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Curating, communication & open source

by Annette Finnsdottir last modified Aug 12, 2011 06:36 PM
by Michael Kargl (carlos katastrofsky)
Art is a form of communication so why shouldn't curating be one, too?

Internet Art is a phenomenon of the 1990ies. Since the birth and rise of "the web", artists were reflecting its utopian possibilities all along. As the Net in general, Internet Art was something very new, very uncommon and it promised to tear down the borders of "old art".

But the Net has come a long way since then and so has internet art. The net -on the one hand- blended seamlessly into our life. But Internet Art -on the other hand- stayed separated from the "art scene".

What causes this separation? As often stated by people working in this area it is first and foremost the "classical art field" that is unwilling to look over its own borders and to recognise art that incorporates (new)technology in general. But this argumentation reveals only the first in a series of problems emerging from viewing and reflecting Internet Art and New Media Art from the "inside": the focus on technology. This focus had opened doors in the nineties when technology -and especially the internet- promised several utopias. But now it is a boarder closing off the outside world. Often enough technology is covering the weakness of artistic projects or is -even worse- the solely focus.

Another problem is the context in which new media art is shown. Be it festivals or DIY/hacker-labs, what they have in common is to give those forms of art a truly "avant-garde" aura that maybe had it's time but is now obsolete. New Media Art is an art form as is painting, sculpting etc. and deserves to be recognised like that. It maybe easier to rest on old cliches, but sticking to this "we are on the edge of it all" - behaviour makes urgent developments impossible.

Above that New Media Art is normally not shown together with works of Fine Art. If it is shown in a gallery/museum context it is -most of the time- separated from the other works. This is something that broadens the gap even further.

Aware of all those issues (and others) we decided to set up a forum on the internet and to invite people to discuss this problems with us. One the one hand this can be seen as a collaborative strategy to give an additional direction to the current state of development in this area and add fresh ideas. On the other hand it is an attempt to make visible the process of curating this exhibition, or even more, to make it open source.

What does this mean? "Open source" is a term derived from programming where programs are not only distributed as executables but also with their respecting source code. The idea behind this is that everyone who understands the respective programming language is able to find errors, make improvements and develop a better version of the program for users. Transferred to curating this means that we have some ideas how this show should run but are open to ideas from the outside. To us the cooperation with the community is more important than being lonesome curators/artists who don't share their experiences.

Art is a form of communication so why shouldn't curating be one, too?

Text by Michael Kargl (CONT3XT.NET)

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