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.


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