Play This

In an institutional context the term "curated" often implies a clear division between the curator, the artist and the audience. Historically, internet art and online exhibitions have radically altered this traditional dynamic and now, with the widespread emergence of blogs and mass media-sharing platforms, the blurring of these roles is commonplace. Recently, a number of artists have employed the playlist feature, a function through which viewers can curate their own collections of uploaded materials, not as a curatorial platform per se but as discrete works of art. (See, for example, Guthrie Lonergan's Myspace Intro Playlist, 2006). The French weekly Ecrans (a supplement of the Paris newspaper Liberation) has, for the past year, been publishing playlists by a selection of French artists, animators, critics, musicians and game designers. French net artist Agnes de Cayeux uses her playlist to reframe the travails of video blogger justagurl23-a young woman who "struggles with anxiety/trauma, depression, and the long recovery process from anorexia, self-injury, and more." Through her selections, de Cayeux actively curates the emotionally fraught life of justagurl123, creating a narrative that is both touching and deeply intrusive. For his playlist, artist and activist Benjamin Gaulon tackles the concepts of "planned obsolescence" and "detournement" (a Situationist term that refers to the subversion of dominant media images) in the context of global waste. His selection of Apple's iconic 1984 commercial transforms it from an image of home computing liberation into a condemnation of the company's constant hardware and software upgrades. The most recent playlist , created by Matthieu Clainchard of Bad Beuys Entertainment, focuses on the vibrant genre known as the "demo", in which a director instructively showcases his or her expertise. Clainchard's selection illuminates talent in such areas as dangerous scooter tricks, sensational dance routines, and elaborate homemade Transformer costumes. The unique approach to each playlist on Ecrans speaks to the potential for traditional art world boundaries to be worried through a simple online tool. - Caitlin Jones