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Exhibition Histories and New Media Behaviours

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How can a history of exhibitions inform curators on the challenges of exhibiting new media art? How can histories of exhibitions dealing with interaction and participation inform the curation of new media art involving these behaviours? Exhibitions of broadly conceptual or immaterial work such as Information (1970) and Les Immatériaux (1985) lead to an examination of exhibitions where participation is key, including Bodyspacemotionthings (1971 and 2009), Serious Games (1996), 010101 (2001), The Art of Participation (2008), and Current (2011). New media artworks including Talkaoke, www_hack, and Random Information Exchange help to establish critical categories for different kinds of participatory systems. For future critical art histories of participatory art exhibitions, I propose that an effective method would include a combination of documentary sources, such as installation images, audience data, and crowd-sourced documentation.
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Keywords: audience; exhibition documentation; exhibition histories; interactivity; new media art; new media curating; participation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sunderland

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Curatorial Studies is an international, peer-reviewed publication that explores the cultural functioning of curating and its relation to exhibitions, institutions, audiences, aesthetics and display culture. The journal takes a wide perspective in the inquiry into what constitutes "the curatorial." Curating has evolved considerably from the connoisseurship model of arranging objects to now encompass performative, virtual and interventionist strategies. While curating as a spatialized discourse of art objects remains important, the expanded cultural practice of curating not only produces exhibitions for audiences to view, but also plays a catalytic role in redefining aesthetic experience, framing cultural conditions in institutions and communities, and inquiring into constructions of knowledge and ideology.
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