Critical Journal- Ch.9

The term ‘lifelong learner’ is important for many different careers. This idea can benefit many such as educators, researchers, artists and curators. Lifelong learning is the idea of the continuation of learning at all points in life, especially beyond an institutional education setting. “…curators need to be learners if they are to rethink curating.”1 Rethinking curating to properly contextualize new characteristics is beneficial for other types of art movements beyond contemporary. With new media art showing work that is not centered around the end result, it is often difficult to show in a large gallery setting with programming waitlists.

New media art works with non-collecting galleries and through other means that can properly support the experimental and durational characteristics of the work. Other means in this sense include festivals, various hybrid platforms, broadcasting, public art and so on. Media art can have a presence at festivals without having a specific area for the work to reside. It can be static especially when connected to the audience.

An example of this would be the Lumipendent project at the Nuit Blanche Ottawa and Gatineau, 2013. Created by artist’s Darcy Whyte, Michael Grant and Mark Stephenson. The Lumipendent takes form as a firefly. These fireflies are programmed to interact with other fireflies that are worn by audience members of the festival, and are made out of recycled materials. “These playful Fireflies flow through various light sequences based on human contact and socialization patterns while engaging their audiences into discussion and exchange. From a vantage point the keepers of the fireflies will paint an array of light, data and human interaction into a new space.”2

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Screen shot from source

The Lumipendant project holds new media characteristics of connectivity and inclusion of data from the audience. This  lived well in a festival setting. The Nuit Blanche would be considered a hybrid platform, which means there was necessity to be curated in a differing way. They curator would be working with many networks which would allow every network to allure a different audience, therefore linking a larger network together. Because of these reasons holding space for a hybrid platform, such as a festival, is beneficial for new media art. Another benefit is time and money. Because the festivals have a shorter duration than an exhibition they are able to facilitate the work and gather volunteers and equipment with more ease. The curator does not need to facilitate the technological problems and possibility of burnout of volunteers for quite as long. In terms of the Lumnipendant project, the fireflies were made out of recycled material that was donated from a sponsor which makes the festival and project more affordable. It also is advantageous to the sponsor.

1Graham, Beryl, and Sarah Cook.Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010. 243. Print.

2“Lumipendant Firefly – Wearable, Hackable, Social Light Installation.” Lumipendant Firefly, Nuit Blanche Ottawa and Gatineau ,


Critical Journal- ch.10

Collaboration in Curating is about curating and highlights a strong emphases on the position of a curator to there being barely any focused curatorial role. In other words, this chapter explores artist led and audience led curating and how this shift changes the way an exhibition takes form.

Institutional art galleries are white cubes that have a high budgets and set staff positions. Alternative spaces exist through artist run culture and iindependent organizations. Running an alternative space from an institutionalized gallery requires collaboration and communication.

Artist led ways of working deals a lot with connectivity which highlights new media because new media includes connectivity as a characteristic. Artist led & new media are a great team and fosters team working, simpler collaboration between parties, and more accessibility to production and distribution of new work. The questions of sustainability, access to resources (funding), and of time within volunteers all contribute to potential pitfalls within artist led culture.

Often artist’s become curators for practical and functional reasons. They find it necessary to represent emerging art activity that other organizations are not showing. They are able to control how projects are being contextualized and presented. Unfortunately artists taking over a space will not receive the same amount of engagement from the public as a more institutional setting. They are also susceptible to artist burnout, and contributing to gentrification. Gentrification is more common in large cities such as Vancouver as can be viewed in the Great Northern Way sector with the new building of Emily Carr and various other art galleries. More can be read, in a positive context, here.

Although artist led culture may put institutions in a taboo context, it is possible to self- institutionalize. “The artist-led models described in the first half of this chapter are based predominantly on a space or place, even if temporary. Self- institutionalization as a mode of practice within the field of new media art differs from self-institutionalization in the field of contemporary art in that the institutions that artist’s create for themselves are not always physically bound and the range of institutions they can emulate is so much more varied.”1

I found myself questioning if an artist led way of working could live online. If a self-institutionalized centre could live non physically so could an artist led centre. An example would be TRIBE INC., based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They do have an online presence, although that is not the sole way they represent themselves. Their site states “As an artist-run-center focused on the presentation of contemporary Aboriginal art in a variety of institutional and public spaces. Tribe has developed a series of successful partnerships and collaborations with different organizations in Saskatchewan and beyond.”2 To physically show work, they partner with other organizations but their space lives online. Below is an example of how Tribe, in collaboration with AKA gallery,  is able to facilitate a space that would not be as readily utilized through a bigger institution. 

Robert Houle, Palisade.1999 source


1Graham, Beryl, and Sarah Cook.Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010. 260. Print.

2 TRIBE. “Mandate « TRIBE Inc.” TRIBE Inc RSS,

Critical Journal- chapter 8

Chapter eight allows new media art to live in the institutional art galleries. Within this home, there are many questions. Some are easily answered such as why would new media artist’s want to show in an art museum? Other include the communication and working procedures that go along with working across multiple departments. And of course, curatorial based questions such as the reasoning behind including new media arts in an exhibit, and how to properly show, collect and archive the new media works.

“…new media art crosses traditional boundaries of space, time, media, taxonomy, and disciplines1”. In the chapter, it is stated how large institutions are slow paced when it comes to including artworks that push the mold of the gallery setting. In terms of new media art, there are many shifts that need to take place within a gallery to properly accommodate this type of work. Having proper staff in the technical department, having curators that are able to understand the characteristics and complexities of the new mediums, and knowing how to properly contextualize the work are all crucial factors that take time. It is more common to see new media art live outside of gallery walls, and if they do reside in a gallery it is often at artist run centers. More often these galleries  have mandates that foster the experimental which is often communicated through video, performance, media, etc.

In the year of 2016 there are large institutions that are holding space for new media art and have the ability to contextualize, create online presence and catalogues for the work in a way that makes sense. Such example includes Mash up: The Birth of Modern Culture that was shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery during February 20th to May 15th, 2016. I am unaware of the VAG’s collection, and whether the show was exhibited mainly  from their collection, but it would not be a stretch to believe that the institution is collecting a base of media works that would include new media art. Mash Up comprised of thirty curators who worked collaboratively to assemble the show, which is a different from traditional curation.

The show consists of four floors that have differing themes, but each floor has components of new media arts that are explored, although the show does not centre around new media arts. The second floor titled Splicing, Sampling and the Street in the Age of Appropriation, has this to say in the description “Extending and reconfiguring earlier practices, artists in this third wave of mashup culture used mimicry and parody to question the nature of representation, expose the seductive power of images and destabilize dominant power structures. In addition, the increased availability of personal computers in the 1980s and improvements in digital graphics, sound and design programs spurred new approaches to art production, with Net Art presenting the computer as a distinct medium2”. The whole write up can be found here. Browsing the site is recommended as it goes into detail about what each floor holds, how the show was created through collaborators, and there is info about the publication.  



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Hito Steyerl’s installation. Liquidity Inc. (source)

1Graham, Beryl, and Sarah Cook.Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010. 194. Print.
2″Splicing, Sampling and the Street in the Age of Appropriation.” Vancouver Art Gallery. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.