Critical review: Digital Analogue. Pioneers of New Media.

Posted by lara pearl | Sun Feb 16th 2014 1:12 p.m.

Personally, I suggest a revision around questions such as ethics, deontological code, professionalism, permission and authority in curatorial models and participatory practices in art, science and technology. Regarding the curating model used in the exhibition Digital Analogue: this is not what I do, this is not my curatorial line, this is not my work, and this is not curated by me. Actually, the participatory models of curating new media art have created new structures where to engage curators, theorist and artists in a hybrid form of exhibition, workshop, and live performance. Models that are constantly against the mainstream and the policies of power supported by authority and based within the ego of the artists: elitism and paternalism. Another point to consider is that the exhibition Digital Analogue has a lack of investigation, the research is weak, doesn’t achieve the standards of the experienced d.i.y. artists, the art electronic avant-garde and the art –science – technology experts, curators and artists. There is a lack of coherence, strength and unity. Although is a very good local exhibition and a potential project for the future, it is a very paternalist project, too. Tired, exhausted and discomforted to defend machismo, it is criticized works like this. Once surpassed the borders of curatorial mainstream inside the whitecube, those who work worldly local and with deep meaning for life and social contribution, are hard-working and developing networks with very low budgets and financial support. Art inside the whitecube is now out of the center of action, operating in labs, blackboxes and within the experiences of life. So, following it can be said that the exhibition has not gone so good. There is lack of professionalism and it deceives. Moreover, I must say that a few years ago, in 2011, I wrote an investigation project entitled Language Code. In collaboration with CED – MACBA Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona, I studied the relations of conceptual art and code art. I did a similar work as Thomas Dreher does. Once the research was finished, I asked permission to international artists, local artists from Barcelona, activists and other theorists, curators and producers to work in a public presentation of the Project. The event was one week and hold in Conservas, an underground lab in Barcelona. I was trying to break conventional models of exhibition. It was a workshop, a seminar, an exhibition and a live event with screenings and performance. It also engaged the audiences to participate to create a language artwork based in cut-up projects. Jorn Ebner, Michael Kargl, Roy Ascott, John Angel were presented in Language Code exhibition among a total number of 20 artist more. Part of my research project Language Code has been presented in MAC Museum of Contemporary Art Bogota. According methodologies of curating, there is a new curatorial role based in appropriation. It creates new exhibition strategies. Taking artists’ works without permission or non-demanding artist participation is changing the administrative model of exhibition. Contracts, infrastructure and participation offer a new possibility to engage creation and hopefully create more opportunities for emergent and youth talented unnamed artists.

Regarding the content of the exhibition, there are 6 artists exhibiting physical artworks, 3 local artists and 3 international artists. There are no women. The use of big mainstream artists’ names is trying to attract expectations, a suggestive intention, when is in reality a screening loop. There is an excellent point and is the fact that the exhibition offers help and support to local artist to be contextualized in international frameworks. In general, local emergent talented artists from Colombia are not well represented in their own art circuit, neither in the international art scene. This is part of the post-colonial history. Although this, there is a lack and a very disappointed participation of the real pioneers of new media from Colombia. Pedro Soler states “A pair of my favorite South American pioneers: Juan Downey (from Chile, pioneer of video and interactive art, co-editor of Radical Software) and Jacqueline Nova, the first electroacoustic music composer in Colombia. Both artists lived much of their lives in the north (Juan in NYC and Jacqueline in Paris). However, they are both dead”. The title of the exhibition "Pioneers" does not correspond to the achieved goals. It cannot be said that is a pioneer’s exhibition. This is not the case. There are specialized media art historians that will recognize that this is wick and a misunderstanding. “Edward Shanken comes to mind. And in my own University, historian Charissa Terrranova” says Roger Malina.

