Publishing and Exhibiting Online. Or, How to Create and Sustain a Performative Archive

Published on September 12th, 2017


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Regarding the World Wide Web as a source of information, an open space for communication as well as a site of power dynamics, this presentation will reflect on the challenges of online curating. In particular, it will explore attempts to create online exhibitions and publications. These approaches reference Umberto Eco’s description of ‘the open work’, but are foremost a reflection on the medium that is used, which is performative and processual.

Art’s Exhibition Histories Online

Through a research strand dedicated to exhibition histories, Afterall investigates issues raised by art of the recent past in its becoming public in particular places and times. Featuring keynote presentations first from Samuel Weber and then Annet Dekker, this symposium will enquire into online opportunities within the field of art’s exhibition histories, asking: what sort of sensual and discursive justice might a web platform offer past shows of art, as distinct, perhaps, from the provisions of the printed page? Online examples will be discussed – including Afterall’s own work to date – but the emphasis will lie on addressing some attendant philosophical, digital and political concerns.

Art’s Exhibition Histories Online
Thursday 16 November, 16:30–19:00

Room D115/D117
Central Saint Martins
University of the Arts London
Granary Building
1 Granary Square
King’s Cross
London N1C 4AA

Places are limited and must be booked in advance. To join us, please email l.hartnoll[at]afterall.org.

Samuel Weber
‘Pictures After an Exhibition’

This presentation opens with an oblique approach to the question of exhibition histories: via a reflection on an acoustical, musical predecessor. This raises the question of the multi-sensory and mixed-medial nature of art exhibitions, which is discussed in relation to Benjamin’s theory of ‘aura’ and its possible relevance to the convergence of analogical and digital techniques of artistic production and diffusion.

Samuel Weber teaches critical theory and comparative literature at Northwestern University, and is also the Director of its Paris Program in Critical Theory. He is currently working to complete a book tentatively titled ‘Toward a Politics and Poetics of Singularity’.

Annet Dekker
‘Publishing and Exhibiting Online; Or, How to Create and Sustain a Performative Archive’

Regarding the World Wide Web as a source of information, an open space for communication as well as a site of power dynamics, this presentation will reflect on the challenges of online curating. In particular, it will explore attempts to create online exhibitions and publications. These approaches reference Umberto Eco’s description of ‘the open work’, but are foremost a reflection on the medium that is used, which is performative and processual.

Annet Dekker is Assistant Professor Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor at London South Bank University (as part of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image), as well as an independent curator. She recently edited the volume Lost and Living (in) Archives (Valiz), and currently she’s finishing her monograph Collecting and Conserving Net Art (Routledge).

The symposium will start with some brief remarks by Lucy Steeds, Reader in Art Theory and Exhibition Histories (Afterall, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London), who will then chair questions after the presentations. We are grateful to University of the Arts London’s Digital Fund for supporting this event.


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