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

Kristine Stiles awe3 at frontier.com
Thu Apr 26 03:48:48 EST 2012


I agree with you that its "hard...seeing the novelty of the 'new aesthetic' construct." Also while there may be some truth in what Sterling writes that, "The arts and sciences are, clearly, almost equally bewildered by their hardware now," it is certainly *not* true that "The antique culture-rift of C. P. Snow" has somehow eased or disappeared in the last "five decades" or that "the sciences and the fine arts are getting identical public beatings."  I'd love to have your view on the latter. Thanks for your great posts.


On Apr 25, 2012, at 12:15 AM, <Christiane_Paul at whitney.org> <Christiane_Paul at whitney.org> wrote:

> Thanks so much, Tim!
> I find the disjunctions in and between curatorial worlds very interesting.
>> I heard tell just the other day of statements made by a curator of another major museum 
>> who pretty much drew the line in the sand by declaring that net.art belongs on the net, 
>> not in the museum (a line I've heard many times in the past from rather surprising sources).  
> I always found that statement a bot absurd -- net.art does not only belong on the net, it always exists on the net, no matter where you access it, in your bedroom, office, or the museum. I guess the question is whether the net (as public space)  belongs in your home or in actual public spaces.
>> I think this institutional indifference to curating net.art, something I've done since the late nineties 
>> including work with Calin Man, has less to do with analogue anxiety per se than with age old institutional 
>> questions of boundaries, control, authority, etc.  I've had numerous exchanges with museum curators who 
>> were uncomfortable hosting my net.art projects because of their concern about their lack of control with what 
>> users might be doing on the net.
> I think issues of control are crucial here -- depending on the openness of the work, its content might shift and be shaped by users, which seems to make it profoundly untrustworthy. However, we have seen more participatory artworks in major museums lately (such as Tino Seghal's work in the Guggenheim) and they seem to be more 'acceptable' than the technologically based work.
>> What I found fascinating about last week's description of the Apache Project was that the space
>> itself of the curation seemed potentially open to contestation without further clarification of the curatorial project.  
> I find that blurriness and tension very interesting -- although I'm not sure whether the curatorial project and its status as a contested space is even perceived as such by an audience. 
>> Recently, I've found myself returning to the CTHEORY MULTIMEDIA curatorial project I shared 
>> with Arthur and Marilouise Kroker and have found myself rededicated to net.art constructed for 
>> the network itself and the small screens receiving it.  But as you point out, even patronage of this 
>> work entails the kind of institutional framework (in this case, university patronage) that frequently has 
>> been the subject of lively critique on this list.
> Net.art is always embedded in a framework, from its screen (big or small) to the organizations that link to it or showcase it. What continues to make it fascinating for me is the fluidity of these frameworks, the fact that people may come to the work from very different angles and contexts. I think this profoundly distinguishes net art from more traditional art objects and works that circulate only within a certain level of institutions.
>> It's interesting that you bring up the 'new aesthetic,' which I've also been following on CRUMB.  
>> This concept seems to me to embrace more of a commitment to a certain kind of pixellated design 
>> than an aesthetic definition or ideological aesthetic per se.  
> I very much agree...
>> I suppose that I find myself less taken by the novelty of this context and don't find that it provides 
>> any greater curatorial context than I've found from our conceptual work with CTHEORY MULTIMEDIA 
>> or practiced in another context by Turbulence.org, with which I'm now engaged in an archival project. 
> I have a hard time even seeing the novelty of the 'new aesthetic' construct -- as many people on CRUMB have pointed out, it stands in the tradition of many strands of artistic practice that have developed over decades. CTheory or Turbulence have certainly established a lot more (curatorial) context for approaching digital works than the 'new aesthetic' tumblr. Tumblr itself, with its focus on the latest post, seems to have decontextualizing tendencies.
> Christiane
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Christiane_Paul at whitney.org [Christiane_Paul at whitney.org]
> Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 11:50 PM
> To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Welcome to empyre Week 4:Rethinking Curatorial Options: Globally
> Thanks so much for the introduction, Renate, and hello everyone -- I'm looking forward to our discussion this week.
