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>Okay, I'm talking about video art here, but new media and networked
>practices fall prey to the same pressures. Like entrepreneurs in any branch
>of showbiz, gallerists/curators are looking to back the next star and
>accrue value to their work.

I think there's a difference between the for-profit and non-profit art
world. Galleries have to sell to survive and for museums attendance is key,
true, but the latter does not necessarily rely on the next star (at least
there's a little bit more leeway).

>Socially aware criticism does not necessarily
>help them in that task, even though it may be vitally important in
>informing us about certain modes of practice. Therefore perhaps it is not
>in certain institutions' interests to take account of such material, even
>though they may be aware of it.
>
>Having said that, ghettoes can define themselves too. The 'hermetic'
>discourse you speak of can take place, it's true. I suppose if there are
>curators that want to change this situation, they can.

I have strong doubts about that. You can engage in socially aware criticism
as a curator, you can show art forms that aren't that easily digestible but
you do not have much influence on the reception in the mainstream media
who, at least to some extent, direct public opinion. I think when it comes
to showing new art forms one has to emphasize the "educational" aspect and
organize as many panels, discussion forums etc. as possible to create
discourse outside of the media that are lacking the critical vocabulary to
deal with the art.