[-empyre-] the paradox between control and losing control - isaac mao

Robin Peckham ra.peckham at gmail.com
Sat Nov 27 00:24:00 EST 2010

I've unfortunately reached the end of my time active on the list here
this month as I'm now on the road, so I won't be able to answer in as
much detail as I would have liked, but I would like to point to a few
directions that I think our coming curatorial research into new media
art forms in China might wish to approach.

1. More situated research methods. At present many of our modes of
research, as Li Zhenhua has demonstrated with the links he has been
posting this month, involve externally-determined collections of data
on artists: that is to say, locating artists already assumed to be
working in new media in some way, and then asking them questions about
their practices as if the activities of these artists constitute an a
priori field of media art. I believe it would be constructive to take
a more nuanced theoretical approach to the arts of new media as they
function here, attempting to fit various curatorial models to the
presently existing situation of artistic practice rather than allowing
the works and ideas of a certain group of artists to overly influence
our impressions.

2. Return to exhibition construction. This appears to be an
appropriate time to move curating back into the white cube, at least
partially--with the failure of the eArts festival and, to a lesser
degree, the Waterland Kwanyin circuit it would seem that China now
experiences a fortunate reprieve from the circuit of media festivals.
Curating, with regard to new media, has moved much too far away from
exhibition practice, and many artists working with an interest in
technologies and media forms lack potential platforms on which to
present these ideas in the (non-spectacular) exhibition format.

3. A media historical/ visual studies approach. As I mentioned
previously, the "brief" historical moment of media art in China is
often assumed to imply that such practices emerge out of a vacuum,
which of course is absurd. Unlike the situations of Western Europe and
the U.S., where fields of media archaeology and visual studies have
provided a rich historical and social background to more explicit art
histories, very little of this work has actually been carried out in
China, particularly for the period prior to 1949. My personal research
has been taking me increasingly toward pre-cinema modes of viewing,
which I believe will ultimately provide a fascinating basis upon which
to analyze our current viewing practices: relating, for example, the
viewing "event" of the literati scroll to later forms of moving
imagery, and eventually our digital scrolling practices on Art-Ba-Ba
and elsewhere.

Just a couple quick thoughts, unfortunately, but I look forward to
seeing how others conclude these conversations over the coming days.

All best,

Robin Peckham
Society for Experimental Cultural Production
2/F 716 Shanghai St., Mongkok, Kowloon, H.K.
+852 5181 5156

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 3:21 PM, Melinda Rackham
<melinda.rackham at rmit.edu.au> wrote:
> The idea of (intimate?) nuanced intellectually engaging work is
> alluring.. and for clarity i useually use the term "emerging practices"
> or "emerging artforms" to cover a wealth and breath of mediated,
> distributed and constructed concepts environments and objects eg the
> parallel conceptual and material merging of media art and diy
> traditional craft practices. Could you post an example of the sort of
> emerging practices you are speaking of?
> best wishes
> Melinda
> Melinda Rackham
> Melinda Rackham
> Adjunct Professor
> School of Media and Communications
> RMIT University
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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