> While I have not been able to actively participate in the exchanges in the past few weeks, I at least managed to lurk and follow them, and I want to start by picking up on some of the previously discussed issues as they relate to spaces of curation and the understanding of curatorial roles.
> * spaces of curation
> Stating the obvious, curation does not take place in a homogenous space and it seems impossible to assess a state of “curatorial practice” in general because it so radically varies within different spaces. We might encounter a “growing centrality of the curator” and the phenomenon of the star curator, as well as the imposition of curatorial authority and institutional narrative on artistic production, in a fairly hierarchical and centralized institutional art world; and a decentralized, collaborative, “open source” practice in which the curatorial role becomes more diversified in online lacunae or virtual/physical public spaces (e.g. Mother Neff State Park). While these distinctions generally apply, they are of course generalizations and there is blurriness (imposition of curatorial authority could also take place in an exhibition of net art and occasionally does).
> Sometimes these different spaces even exist side-by-side within one institution. My curatorial work in the galleries of the Whitney Museum -- such as 'Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools” (http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/CoryArcangel) -- gets attention from The New York Times, The New Yorker etc. My curatorial work on the Whitney's artport site (http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/Artport) -- such as Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki's Twitter visualization “America’s Got No Talent” (http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/Artport/Commissions/AmericasGotNoTalent) or the Sunset/Sunrise series (http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/Artport/Commissions/SunriseSunset) -- involves a very different curatorial process and will be acknowledged only in an online art world. (For various reasons, ranging from institutional support to the interest of audiences).
> Whether you make it your goal as a curator to invest your energies into bringing these worlds more closely together is a personal choice. Throughout the last year, in particular, I have sensed a general growing boredom with these unification attempts (at discussions during CAA / ISEA in Istanbul / MediaArtHistories in Liverpool), the general consensus being that “new media” and online art is very alive and kicking, commissioned by festivals, independent organizations, shown online and in public spaces, and often reaching larger audiences and having a greater impact than museum shows. I still believe that it would be great to see the latter works in dialogue with other art forms and to “write” an art history that acknowledges the genealogies of and cross-influences between different forms of media.
> * what is “curating”?
> Throughout the past couple of years, we have seen many discussions about the inflationary use of the term curating -- on mailing lists and forums and even the NY Times devoted an article to it. The term was applied to everything from curating window displays to “web sites” (by providing links and tags), and everybody seemed to have become a curator. Perhaps this is the most radical (or diluted) expression of the decentralized, collaborative curatorial role. What is missing in tis scenario, however, is the provision of context that seems an essential part of curating.
> If you are on the CRUMB list (http://www.crumbweb.org/), you have probably followed the engaged discussions of “The New Aesthetic” (as proposed by James Bridle on the blog of the same name -- http://new-aesthetic.tumblr.com/), which became a meme in the new media world after a panel at SXSW and Bruce Sterling's assessment of it (http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2012/04/an-essay-on-the-new-aesthetic/#comments; http://www.furtherfield.org/features/banality-new-aesthetic; http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/the-new-aesthetic-needs-to-get-weirder/255838/; http://digitalhumanitiesnow.org/2012/04/editors-choice-new-aesthetic-round-up/).
> I do not want to import this discussion into empyre, but I couldn't help wondering if the spread of this meme wasn't a nice example of a lack of badly needed curatorial context. There isn't that much new in the aesthetic or not much of an aesthetic in this new. Creating context for this discussion from a curatorial perspective would have helped.
> On a larger scale and along the lines of Nicholas Carr's The Shallows, I'm interested in how the online environment, which seems so deeply contextual by nature, can also obliterate context through the privileging of "the latest post" rather than a dialogue and "deep" crosslinking of ideas.
> Christiane
> ________________________________________
> 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 23, 2012 8:54 PM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: [-empyre-] Welcome to empyre Week 4:Rethinking Curatorial Options:     Globally
> Welcome to Calin Man, Arshiiiya Lokhandwala, Jolene Rickard, Beryl
> Graham, Elvira Dyangani, and Sarah Cooke to the fourth week of our
> discussion on Rethinking Curatorial Options: GLobally.
