Humorous and surprising, smart and provocative, Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media (MIT Press, 2010) jumps from opposing viewpoints to opposing personalities, from one arts trajectory to another. The entire book is a dialectic exercise: none of its problems or theories are solved or concluded, but are rather complicated through revelations around their origins, arguments and appropriations. Overall, the book adopts the collaborative style and hyperlinked approach of the media and practice it purports to rethink. In other words, it is not just the content of the book that asks us to rethink curating, but the reading itself; by the end, we are forced to digest and internalize the consistently problematized behaviors of the “media formerly known as new.”
Kate Mondloch’s first book, Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art (University of Minnesota Press), is a welcome study of the cathode ray tubes, liquid crystal and plasma displays, and film, video and data projections that “pervade contemporary life” (xi). The author reminds us that screens are not just “illusionist windows” into other spaces or worlds, but also “physical, material entities [that] beckon, provoke, separate, and seduce” (xii). Most importantly, however, Mondloch’s approach is that of an art historian. She does not merely use art as a case study for media theory, but rather makes the contributions of artists her central focus in this, the first in-depth study of the space between bodies and screens in contemporary art.
In his book, Parables for the Virtual, Brian Massumi calls for "movement, sensation, and qualities of experience" to be put back into our understandings of embodiment. He says that contemporary society comprehends bodies, and by extension the world, almost exclusively through linguistic and visual apprehension. They are defined by their images, their symbols, what they look like and how we write and talk about them. Massumi wants to instead "engage with continuity," to encourage a processual and active approach to embodied experience. In essence, Massumi proposes that our theories "feel" again. "Act/React", curator George Fifield's "dream exhibition" that opened at the Milwaukee Art Museum last week, picks up on these phenomenologist principles. He and his selected artists invite viewer-participants to physically explore their embodied and continuous relationships to each other, the screen, space, biology, art history and perhaps more.
Fifield is quick to point out that all the works on show are unhindered by traditional interface objects such as the mouse and keyboard. Most of them instead employ computer vision technologies, more commonly known as interactive video. Here, the combined use of digital video cameras and custom computer software allows each artwork to "see," and respond to, bodies, colors and/or motion in the space of the museum. The few works not using cameras in this fashion employ similar technologies towards the same end. While this homogeneity means that the works might at first seem too similar in their interactions, their one-to-one responsiveness, and their lack of other new media-specific explorations -- such as networked art or dynamic appropriation and re-mixing systems -- it also accomplishes something most museum-based "state of the digital art" shows don't. It uses just one avenue of interest by contemporary media artists in order to dig much deeper into what their practice means, and why it's important. "Act/React" encourages an extremely varied and nuanced investigation of our embodied experiences in our own surroundings. As the curator himself notes in the Museum's press release, "If in the last century the crisis of representation was resolved by new ways of seeing, then in the twenty-first century the challenge is for artists to suggest new ways of experiencing...This is contemporary art about contemporary existence." This exhibition, in other words, implores us to look at action and reaction, at our embodied relationships, as critical experience. It is a contemporary investigation of phenomenology.
I worked in this department (at the top University in Africa) as the
part-time core lecturer for over 3 years, but it seems timing has
worked against me - now that they have a full-time position, I'm
about to pursue my own advanced degree in Ireland. I HIGHLY recommend
considering this job - even if, rather than looking to settle here,
it's just an adventure in Africa for a couple of years (or if you
want some tenure-track, full-time experience). It's a very small
department - three full-time posts - and the interactive MA degree
would be yours to control, with about only 10 grad students per year
(the undergrad courses are new, so I'm not sure how those would run).
Christo, head of the division, is game for all types of
experimentation in practice and curricula, and a master at cutting
through red tape, alternative methods of presentation, and finding
funding and equipment - especially considering this is third world.
I've put a pdf of the post ad at http://atjoburg.net/wits-post.pdf -
and note that if you know any 3D-ers, there is also a post for them
(separate MA degree, in same department) ;)
Contact Christo, email address below, with any q's (and unofficial
ones can come to me, should you want a scoop). Best,
PS note that application deadline is a bit tight - 29 September
WITS UNIVERSITY, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
FACULTY OF HUMANITIES
DIGITAL ARTS (FULL-TIME LECTURESHIP)
LECTURESHIP IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA DESIGN
The successful candidate will be a producing artist working in the
area of interactive/digital arts.
Qualifications: MA, MFA, MPS, MSc or equivalent qualification.
Experienced with at least one interactive development environment and
qualified to teach creative web design and at least two of the
following: multimedia performance, video art, sound art or net.art.
Duties: Teach both production and theory to postgraduate and
undergraduate classes. Supervise postgraduate research projects,
collaborative exhibitions and assist with course administration.
For further information contact Professor Christo Doherty, Head of
Digital Arts, email@example.com or visit
Renumeration: This is a tenure track position or can be a short-term
(two year) contract. A competitive package with excellent benefits
will be offered, dependent on qualifications and experience.
Appointment: Incumbents will be required to assume duty in January
2007, or as soon as possible.
To apply: Submit a covering letter and detailed CV with names
addresses and e-mail addresses of 3 referees, as well as certified
copies of degrees and identity document to - Molly Orr, Human
Resources Manager, Faculty of Humanities, University of the
Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS, 2050, South Africa.
Tel: +27 11 717 1411
Closing Date: 29 September 2006
Compressionism.net. The latest video reflects, both, some of the
performative aspects of the series and the current hand-made
editions; the latter are being created with the help of printmaker
Jillian Ross at David Krut Workshop in Johannesburg. For those who
have not been to the site in a while, the text has also been updated
site-wide, and I am continually uploading new images.
Latest Sound Byte:
Compressionism is a "digital performance and analog archive.
the Upgrade! Johannesburg and the Wits Digital Soiree present:
Dada goes digital - Media Art in a Theatrical Space
Amsterdam-based multi-disciplinary artist, Catherine Henegan, is the
director of The Shooting Gallery, the controversial performance/media
art work currently showing at The Market Theatre. Aided by a computer
and a projection screen, Catherine is also a performer in the work,
editing live content from the Internet into the performance by Aryan
Kaganof and against the sound design by James Webb. In this way she
tracks in real time the way media constructs and reconstructs news
and fiction. She will talk about her approach to the design and
of this challenging multimedia production.
Images available at:
project (say this ten times fast: The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media, a
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, of the Cornell University
Library) has just been re-released under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. I say something like this
on the site:
Sorry to say that since I made this site, I've lost all my source flash
files (dude, I was like, 23, and just starting out, you know?), but you are
welcome to import and re-mix with whatever technologies you see fit / are
able to... download this entire site in one zipped up file (30 MBs of movs,
swfs, and html - I can't believe I ever made sites without CSS).
Why, you ask? Well, it's in celebration of the first iCommons iSummit, of
course! I'll be heading to Rio (w00t!) as the "Creative Commons Artist in
Residence" on Wednesday. Watch nathanielstern.com for live blogging, and a
CC/GPL re-release of [odys]elicit, too (will give compiled Apple/PC versions
as well as source code, but you'll need Director and the TTC-Pro Xtra - or
their demo versions - for the latter).
for NY Arts Magazine now online - will be in the July / August print
edition. I'm stoked:
(also linked off their front page)