Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Organizing "media" art...

Dear Ela,
Thanks so much for this summary of thoughts about the Transmediale and the ongoing terminological struggles.
Several things came to mind lately, but first of all, I find it funny to hear again and again that we reached a level where we used up a lot of different terms to describe new media art, net art, or media art; I wonder if using “other” words would help, because we certainly produce a lot of different and new works, with different combinations of media, interactive or not, projected or on screen, web-driven or on a dvd-drive. So much is happening in a mutli-layered way, that it seems that the words which are trying to define these events and projects are “out of place” the moment they are used...
I started trying to describe my own work, or the work of others, with several words, so not one particular term, but a whole combination of influences and “locations” to describe what I am producing, or what the work I am talking about seems to come from…which sometimes might feel like a lot of information at once....

Which leads me to several recent observations:
I just came across a novice and smart approach of categorizing art works: rhizome’s ArtBase invites artists to define their own terminology to describe their work, and, after a while this terminology, when used actively and often by the community, will be included in a larger terminological context used by the whole organization.

Language is in motion. One approach for getting out of the “new media ghetto”…?

Another example is this years’ Prix Ars Electronica categories: net art is gone it seems as first, just to be found submerged into Digital Communities. Hybrid Art is the new category. So Digital Communities seems to be a broader field this year. Interactive art includes per definition “network projects” now, but when it comes to submitting the work, only Digital Communites "allows" to submit a URL and to convey purely web-based pieces as what they are: they only way to “experience” and “navigate” web-based art is, yes, by going online. Putting a DVD together about a net-art piece, is in my mind one of the hardest tasks…
As these main categories seem to have many, many sub-categories, it makes it still difficult and tight matching a “mutlple-media” work into the “right” place for submissiom…
And so I wonder again, wouldn’t it be easier letting the artist define, or check several categories what their work is about, instead of offering a complex menu, that doesn’t match after all…I feel quite overwhelmed by procedures like this.

You were asking: is the distinction between old and new media still a relevant aspect of defining contemporary art practice?
I am noticing a convergence between “all” the media in all “new” art works, specially seen and exhibited in non-profit art places, where market-driven boundaries that define a sellable object are often left out. There, art can be a process, a trip to the desert or the north pole, (with a documentation to show afterwards maybe), an interview, a screening, a web-based collection of “objects” and/or “data”, which is collected via the web, but conveyed besides the Web also in the gallery/art space.

I’d say as an artist it’s the best idea to be inventive with describing your work with your own words and “categories”, which will change eventually the venues that showcase work….

Ok, here I stop for now. But not without posting a few links and projects, I came across in the last couple of weeks. Check out below.


1) An article in the NYSUN (from October 06) on the creation of a Department of “Media” at the MOMA:
The article states, that “Nomenclature in emerging fields is often tricky. In choosing the term "media" over, say "new media" — a title that would instantly become dated — MoMA seems to be standing on firm ground.”
The article discusses of how next to museums also schools are rethinking of how to define their “new” institutes, which are based on digital media, time-based media, interactive media….

It seems that “new media” is “out” per definition, but found in more descriptive terminology of their practice, and not based on a “dated” term.


Call for Papers
Please also check out the Call for Papers on the media-N website,
Bits, Bytes and the Rhetoric of Practice: New Media Artist

New deadline for submissions: April 30 2007.

In this upcoming edition of media-N, we invite new media arts practitioners to submit personal artist statements and examples of their practice – we want to hear about you and your practice!

3) A new show based on an interesting curating model is happening in London at http Gallery: http://www.http.uk.net/
It’s called: “Do It With Others(DIWO):_E-Mail-Art at NetBehaviour
An E-Mail-Art project on the NetBehaviour email list culminating in an exhibition at the HTTP Gallery in London.”

4) An amazing resource of new media curating; (I’ve came across this a while ago, but wanted to list it finally)