> Each of our guests we  have met and worked with personally.  They all
> bring diverse approaches to curating and new media art.  Our emphasis
> this week will continue to tease out several questions Tim and I asked
> earlier this month that we feel have only begun to be discussed:
> "How do curatorial and social considerations impact the cultural,
> political, and theoretical reception of artistic practice?  What role
> does positioning work within the sanctioned spaces of museums and
> galleries or the non-sanctioned public or personal spaces have on both
> artistic and curatorial practice? How do global histories, customs,
> and politics inform this positioning? What paradoxes or tensions
> present themselves when the role of the curator and the artist are
> combined?  Finally, how might artistic practice itself be understood
> as a curatorial intervention in conceptual art?"
> Tim and I are looking forward to our last week of discussion and
> really welcome all of our guests and subscribers. Best to all of our
> empyre subscribers.  Renate
> Calin Man (RO)
> b.: 1961; place of residence: Arad, Romania.
> education: B.A. in literature, Timisoara University, Romania;
> chief-editor and designer of intermedia magazine; member of kinema ikon group.
> curator for kinema ikon projects. net.works and digital installations
> exhibited at various important new media shows
> (i.e. Venice Biennial, Sao Paulo Biennial, FILE, Centre G. Pompidou,
> Contact Zones: The Art of the cd-rom).
> Arshiya Lokhandwala (IN)
> Arshiya Lokhandwala is an art historian (Ph.D, Cornell University,
> USA), Curator (M. A., Goldsmiths College, London) Gallerist, Lakeeren
> Art Gallery (1995-2003 and 2009-ongoing) in Mumbai, presenting over 70
> exhibitions of the Indian contemporary art. She also curated
> Rites/Rights/Rewrites: Women's Video Art that traveled to Cornell,
> Duke and Rutgers's Universities from 2003-06. She was also a
> participant of the Documenta 11 Education program in Kassel in 2002,
> under the artistic curator Okwui Enwezor. She areas of work include
> Biennales and Large-scale exhibitions, globalization, feminism,
> performance and new media art practices. Her recent curatorial project
> has been Against All Odds: A Contemporary Response to the
> Historiography of Archiving, Collecting and Museums in India, Lalit
> Kala Academy, Delhi January 2011 and Of Gods and Goddesses. Cinema.
> Cricket : The New Cultural Icons of India at the Jehangir Art Gallery
> in February in 2011. She is the curator of The Rising Phoenix: A
> Conversation between Modern and Contemporary Indian Art, Queens
> Museum, New York, 2014. She has curated over 75 exhibitions at
> Lakeeren and continues her gallery program at Lakeeren along with her
> practicing as an independent curator and art historian.
> Jolene Rickard ( US, Tuscarora)
> Jolene Rickard, Ph.D. is a visual historian, artist, and curator
> interested in the issues of Indigeneity within a global context. She
> is the Director for the American Indian Program at Cornell University,
> an associate professor in the History of Art and Visual Studies and
> Art Departments. Recent essays include “Visualizing Sovereignty in the
> Time of Biometric Sensors,” in The South Atlantic Quarterly:
> Sovereignty, Indigeneity, and the Law, 110:2, Spring 2011, “Skin Seven
> Spans Thick,” in Hide: Skin as Material and Metaphor, NMAI: DC, 2010,
> “Absorbing or Obscuring the Absence of a Critical Space in the
> Americas for Indigeneity: The Smithsonian's National Museum of the
> American Indian,” in RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, No. 52, Autumn,
> 2007, and Rebecca Belmore: Fountain by Jolene Rickard and Jessica
> Bradley, Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery and Kamloops Art Gallery,
> Canada, 2005.
