As a term, the word 'archive' carries the weight of multiple definitions. It connotes storage, collection, and preservation. It is a noun, a verb, a physical place, and a state of mind. No longer simply thought of as a repository of dusty old documents and photographs from which we construct the past; in the digital realm the archive has become a place of contested meaning, active engagement, and historical reconstruction. Argos, a Brussels-based center for art and new media, is for the month of October hosting Open Archive #1, a project which unpacks this ever-broadening term. Events include historically informed performances by film luminaries Tony Conrad and Ken Jacobs, a lecture by theorist Laura Mulvey, and symposia on subjects such as YouTube as an active archival repository, and the preservation of media art. In addition, Argos will also open the doors of its own institutional archive to present a series of exhibitions based on their vast collection of single channel video works.
Documentary Protocols I: Emulation of the Administrative Ethos in Artistic Practices of the 1960s and 1970s in Canada may not have the catchiest title, but this unusual show at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University in Montreal, engagingly and hilariously lays out a rarely seen element of Conceptual art history. During the late 60s and early 70s a group of Canadian artists, simultaneously deflated and inspired by the tedious administration of Canada's culture industry reimagined themselves through the lens of the bureaucrat. Conceptual artists Iain and Ingrid Baxter formed the highly influential N.E.Thing Co., Vincent Trasov and Michael Morris started The Image Bank, an enormous international databank of images and contact information that grew out of mail art activities of the time, and Joyce Wieland appropriated governmental publications on Northern flora and fauna to question ideas of personal and national identity. Simultaneously questioning and promoting their own roles as 'culture workers,' their ironic use of public relations tools and 'documentary protocols' (in the form of seals, stamps, official letterhead, etc) was a means to turn the day to day business of being an artist in Canada into a viable and engaging practice in its own right. Correspondence, logos, currency, annual reports and other documents are on view both as original documents (in vitrines) and as photocopies (in accessible binders), emulating elements of institutional bureaucracy within in the exhibition design itself and providing evidence of vast artists' communication networks long before the web.
Mejor Vida Corp was a non-profit enterprise created by Mexican artist Minerva Cuevas that freely offered hard to procure items. Writing a grant proposal? Get a letter of recommendation from London's upscale Lisson Gallery through MVC. Want to visit MOMA but don't have the 2$0 entrance fee? MVC can get you student ID cards enabling access to the world's cultural institutions at a fraction of the cost. The MVC is only one example of how Cuevas uses new media to inhabit various personas, spaces, and conceptual frameworks. For her latest exhibition at Kunsthalle in Basel, Cuevas this time uses 'old media' to inhabit the worldview of the 19th century scientist. A monkey in a jacket sitting in a tree, meteorites from natural history museums, and found footage of behavioral psychology experiments are presented on antique optical devises and projectors. Titled Phenomenon, the show takes its name from Immanuel Kant's distinctions between phenomena ('beings of sense') and noumena ('things in themselves'). Putting us in the position of the colonial observer Cuevas uses these various viewing apparatuses to amplify not only what we see, but how we see.
When it comes to visualizing abstract information, graphs and charts perform a thankless task. But lately it seems as though these hardworking spreadsheets, pie slices, and colored bars lack the appropriate sense of urgency necessary to convey the current state of the environment. Responding to this lack of truly inspiring imagery is Eyebeam's Eco-Vis Challenge. Announced during this year's Conflux festival, the challenge takes two parts: 'Eco Icons' and 'Eco Vis.' 'Icons' solicits simple graphics: logos, bumper stickers, graffiti and the like which can swiftly and effectively communicate their meaning. 'Eco Vis' likewise challenges artists and scientists to create more complex data visualization tools through which we can read ecological data. Are more provocative and engaging graphics the key to increasing public awareness of pressing ecological issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, food production practices, or recycling initiatives? Maybe, or maybe not. But hopefully the creative outputs of this challenge will, like all good art, inspire us to action.
