[-empyre-] Welcome to empyre Week 4:Rethinking Curatorial Options: Globally

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Wed Apr 25 13:24:50 EST 2012

Dear Calin,

Thanks ever so much for sharing your informative post with the -empyre- community.  Although we've had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate in the past, I've never heard your fascinating account of the ideological/political trajectory of your work over the last 27 years of Arad.  You provide a fascinating account of 'Rethinking Curatorial Options, Globally.'

Regarding your comments about the early risk of your work, I'm wondering whether you might elaborate of the relation of your early work on the internet in relation to risk.  Was the virtual framework considered to be an alternative to risk or its extension?  Your comments reminded me of the days when I carried your CD-Roms and those of about 40 other artists across various borders for a few years when curating "Contact Zones: The Art of CD-Rom" (https://contactzones.cit.cornell.edu/).  When camouflaging the artworks as "music" when crossing national borders, I was responding to concerns about the risky nature of virtual responses to sexuality, pornography, politics, and ecology that were so elaborately and enigmatically presented by that generation of new media artists.  Even when mounting the show in museums and public spaces, I found myself being encouraged not to call attention to the particularities of content embedded in so many files.  I thus find myself wondering about the political or ideological thrust of the kinema ikon group, or even its aesthetic thrust in relation to digital media.

Looking forward to hearing more.


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 reVoltaire [revoltaire at gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:39 AM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Welcome to empyre Week 4:Rethinking Curatorial Options: Globally

hi everyone!

thank you Renate for the introduction and invitation, thank you Tim.
it is my pleasure to be guest on this list.

from "Happening mise-en-Seine" to "Wunderkammer & Other Apparatus"


It is quite possible that my intervention will seem rather
unprofessional due to the autobiographic references that lace the text
henceforward. My activity as a curator was and still is tied to my own
work and the work of the kinema ikon group. Now is the time to mention
that I live in a small town called Arad, in western Transylvania,
where I can still find the Austro-Hungarian spirit scattered in the
small things. The museum where I work was founded 99 years ago and I
am with it for the last 27 years. In the beginning I was a
photographer, and since 1990, when the kinema ikon group became a part
of the museum, I became a curator along with the founder of the group,
George Sabau.
In the ‘80s, the communist regime got to decide who is an artist and
who is not. I, as a major in literature, was not allowed to display
visual art except in special places, where amateurs were corralled.
Rebelling against the professionals/amateurs rift, I chose to exhibit
my works in unconventional and sometimes prohibited places. To display
photos in the central park was an assumed risk in those times (see
Landscape Pleonasm).

The texts I wrote couldn’t be published as they were not compliant
with the political system on one hand but mainly because I was not
happy with the literary merit of my works. I tried to salvage the
situation, so I organized a happening which consisted of me throwing
all my “literature” in the river Mures, in front of an audience. Only
one text survived, the one called Our Young Man Went to Circus. The
characters of this remaining work became the core of the future
reVoltaire archive and they first encountered the public in 1992, in
the kinema ikon magazine, then called “conversatia”.  I lived the 90’s
with the enthusiasm of discovering the computer, the internet and
mainly, interactivity. In 1995, 22 experimental short films of the
group were shown at the Pompidou Center in Paris. George Sabau
considered the event a proper closure for an era.

That was when I started producing digital works on cd.rom
(http://kinema-ikon.net/1996_operaprima/op.htm), both individual and
in groups, we began participating at new media shows, we coined the
term ready media (http://kinema-ikon.net/1995_readymedia/ready.htm),
we became exclusivists and elitists, we decided that after so much
social involvement time has come to make art for the sake of art,
moreover, we felt that the word "art" was dated, or to be more
specific, it was confusing, and using “work” instead would be more
appropriate. This way, the digital world became easier to approach.

The peak of the digital era for myself and the kinema ikon group was
the acceptance of my project for the Romanian pavilion at the Venice
Biennial in 2003 (http://kinema-ikon.net/2003_alteridem/alt.htm) and
the kinema ikon retrospective at the National Museum for Contemporary
Art in 2005 (http://kinema-ikon.net/2005_worx/wrx.htm).

Since 2005, the group got a fresh breath of air from the young
generation of artists that gravitates around the KF coffee
shop/alternative venue. Meeting with the artists in their late 20s
keeps up the playful spirit of the group.

The kinema ikon group was founded in 1970 and in the course of time
had three generations who produced: experimental films (1970-1989),
mixed media (1990-1994), hypermedia (1995-2005), hybrid media
Since 1994 I took over the “conversatia” magazine which became
“intermedia” – completely dedicated to experimental works.
An example is the issue consisting of 19 posters that were exhibited
in the museum but also in the streets, in various places.

An ambitious project was the one dedicated to photography, named
kinema ikon 7010, when for the first time, all the kinema ikon members
participated in the same project, at the same time. The result is one
of the few objects of the group – a box that contains 53 large scale
photos. (http://kinema-ikon.net/2010_ki/7010.html)

The project we started last year is however, the most important:
Wunderkammer & Other Apparatus. First, we printed in “intermedia” 20
designs for apparatuses inspired by image producing machinery and
cabinets of curiosities. The next phase is unfurling as we speak: at
the Art Museum in Arad I got a space destined to house the kinema ikon
experiments. I am currently preparing the inaugural exhibition. We
will create a praxinoscope, a synthesis of the 20 designs, and things
just start rolling from here.

Paradoxically, after decades of experimenting with alternative spaces,
I came to coordinate a white cube. It is as when Gabriel Garcia
Marquez got away with a folk costume at his Nobel Prize acceptance
speech instead of the requested tailcoat. Not wearing a tailcoat in a
world where everybody wears one is rebellion. For me, who I never wore
a tailcoat, rebellion is to wear one. After that, we’ll see.

reVoltaire: www.revoltaire.net
reVoltaire at V2: http://revoltaire.projects.v2.nl/pages/revoltaire.htm
Encyclopedie Npuveaux Medias:

kinema ikon: www.kinema-ikon.net
ki on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/kinemaikon
kinema ikon 7010: http://kinema-ikon.posterous.com/
ki publications: http://issuu.com/kinema-ikon

all the best from Transylvania,
calin man
empyre forum
empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

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