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.
differentiation you have made, and will act accordingly.
I'm off to brainshower (really bad brainstorm pun, but I could not
Hope all is well with you,
On Mar 20, 2006, at 5:48 PM, Lauren Cornell wrote:
> Hi Nathaniel,
> Great to hear from you, and interesting to note that you dream up art
> proposals in the shower ;)
> One proposal per person is the policy that Rhizome has been working
> with. It
> seems that it would set a troubling precedent to allow multiple
> by the same person. It raises questions like: what's the maximum
> you would
> be allowed to submit? And, do other applicants suffer from a
> disadvantage? It would also place you in a bit of a conundrum, as
> you would
> be competing against yourself.
> Its OK to be involved in two applications but not if you are the
> lead artist
> on both, i.e. If you are supporting or collaborating with your
> friend in
> some way, but it is ultimately his project, that is fine.
> I'm glad you brought this up.
> On 3/18/06 6:15 AM, "nathaniel" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> Hey Lauren, Marisa and Rhizome Community:
>> I put uploaded a pretty simple commission proposal that I had come up
>> with in the shower, last week. Then, this week, a friend asked me to
>> collaborate on a proposal with him. I'm pretty sure that Rhizome only
>> allows one submission per member after log-in, but I thought, well,
>> my potential collaborator could easily join Rhizome and list me
>> alongside himself via his own membership.
>> My question is how Rhizome staff and community would feel about this.
>> I'm happy to choose one or the other if people think this unfair and
>> that each member should only be a part of one proposal, but also
>> certainly wouldn't mind entering both if it's ok with y'all.
>> Thanks for letting me know,
>> -> post: email@example.com
>> -> questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
>> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/
>> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
>> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
>> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/
I put uploaded a pretty simple commission proposal that I had come up
with in the shower, last week. Then, this week, a friend asked me to
collaborate on a proposal with him. I'm pretty sure that Rhizome only
allows one submission per member after log-in, but I thought, well,
my potential collaborator could easily join Rhizome and list me
alongside himself via his own membership.
My question is how Rhizome staff and community would feel about this.
I'm happy to choose one or the other if people think this unfair and
that each member should only be a part of one proposal, but also
certainly wouldn't mind entering both if it's ok with y'all.
Thanks for letting me know,
Mar 03, 2006: MTAA
3pm, WSOA Digital Arts
At their permission, Nathaniel Stern will be presenting the work of
MTAA, a Brooklyn based digital art duo, most famous for their
extremely provocative and quirky networked art:
Artists M. River and T. Whid formed MTAA in 1996 and soon after began
to explore the internet as a medium for public art. The duo
licence; thanks to Cary Peppermint for being so SUPERCOOL. I know I
could not have done this without you. I'm on the path, I know it, I
can feel it, cuz I don't care:
Announcing the latest node in the International Upgrade! network:
Johannesburg, South Africa.
We begin this Friday with a presentation by Daniel Hirschmann, 3PM in
the "Digital Convent" at Wits School of the Arts' Digital Arts
Program. Map: http://www.wits.ac.za/artworks/contact/map.htm
Daniel Hirschmann is an artist, technology enthusiast and Harry
Potter fan. He is passionate about building and playing with
sculptural interfaces between the real and digital worlds. Other
interests include most things geeky, gorgeous or interesting. His
work has been shown at art exhibitions and conferences in New York,
France, England and South Africa. Recent works include a tactile 3D
display surface titled Glowbits (2004), and an exhibition involving a
fleet of personality enhanced robots in Nice, the Nicebots (2004).
His days are currently spent as a researcher in Fabrica, Benetton's
creativity hub in Italy.
His presentation: an introduction to the Benetton-owned creative hub
known to the world as Fabrica - a space in which the fusion of Art
and Marketing is explored. In the presentation, Daniel will look at
questions of approach and creativity tailored to the retail /