The film http://www.eai.org/eai/tape.jsp?itemID=2851">Le peintre cubiste, by French theorist and filmmaker Thierry Kuntzel, is a loose narrative about a man who perceives life through the multi-dimensional planes of a cubist painting. Using film, video and paint, this disconcerting exploration visually articulates Kuntzel's theoretical inquires into the construction of space and time in the visual world. Tonight (and again in three weeks), MOMA hosts In Memoriam: Thierry Kuntzel (1948
I wholeheartedly agree that Ben made some excellent points (and it's nice to have the link to his notes—thanks for that). In particular:
"//It tried to reinvent the wheel because it lacked the tacit knowledge of previous generations who had shared similar concerns and worked through many of the pitfalls."
I feel this statement clearly encapsulates a problem with much of the recent discourse around the idea of post-internet. There's an assumption that a critical articulation of the relationship between online and physical objects is a new phenomenon. The materiality (or demateriality) was an ongoing concern from the outset of artists working on the Internet. So I'm disappointed when I hear Karen Archley cite a 2009 exhibition curated by AIDS-3D as the first instance of this kind of material engagement—if we are suggesting that this is what the term post-internet has come to represent.
Finger wagging over.
I'm just surprised to see Rhizome facilitating a discussion that suggests that artists and curators were not thinking about the relationships between online themes and aesthetics and offline presentation before 2008!
It doesn't seem like a provocation or exaggeration, it seems like a serious misrepresentation of the history.
I'm sorry. Can someone explain this statement to me? Michael?
Job Title: Exhibitions Curator
Position Type: Full-time contract, 35 hours/week
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Years Experience: 3+
The Western Front Society seeks an outstanding, highly motivated arts professional to step into the role of Exhibitions Curator.
The Western Front is one of Canada’s pioneering artist-run centres and produces and presents works in five programs: Exhibitions, Performance Art, New Music, Media Arts, and FRONT Magazine. The Western Front was founded in 1973 by a small group of interdisciplinary artists, and has developed into an exemplary multi-disciplinary environment for experimental art practice and research. With a staff of ten plus interns and volunteers, the Society collectively produces over fifty events a year.
The Exhibitions Program has a mandate to present contemporary visual art by local, national and international artists. Intentionally open, this mandate has historically focused on artwork that is conceptual, media-based or otherwise ephemeral in nature. Currently the program promotes experimentation with conceptual models and contexts for visual art that have allowed the program to expand beyond gallery exhibitions to include artist books and posters, cross-disciplinary works, site-specific and Internet projects, and commissions.
The Exhibitions Curator reports to the Executive Director, and is responsible for:
• Developing and communicating a dynamic vision for the Exhibitions Program
• Curating exhibitions and all associated programming
• Editing publications
• Writing grants and seeking opportunities for additional funding or support
• Supervising one part-time staff member, contract workers, as well as volunteers
• Exemplary knowledge and understanding of contemporary art practices
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• Proven financial management experience
• Strong organizational skills
• Ability to provide direction and work with a diverse staff
• High capacity to meet deadlines and work under pressure
• Knowledge of a broad range of issues related to the arts
• A clear understanding of the philosophy and history of the Canadian artist-run centre movement
• Knowledge of the principle funding agencies and prior grant writing experience
• Knowledge of managing publications and print projects
• Experience installing a variety of art exhibitions
• Mac OS, Microsoft Office, electronic mail and Filemaker Pro, an asset
A competitive benefits package is available after the three months probation period is complete. After eight months of employment, four weeks paid vacation may be taken during the period when programs are recessed. An additional ten days paid holiday time may be taken during the December/January holiday period.
A part-time Exhibitions Assistant supports this position. Provisions are also made within the program budget for research-based travel.
HOW TO APPLY
The Western Front Society is committed to the principles of Employment Equity and encourages applications from Aboriginal persons, members of a visible minority group or persons with a disability.
Applications containing a cover letter, curriculum vitae, three references, and writing samples, must be received by 4:00 p.m. on December 14, 2009.
Please send applications by email only to:
Exhibitions Curator Hiring Committee
Western Front Society
303 East 8th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5T 1S1
NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.