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Dear List,

It is my pleasure to announce the February 2013 Theme of the Month.

‘Curating the Network as Artwork’

In 1968, artists George Brecht and Robert Filliou co-created 'The Eternal Network'. Arguably, this network was itself an artwork and vice versa. Filliou in particular explored how this network-as-artwork could enable collaboration, exchange and dialogue across space and time. More than solely a means of distribution or medium of production, 'The Eternal Network' became for him a conceptual context for ‘permanent creation’ (Filliou 1996). Filliou’s project is one example of many in which artists inhabit networks as systems of communication and exchange (Grundmann 1984; Saper 2001). These networks are attractive to artists as decentralised or distributed environments bypassing institutional curatorial spaces. There is then often a political as well as aesthetic dimension to the attractiveness of networks-as-artworks. This may now, however, be undermined by a dependence of these networks upon the internet which has been argued to be ‘the most material and visible sign of globalisation’ (Manovich 2001, 6). Lovink (2002) has cited the view that the ‘pace [of globalisation] has increased with the advent of new technologies, especially in the area of telecommunications’ and so artists, activists and commercial, corporate players alike have employed online networks in search of their respective ‘utopias’. Lovink elaborates on this irreconcilability later that ‘we need to develop a long-term view on how networked technologies should and should not be embedded in political and cultural practices’. (Lovink 2012, 160) How far has the ‘globalism’ of communication sought by Filliou and others been supplanted by ‘globalisation’ in its neoliberal, doctrinal sense? (Chomsky 1999). Can the network as artwork be effective beyond conceptualisation in material terms? How can we rethink curatorial strategies in respect of the network-as-artwork’s media of production, means of distribution and experience of reception? In short, how can we find ways to curate 'The Eternal Network' after globalisation?
 
References:
Chomsky, Noam. 1999. Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order. New York: Seven Stories Press.
Filliou, Robert. 1996. From Political to Poetical Economy. Vancouver: Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery.
Grundmann, Heidi. 1984. Art and Telecommunication. Vancouver: Western Front / Vienna: BLIX
Lovink, Geert. 2002. “A Ramble through Theories of Globalization”. Available at http://geertlovink.org/texts/a-ramble-through-theories-of-globalization/.
Lovink, Geert. 2012. Networks Without a Cause: A Critique of Social Media. Cambridge: Polity.
Manovich, Lev. 2001. The Language of New Media. MIT press.
Saper, Craig J. 2001. Networked Art. St Paul: University of Minnesota Press
 
Invited respondents are:

Annie Abrahams
Artist who questions the possibilities and the limits of communication in general and more specifically investigates its modes under networked conditions. 
http://bram.org/info/aa.htm

Zeigam Azizov
Artist born in Azerbaijan, based in London. Studied art and philosophy in Russia, France and UK. His work addresses the question of cross-circulations of knowledge through images. Exhibitions include Venice Biennale, Tate Modern, Haus der Kunst, München, Grazer Kunstverein, TN Probe, Tokyo, ICA London and Lakeside Kunstraum, Klagenfurt.
http://zeigamazizov.com/

Mideo M. Cruz
Cross-disciplinary artist-organizer based in Manila and Southeast Asia. Network projects critiquing globalisation include New World Disorder in addition to performances internationally. 
http://www.mideo.tk/

Barnaby Dicker
Artist-filmmaker, researcher, lecturer and curator. He holds a doctorate in experimental stop-frame cinematography and teaches on BA Film Production at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham and the Royal College of Art, London. He is a founder member of Art’s Birthday Wales, which annually celebrates Robert Filliou’s fifty year-old proposition.
http://artsbirthdaywales.tumblr.com

Ken Friedman
University Distinguished Professor at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. Since 1966, Friedman has been active in Fluxus. Theory, Culture, and Society recently published Friedman's reflections on Fluxus at the 50-year mark. The full text is available free at: http://tcs.sagepub.com/content/29/7-8/372

Marc Garrett
Artist, curator, writer, activist, educator and musician. Co-Founder & Co-Director, Furtherfield, London and currently doctoral researcher in Art, Technology and Social Change at Birkbeck, University of London.
http://www.furtherfield.org/user/marc-garrett

Ingo Günther
Artist and journalist based in New York. Studied Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology in Frankfurt, graduated from Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Founded Eastern Europe's first public access non-commercial TV station. The social geography project Worldprocessor is now in its 24th year. 
http://ingogunther.com

Iliyana Nedkova
Curator and writer. Creative Director (Contemporary Art) at Horsecross, Perth and Research Curator at CCA, Glasgow
http://www.horsecross.co.uk/about/threshold-artspace

Helen Pritchard
Artist and researcher exploring ideas of co-research, co-production and co-operation. Currently doctoral researcher at 'HighWire', Lancaster University and visiting researcher at City University, Hong Kong.
http://www.helenpritchard.info

Clive Robertson
Performance and media artist, curator and critic teaching art history, performance and cultural studies at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.
http://www.queensu.ca/art/arthistory/faculty/cRobertson.html

Scott Watson
Head and Professor of Art History, Visual Art and Theory and Director/Curator of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. 
http://www.ahva.ubc.ca/facultyIntroDisplay.cfm?InstrID=19&FacultyID=1

Looking forward to a good conversation, 

Best wishes

Roddy

CRUMB Profile: http://tinyurl.com/cm5t3bp