[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on empyre: Rethinking Curatorial Options, Globally

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Tue Apr 10 03:42:07 EST 2012

I too would like to welcome Aram and Ellen in anticipation of their contributions this week.

Since Jim and Jennifer have agreed to stay connected this week, I thought I'd I say a few brief words about some of the issues they've discussed with Ana and Brian.  One of the reasons that I've found myself drawn to Jenniifer and Jim's curatorial practices over the years is because they haven't tied themselves down to the major sponsor and sites of curatorial practice (such as documenta, Tate, etc -- not that I'm suggesting that these sites preclude innovative if not radical curatorial practices, about which we'll learn more from some of our forthcoming guests of the month).  What Jim and Jen have pursued over the years is what Jen called yesterday "the agency of curatorship," which involves an engagement in the criticality of choice within the performative conditions of reception.

Their suggestion that audience can, in itself, alter the dynamics of choice is extremely provocative.  This notion of seeking an alternative audience for conceptual art very much drove the ambitions of me and Arthur & Marilouise Kroker when we curated the online project, CTHEORY Multimedia, from 2001-05.  We hoped that by breaking out of the physical confines of the museum we might launch our special issues of net.art on the human genome, on sound, and on digital terror to broader audiences who might be stimulated by the conceptual orientation of the artists.  Ironically, our choice to design the site in a very high art fashion (with very subtle rollovers to conceptual curatorial statements) could well have compromised some of our ambitions.  But I thought it important at the time to choose more conceptual design practices over the standardized emphasis on web design that were being dictated by the corporate market.  Of course, one of the problems we faced very early on in our project was the sudden domination of search engines who led audiences seeking political and conceptual art to the very museum institutional sites to which we had hoped to offer an alternative.

I should add that many of my curatorial projects, such as Contact Zones: the Art of CD-Rom (https://contactzones.cit.cornell.edu/) profited from their initial sponsorship by my own University (which is far too unapologetic about profiting from its ties to the military-industrial complex). What was fascinating about that show was how its initial installation at Cornell University in 1999 led to its reconstruction in Mexico City at the Centro de la Imagen with the aid of Priamo Lazado, who was Mexico's leading curator of electronic and digital art until his untimely death at the 2008 Venice Biennale.  While the Centro de la Imagen is an officially sanctioned state museum of photography, our show opened its public new media lab (equipped in 1999 with 30 networked computers and funded by the photographer Pedro Meyer) to provide public access to the internet and to new media art.  Thanks partially to widescale television advertising (paid by Mexico's cultural ministry), the new media lab was filled all summer with lines of public users who were experiencing the joys of new media art (much of which was highly political) for the first time.  It's this kind of interface of an unanticipated public audience with critically oriented art that has provided me with the drive and stimulation to undertake networked curatorial projects.

We look forward to hearing about more of these kinds of projects in the weeks to come.



the agency of curatorship simultaneously engages the criticality of choice (of works presented) with conditions of reception, which are necessarily performative. 

Director, Society for the Humanities
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
A. D. White House
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York. 14853
From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Renate Ferro [rtf9 at cornell.edu]
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 9:57 AM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: [-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on empyre: Rethinking Curatorial  Options, Globally

Welcome to Week 2 on empyre: Rethinking Curatorial Options, Globally

Thank you Jennifer Fisher and Jim Drobnick for launching our first
week of discussion on Rethinking Curatorial Options, Globally.  Thank
you for sharing your
curatorial project Nightsense at Toronto's Nuit Blanche as well as the
premiere issue of the Journal of Curatorial Studies. Most of the
discussion prompted
by Jennifer and Jim this past week has revolved around their interests
in the simultaneous tasks of their curatorial practices where
criticality and ludic playful participation coexist. Fisher and
Drobnick expressed a desire to work with artists in actualizing their
projects through "fluid" curatorial framing.

Thanks to Ashley, Brian, Pedro, Ana and Susan for responding to our
guests.  Their collective discussions revolved around the potential of
the curatorial space as being a revolutionary
one where  “cracks” allowing opening and closing could present
alternatives or where curatorial tensions that attempted to exist
“outside the box” allowed for liminal mobile curatorial practice.

While the concrete examples of Nightsense in Toronto and documenta in
Germany were discussed among others,  most of the posts involved the
conceptual spaces of the curatorial model. Tim and I would like to
welcome Aram Bartholl (GE) and Ellen Pau (HK) to empyre with Jennifer
Fisher (CA) and Jim Drobnick (CA) continuing on.  We have a very long
list of curators who will be joining us during Week 3 and 4.  Tim and
I are looking forward to capturing the essence of curating as well as
how new media gets included in these curatorial models.

Aram Bartholl (GE)
Aram Bartholl's work creates an interplay between internet, culture
and reality. The versatile communication channels are taken for
granted these
days, but how do they influence us? According to the paradigm change
of media research Bartholl not just asks what man is doing with the
media, but what
media does with man. The tension between public and private, online
and offline, technology infatuation and everyday life creates the core
of his producing. In public interventions and public installations
Bartholl examines which and how parts of the digital world can reach
back into reality.

 Aram Bartholl is a member of the Internet based artist group Free,
Art&Technology Lab - F.A.T. Lab. Net politics, the DIY movement and
the Internet development in general do play an important role in his
work. Beside numerous lectures, workshops and performances he
exhibited at MoMA Museum of Modern Art, NYC, The Pace Gallery NY und
[DAM] Berlin. Aram Bartholl is represented by [DAM] Berlin|Cologne. He
lives and works in Berlin.

Ellen Pau (HK)
Ellen Pau is a filmmaker, media artist and curator. Her video works
have traveled widely to numerous International Festivals and
Biennials, such as Kwangju Biennial, Video Brazil, City On the Move,
Johannesburg Biennial, Venice Biennale and Shanghai Biennial. In 1986,
Ellen Pau founded Asia"s first media artists" collective, "Videotage"
and the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival in Hong Kong.
She is adviser to HK Museum of Art, HK Art Development Council and a
number of festivals. She teaches part time in the Visual Art Centre
and is a full time medical image technologist


Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
empyre forum
empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

More information about the empyre mailing list