Wednesday, July 2, 2014

[Yasmin_discussions] ART, NEW MEDIA, AND SOCIAL MEMORY


Jonathan Zillberg sends us this contribution, which can also can be
accessed at this address:

and Refers back to Bronac Ferran's edited book Visualise (2013)
details of the Visualise Programme being accessible accessed at
and at


Jonathan Zillberg

for those of you who just joined the YASMIN list- this discussion is
about conservation and restoration
of new media art- with the authors Jon Ippolito and Rick Rinehard as
our discussants
the book is


Dear Yasminers

following this week's discussion thread,In all these fascinating posts
and links, I am particularly drawn to Johannes Goebel's perspectiveon
"time based art" and the problem they pose for art museums and
archives requiring conversion rather than being objects.

Referring back to Bronac Ferran's edited book Visualise (2013) details
of the Visualise Programme being accessible accessed at
and at

my particular interest is in what remains of a showof time based art
after the event outside of its description in a books such as this
with its attendant still images.It seems to me that artists are
providing solutions in advance as part of their owndocumentation of
their work and making those public as for instance in William Latham's
workposted on you tube and the materials and links provided in Liliane
Lijn's facebook web page as Icomment upon in the Caldaria
review.Beyond that, in short, it seems to me that the best solution
might be to film these works as theyare experienced during exhibition
for the record. Moreover, what with publications about theworks
themselves and the artists' intentions and the on-line opportunities
if a slightly moredetached approach was taken to the issue permanence
and instead the emphasis shifted toseeing such art as part of an
evolving tradition, cultural artefacts, most of which will beephemeral
as Johannes Goebel's so well puts it, this appears a reasonable way to
look at thingsconsidering the problems at hand.I'd like to add a few
comments to perhaps extend the discussion with that agenda in mind
andconsidering that
Visualise has a special relevance to current discussion in the
Leonardocommunity interested in cross-sector collaboration.

Bronac's book speaks directly to new arts policy shifts, particularly
it seems to the long termgeneralized impact of
The Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration, Final Report
,2003, published by the British Government which made a policy
conclusion that thegovernment and industry should promote university
business interaction ( In this context,
it is important to stress that Visualise was by nomeans an isolated or
unique happening in terms of public engagement with a city through
thearts. For instance, in "Creation, Location, Creation" in
(Un)Common Ground: CreativeEncounters across Sectors and Disciplines"
(2007, pp. 96-103), edited by Cathy Brickwood,Bronac Ferran, David
Garcia and Tim Putnam, Ferran describes a predating experiment
inBristol between The Watershed Media Centre and Hewlett-Packard that
is very much in linewith the Cambridge project.

There she emphasizes the irony of how through it had been
oftenthought that media culture would undermine community, in fact in
publically funded arts projects connecting academia and business, the
opposite is occurring. And as CharlesLeadbetter, an authority on
creativity and innovation also notes in that edited collection,
the21st Century is one of mass participation as so well exemplified
with the sound boxes and soundwalks created by Duncan Speakman which
constitute the final artists' essay in Visualise On the problem of how
one curates immateriality, also in\ Un)common Ground, Beryl
Graham's"Edits From a Crumb Discussion List Theme," Charlie Gere
comments on how canonical arthistory cannot incorporate new media art
because the departments, the galleries and themuseums are "structured
according to the techno-cultural conditions of the times in which
theyfirst emerged in the late 18th and early 19th century." (p. 216).
This issue of how to archive anevent such as Visualise is elemental.
Instead of a new media art history record, what we havefor the record
is Ferran's edited collection with its excellent and highly telescopic
discussionsabout what transpired in Cambridge during 2012.

As a text on a media art event, it not onlyarchives enough data and
insight to give us a very solid idea of what Visualise was about
andwhy but also refers us to on-line web information pertaining to the
show. It occurs to me thatcase studies of such exhibitions and what
remains at the end of the day in that particularinstitution might be
worth looking in addition to the suggestions made in previously in
thisdiscussion list.In such highly enabled participatory times, I find
it interesting to recall that Gere prefaced theabove insight with the
fundamentally important point raised by Jacques Derrida as follows:
"thetechnical structure of the [. . . ] archive also determines the
structure of the archivable contenteven in its very coming into
existence and in its relationship to the future. This
archivizationproduces as much as it records the event" and "what is no
longer archived in the same way isno longer lived in the same way" (p.
216). These problems of ruptures in art history and a lackof
documentation raises a central issue which needs to be met in the
future and it seems thisdiscussion is moving in that direction and
with the hindsight of the considerable experiencethat has fortunately
come to our collective light through this discussion thread.The
problem identified by Graham and others is that the 17
Century discursive andinstitutional practices which still inform
mainstream art history excluding new media art, orwhatever term one
wants to use (if indeed any collective term is needed outside of "time
basedart") are unable to accommodate new media art for this is all
about change and evolution,explicitly so. As a photograph by way of
illustration can give us little appreciation for the kind ofwork
William Latham does as shown at
Visualise, the you tube film he has posted is critical. Thework he
does today with form synth rules and protein structures at Imperial
College expandscore ideas he was working on while a student at the
Ruskin School of Drawing in the 1960'swhen he was creating spiral
balsa wood sculptures. But the new work requires new
exhibitionplatforms and records. So in brief, the elemental problem is
how to record, archive and make accessible this type of art or for
that matter that of Liliane Lijn, Jamie Allen's nine screen
audiovisual installation and Eduardo Kav's work also show there.

My question to this discussion is this: Does not Bronac Ferran's
edited text, as the Visualise project's legacy in the most condensed
and integrated available form, call out for a new form ofbook, perhaps
some form of e-book in which each image is linked to a multi-media
archive inwhich we can experience the multi-dimensional nature of the
art albeit without the interactivity – that could be additionally
provided by film. That is the essential problem that keeps coming tomy
mind. In essence, as the technological form of traditional textual
representation is bound tothe old art history, time based arts might
well require a whole new order of publicationplatform and that form
could compromise a new form of archive and open
accessmuseumification.Finally, I note a relevant paper being presented
this week at the conference on Cloud andMolecular Aestheticsin
Istanbul by Simone Mandl and Petra Gemeinboeck titled "Theresonance of
the Document: Productive Archival Methodologies in the Experimental
Arts" inthe program available at and
of-coursethere is Simone Osthoff's excellent Archive Fever.

Yasmin_discussions mailing list

Yasmin URL:

SBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.
HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").
TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.
If you prefer to read the posts on a blog go to