RE: [-empyre-] net art, state and corporate patronage

Hello everyone. After about 3 months straight of below freezing weather here in Ithaca (we've had snow on the ground since December 19), it's finally a beautiful sunny day with hints of warmth in the air--the right weather to send our off for a week of debauchery on their Spring Break.

I wanted to follow up briefly on Priamo's e-mail. For in addition to the institutional challenges faced by curators in museum and library settings, there's always the "state apparatus" to acknowledge. Priamo suggests that the state holds unusual sway over curatorial decisions and assignments in Mexico. It could be very important were we to hear from other participants of Empyre about this balancing act between state sponsorship (and censorship) and the curatorial role, as well as how this is interfaced institutionally in museums, etc.

What I also find fascinating is how Priamo links the disempowerment (or empowerment) of the curator in Mexico to the lack of an industrial backbone. His assumption is that the computer industry would play a more active role as a patron of new media were it actually producing technology in Mexico. Taking off on this point, one of my disappointments is the minimal role played by the computer industry in supporting my American curatorial projects when it's had the chance. Perhaps the greatest example is the only token contributions made by Apple when I first staged Contact Zones. 80% of the 65 CD-Roms were produced on Apple, just as 80% of the exhibition required Apples for its display. Yet the company pretty much passed its opportunity (and responsibility?) for patronage directly onto the show's university host, which purchased most of the computers from Apple for the exhibition (although Apple's local sales representative did generously lend the exhibition 2 used i-Macs from his very limited pool of display models).

I suppose I remain struck by Apple's relative indifference to taking up the mantle of sponsorship. For when it comes to display of digital artworks on individual computer screens, the curator is also faced with aesthetic decisions regarding design and display of the computers themselves, as the partial "ground" of the digital artwork. I found that the new i-Macs contributed greatly to the allure and attraction of the users who then subsequently found themselves enamored by the (alien for most) CD-Roms found within. My naive hope what that a show such as this might have led to more interaction with the company on other levels such as design and multimedia support in a way that might have permitted the artists who use their systems to have more communication with the designers who control the systems (we all the frustration involved with Apple's failure to make new versions of QuickTime interface easily with earlier versions, etc.)

So further thoughts on both these issues would be more than welcome

Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
285 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853

Co-Curator, CTHEORY Multimedia:

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.