RE: [-empyre-] pedagogy and curating

Hi, Empyreans,

As reports of CNN polls shifted last night in the wake of Bush's
declaration of war from showing close to 50% of the American public
insisting that the US abide by UN procedures and treaties to (suddenly and
suspiciously) a drop to 33% by this morning, I find it comforting to be in
dialogue with a "soft_skinned_space."

The A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition ( has called
for tomorrow, Wednesday, March 19, to be a day of "Walkout! No Business as
Usual!"  In view of this,  I will suspend my postings tomorrow about
"Curating New Media" but I invite you all, PLEASE, to post a message
tomorrow on Empyre regarding the global implications of the broader main
topic of this month, "UNSTABLE GROUND" (I realize that this may be a breach
of Empyre protocol, but I'm hoping Christina will be in agreement).  I
would appreciate as many posts as possible from as many sites as possible
regarding your personal and national perceptions of the "unstable ground"
that promises to interrupt curatorial business as usual.  Let's make this
"Walkout!" paramount to a curatorial "Speakout!" for the day.

But for today, Tuesday, still with 36 hours left in the Bush ultimatum, I
would like to shift our attention into another arena of curatorial practice
that specifically involves pedagogy.  We've already touched on this issue,
partially thanks to Christiane, in relation to the pedagogical
responsibilities and opportunities open to curators of new media for
"framing" exhibitions in provocative and pedagogical ways.  For many of us
this has ranged from the kinds of curatorial statements with which Arthur,
Marilouise, and I frame every issue of CTHEORY MULTIMEDIA, to conferences
and colloquia discussing or deriving from our exhibitions.  Last September,
for example, in response to the CTHEORY MULTIMEDIA issue on "Wired Ruins:
Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia," Christina travelled to Ithaca along
with Marilouise, Arthur, Keith Piper, Ricardo Dominguez, Chris
Csikszentmihalyi, Patricia Zimmermann, Maurice Benayoun, and Wendy Hui
Kyong Chun, to spend a weekend discussing the relation of their projects of
"Digital Terror."  There, the presentations and discussions were not
understood to be supplemental to the artists' work, but part and parcel of
that week which has been deeply engaged in pondering through visual
presentation the vicissitudes of digital terror.

At that same moment, Norie Neumark and I were involved in a joint teaching
project that combined our seminars in Ithaca and Sydney via webstreaming
and virtual classroom software (Norie's class met on Friday morning and
mine met on Thursday night so our students could be together each week in
real time).  We were able to extend the boundaries of this post-exhibition
workshop on Digital Terror by inviting Arthur to speak with the class, and
then I asked my students to write reports of each presentation and
discussion that were posted on the course website so that Sydney students
would have access to the issues and artwork involved.  A few weeks later,
Melinda Rackham visited the class and introduced the students to her work
and the broader "curatorial" stage of Empyre.  Then when I travelled to
Japan and China for ISEA and MAAP, I was able to share reports with the
students and provide them with links to artists I'd just met so that they'd
have had a chance to visit their "studios" prior to my return with
videotape, etc.  So I'm happy to have Norie with us this week, and into
next if she can (given my curatorial declaration of "No Business As Usual"
tomorrow) to discuss the broader issues of pegagogy in a new media

Of course, we all realize that the act of putting together an exhibition
program constitutes something of a pegagogical speech act.  I always tell
my students that they should think of my syllabi in new media art as
constituting exhibition schema for classroom installation.  This is
particularly true of my classes that focus on net art, since the classroom
itself provides the kind of contextual environment for the display and
discussion of digital art that we've discussed as important for museum

Norie and I hope that her brief report of our pedagogical experience, which
she'll soon post, will result in a lively discussion of the broader
"unstable ground" on which we all work.


PS.  As a prelude to tomorrow's "No Business as Usual," I would like to
invite you to partake in an international curatorial intervention,
sponsored by, whose details I publish below:

Subject: Put a light in your window.

Dear friend,

Please join me in taking a simple action for peace.

Together with thousands of folks around the world, I'm putting
a light in my window.  If enough of us do the same, we can send
a strong message of continued opposition to war and continued
hope for peace.  It could be a Christmas string or candle, a
light bulb, or a lantern.  It's an easy way to keep the light of
reason and hope burning, to let others know that they are not
alone, and to show the way home to the young men and women who
are on their way to Iraq.

MoveOn's keeping a count of the people who are joining in this
simple act, from places all over the globe.  Please sign up now

Thank you.

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

office: 607-255-4012

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