> Recent projects include; Consultant to the National Gallery of
> Canadian Art in preparation for an international survey of Indigenous
> art in 2013, also identified as the first Quinquennial (Ottawa), a
> participant in the Cornell/Duke 54th Venice Biennale Dialogue (Italy)
> 2011 and she was a co-curator for the inaugural exhibition for the
> Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (Washington,
> D.C.) 2004.
> Jolene is from the Tuscarora Nation territories in western New York.
> Beryl Graham (UK)
> Beryl Graham is Professor of New Media Art at the School of Arts,
> Design and Media, University of Sunderland, and co-editor of CRUMB.
> She is a writer, curator and educator with many years of professional
> experience as a media arts organiser, and was head of the photography
> department at Projects UK, Newcastle, for six years. She curated the
> international exhibition Serious Games for the Laing and Barbican art
> galleries, and has also worked with The Exploratorium, San Francisco,
> and San Francisco Camerawork.
> Her book Digital Media Art was published by Heinemann in 2003, and she
> coauthored with Sarah Cook the book Rethinking Curating: Art After New
> Media for MIT Press in 2010. She has chapters in many books including
> New Media in the White Cube and Beyond (University of California
> Press), Theorizing digital cultural heritage (MIT Press) and The
> 'Do-It-Yourself' Artwork (Manchester University Press). Dr. Graham has
> presented papers at conferences including Navigating Intelligence
> (Banff), Museums and the Web (Vancouver), and Decoding the Digital
> (Victoria and Albert Museum). Her Ph.D. concerned audience
> relationships with interactive art in gallery settings, and she has
> written widely on the subject for books and periodicals including
> Leonardo, Convergence, and Art Monthly.
> Elvira Dyangani Ose (Spain/Guinea Equatoria)
> Elvira Dyangani Ose (1974, Spain / Guinea Equatorial) is Curator,
> International Art at Tate Modern, supported by Guaranty Trust Bank
> Plc. She is an art and architecture historian, currently completing a
> PhD in History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University, New
> York. She is as well Artistic Director of Picha Reencounters 2012, the
> third edition of the Lubumbashi Biennial. As an independent curator,
> she has developed different interdisciplinary projects, focusing on
> recovering collective memories, urban ethnography, and artists’ role
> in the process of history-making. Her most significant projects are:
> Olvida Quién Soy/Erase Me from Who I am,  Africalls?,  Nontsikelelo
> Veleko/Welcome to Paradise, and Carrie Mae Weems: Social Studies.
> Elvira Dyangani Ose  has worked as curator in several institutions in
> Spain. She was general curator of Arte inVisible, AECID, in 2009 and
> 2010.
> Sarah Cooke (UK)
> Sarah Cook is a curator and writer based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
> and co-author (with Beryl Graham) of the book Rethinking Curating: Art
> After New Media (MIT Press, 2010) and co-editor (with Sara Diamond) of
> Euphoria & Dystopia: The Banff New Media Institute Dialogues. She is
> currently a Reader at the University of Sunderland where she
> co-founded and co-edits CRUMB, the online resource for curators of new
> media art and teaches on the MA Curating course. She is a member of
> the advisory board of the Journal of Curatorial Studies and co-chaired
> Rewire, the Fourth International Conference on the histories of media
> art, science and technology with FACT in Liverpool (2011).
> Having grown up in Canada, Sarah has a longstanding association with
> The Banff Center where she has worked as a guest curator and
> researcher in residence for the Walter Phillips Gallery, the
> International Curatorial Institute and the New Media Institute,
> developing exhibitions, summits, residencies and publications. After
> completing her PhD in 2004, Sarah worked as adjunct curator of new
> media at BALTIC  Centre for Contemporary Art funded by the AHRC. In
> 2008 Sarah was the inaugural curatorial fellow at Eyebeam Art and
> Technology Center in New York, where she worked with the artists in
> the labs to develop exhibitions of their work. Sarah has curated and
> co-curated international exhibitions including Database Imaginary
> (2004), The Art Formerly Known As New Media (2005), Broadcast Yourself
> (2008), Untethered (2008) and Mirror Neurons (2012).
> 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
>      http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net
> Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net
> Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu/
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empyre
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