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
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 , http://www.lumipendant.com/#commission.