There is a no women artists; pioneers or not, too. Marc Garret indicates some “Sarah Cook, Alison Craighead, Donna Haraway, Sadie Plant, Vera Molnar, Steina Vasulka, Joan Jonas, Marisa Olson, Pauline Oliveros, Christiane Paul, Laurie Anderson, Josephine Bosma, Ada Lovelace, Judith Butler, Olia Lialina, Natalie Jeremijenko, Coco Fusco, Ghislaine Boddington, Guerilla Girls, Ilze Black, Larisa Blazic, Daphne Dragona, Mia Makela, Sanja Ivekovic, Eva and Franco Mattes, Joasia Krysa, Valie Export, Charlotte Moorman, Lygia Clark, Yoko Ono, E.Valldosera, La Turbo Avedon, Fabi Borges, Alejandra Perez, Eleonora Oreggia, Simona Levy, Diana McCarty, Maria Llopis, Marloes de Valk, Shu Lea Cheang, Chris Sugrue, Paula Graham (Fossbox), Ruth Catlow (Furtherfield), Flossie”. This is an important failure. This is unacceptable in the context of electronic, new media, and within the frame of cyberfeminism. Women artist has contributed to the development of media art in a very deep and profound sense, changing structures and contributing to the social benefit of human behavior. This is a strong point. Some relevant data regarding feminism practices in art curating represent the problem about women in art. Only the 13.5% of works by women are in Art Collections, 18% of female professors at Art Universities, 22% of female directors at Art Museums, 27% average of female percentage at exhibitions in art museums, 32% of honorary prizes in the visual arts are won by women, 42% of all freelance employees in the visual arts are women, 55% of students in the visual arts are women (Data by Katy Deepwell, Editor of n.paradoxa).

There is a sense that the use of “big names” in the section s/edition is like an attractive suggestion rather than a matter of history, knowledge or information. Rather, I think the curator is trying to persuade, giving an illusion of history of media art. I think this is a more commercial and digital project. I think this is what exactly Baudrillard defined as Simulacra and the tendency in consumerism object to persuade the spectator. I have received many complains and it is thought that is a very paternalist project. And it does not consider the social and actual needs of its country. Marc Garret also commented “On one hand it's because the choice of ‘now’ disreputable ‘BritArt’ artists, and on the other, it's because there is an embarrassing lack of women included in the exhibition. It is not representative of the amazing women in arts and technology who deserve so much better than this”. Contrary to these opinions, it is really well received the local collaboration. The artists have a really talented work in exhibition and the effort and fight with the institutional frame and universities grow and enrich the cultural context of Bogota, an incredible city with massive social disorder and inequalities. Is very important and is a really good to exhibit 3 local artists altogether 3 international artists, this contributes to the development of cultural practices of Colombia, increases the level of participation and interested of institutions into Electronic Art and for New Media practices. It also helps to the emergent artists with good level, quality, interest and professionalism.

According this, I have to say that it is super-interesting and thanks to this kind of exhibitions, new models of distributing video- art are developed. It could probably respond to new distribution roles and methodologies of production in New Media. Surely, it changes capitalist and economic structures. I remember the editions of Picasso and Dali: thousands of copies resembled millions of millions and investment for art. The videos presented under s/edition are works from Damien Hirst, Casey Reas, Memo Atken, etc... Recently, Alessandro Ludovico has written about new techniques of printing and distributing. This is amazing, but in the case of Digital Analogue and s/edition, a private company that works online. The selection doesn’t result interesting because, from my point of view, is supporting commercial and capitalist structures of art as a merchandise. According post-marxist discourse it can damage lots of theoretical works done in the area of value and object-hood in contemporary art. Claiming for live art and live performance is to sustain our way of life as artists, developers and creators.

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Bogotá, @2009 BOGOTÁ - COLOMBIA
Carrera 74 No. 82A - 81 2916520 Exts: 6160 - 6161 -6159
email: ccultural@uniminuto.edu
http://www.mac.org.co/

Thanks to Marc Garret, Pedro Soler, Tamas Banovich, Anick Bureaud, Ashok Mistry, Bronac Ferran, Sarah Cook, Paul Brown, Roger Malina, Ghislaine Boddington, Vicente Matallana, Joasya Krysa, Andres Burbano.

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