scholar NYU Steinhardt
Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions
35 West 4th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
http://julietteyuan.net

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