How to Do Curating with Digital Art

Published on November 18th, 2021


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Has the gallery space been as deeply transformed as the works that it exhibits? What new spaces, concepts and working methods have been developed in response to these artworks? What remains of the pioneering works of previous decades, their materiality and functioning, and what traces of this highly ephemeral artistic production will be saved for future generations?

Curatorial practices for digital and post-digital art

Lille, CEAC Lille University
18 November 2022,
organised by Carlijn Juste

 

From the digital space to the space of the gallery: Curatorial practices for digital and post-digital art

Digital technologies are a structuring factor in contemporary society. As Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the MIT Media Lab, announced in 1998, digital technologies have become so common in everyday life that, ‘Like air and drinking water, being digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence’. While 20 years ago digital technologies were still perceived as innovative or even revolutionary, today they are ubiquitous to a degree that they are only noticed when one no longer has access to them.

When major American museums began to show greater interest in digital and computational art forms in the late 1990s and early 2000s, digital works were still a rather recent development in the arts and presented themselves as pioneering practices. Today, they occupy a position at the very heart of contemporary artistic production. Many artistic objects are not purely digital or purely physical but located somewhere on a continuum between these two poles, allowing for translations and re-translations from one sphere to the other, with physical matter becoming digital code and vice versa.

Artists have explored these new materialities and the aesthetic potential they generate in their artwork, but it is important to also consider how such explorations incorporate the physical space of the art gallery. The space, intentionally created or chosen by the artist or curator, constitutes the very conditions for the perception of an artwork. It is our conviction that those works that explore the new materialities of digital technology and media, have facilitated the emergence of new curatorial forms and require an adaptation of exhibition spaces, museums and art centres.

These developments have provoked a set of interrelated questions: Has the gallery space been as deeply transformed as the works that it exhibits? What new spaces, concepts and working methods have been developed in response to these artworks? What remains of the pioneering works of previous decades, their materiality and functioning, and what traces of this highly ephemeral artistic production will be saved for future generations?

This study day is intended to allow a space for reflection, bringing together art historians and theorists, curators, artists and art critics. It will provide opportunities to discuss the status of digital and post-digital artworks and strategies for their display in contemporary art museums.

The conference is free of charge but it will be necessary to register here: https://www.weezevent.com/-4559

PROGRAMME

Morning: moderated by Véronique Goudinoux (Professor for Visual Arts, Lille University)

10:00: Opening statement Carlijn Juste PhD candidate in Visual Arts (CEAC, Lille, France), PhD candidate in Art History (Groningen University, the Netherlands)

10:20 – 11:20: How to Do Curating with Digital Art (conference in English)
Annet Dekker, independent researcher and curator, Assistant Professor Archival Science at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Lecturer at London South Bank University

11:20-11:30: coffee break

11:30 – 12:30: Ceci n’est pas un médium – l’exposition comme rencontre (conference in French)
J. Emil Sennewald, doctor of letters, art critic, co-coordinator of the research group Displays at ENSAD, Paris

12:30-14:00: Lunch break

Afternoon: moderated by Carlijn Juste

14:00-15:00: « Writing the History of the Future », the ZKM collection (conference in English)
Morgane Stricot, conservator-restorer, head of digital conservation at the ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany

15:00-15:10: coffee break

15:10-16:10: Panel Discussion with Christophe Brouard (director of the Musées de Soissons), Clément Thibault (art critic, curator, artistic director at the Cube, Paris), Caroline Carton (production manager, lille3000), David Ayoun (artist, graduate of Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, art teacher at ESÄ – Nord-Pas-de-Callais) and Lucien Bitaux (artist, student at Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, PhD student in Visual Arts, Université de Lille, ULR CEAC 3587) (in French)

16:10-16:30: Discussion between presenters and the public


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