Developing Histories

This week in Berlin, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt hosts Re:Place The Second International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology. Re:Place is the follow up to Re:fresh, a similar conference that took place at the Banff Center in the fall of 2005, which hosted many of the biggest brains in new media art practice and academia. Together these two conferences represent an academic institutionalization of new media art and new media art history. But as the title of this conference would suggest, it is not a rigid canonization. The artists, art historians, and curators, are all presenting papers with an aim towards developing and unearthing multiple 'histories'--narratives that take into account geographic, economic, and gender diversity. Out of what is sure to be a multitude of excellent papers, this need for diverse voices and experience will be directly addressed by the always thought-provoking Erkki Huhtamo from UCLA, who will present a paper addressing Western biases in the history of media art. This said, it is likely that many of the presenters from Eastern Europe, Russia, South America, Asia and Africa will articulate the reality of these histories even more convincingly. - Caitlin Jones