title>Source Code Source Code: On blogging as curating

3.11.05

On blogging as curating



What if a blog could be thought of as an exhibition? It would turn blogging activity into curating.
The idea isn't new at all, but is still somewhat difficult to accept by those practicing traditional curatorial activities. I thought about it last week. What has SOURCE CODE become? I (the blogger) am responsible for selecting works (and other relevant documentation for the purpose of this blog/exhibition), displaying them (their urls) and recontextualizing them from my own point of view. What I am doing in this process is basically what any curator does. Starting from my own subjective views of the world, I try to organize, to give meaning, to make sense out of the cultural production I'm interested in. I include them in my discourse, using them to pass a message. The choices I make have a purpose, they are not random, and consequences can arise from them.

The practice of curating remains the same, only the context changes.

So start staging your own shows. Select, include, exclude, draw similarities, contextualize, organise the unorganisable. Blog your heart out.

21 Comments:

Anonymous carlos katastrofsky said...

i think a curator is more than someone who chooses artworks and talks (writes)about them. a curator is also someone who contextualises artworks in a spatial manner (called exhibition)which is, in my opinion, more than showing it (or a picture of it) in a blog. this is a additional layer of meaning that a blog cannot afford. and there are some other layers too, i think.

3/11/05 16:39  
Anonymous Anónimo said...

I'm according with you, carlos.

3/11/05 17:08  
Blogger Luís Silva said...

But how can you contextualise spacially an artwork that isnt an object? netart (for instance) doesn't exist outside the internet, so how is it possible to organize it spatially? Most of these works are processes and not objects... spatial organization becomes useless

what other layers are you thinking of?

and what is the difference between this blog and for instance ONLINE (a net art show I curated and available at www.atmosferas.net/netart

3/11/05 18:21  
Anonymous carlos katastrofsky said...

> But how can you contextualise spacially an artwork that isnt an object? netart (for instance) doesn't exist outside the internet, so how is it possible to organize it spatially?

...that is what, in my opinion, a curator should think about. again, curating, even in the context of net.art is not about making a list of works, i think. and that is exactly the problem in exhibitions (may they be on- or offline) that deal with art that refers to the net or, in a broader sense, art that has to do with software.
(btw.: sorry for my bad english, i hope you understand what i mean...)
one possible solution to this problem (but not the best) emerged at the end of the nineties, before the dotcom - crash, when art - organisations had a bit more money for net/software/art: they organised meetings and shows in real space for real people, with artists and theorists. in this way they contextualised the artworks - even spatial, and added, again, a layer to the "exhibition". so you`re right when you say

> Most of these works are processes and not objects...

but not

> spatial organization becomes useless.

i think the problem of the spatial organization in the context of new media art is simply not solved yet (as it is in the traditional exhibition business).

--

> I am thinking of your "the original" project (that I really like).

thanks...

> how is spatial display of this work relevant for its understanding or recontextualizing under my subjective criterias? It is processual in essence, so how can you think of space when using it in an exhibition?

this is, to me, a work about space and not about a process. every time a user sits in front of a machine and opens up the website an original is generated. but this happens in two different ways:
a) the traditional way: numbering of a piece. you make an artwork unique if you give it a number as a part of a series. this is a process.
b) if you open up a website, here, in front of your machine, then the code is translated by your browser to a readable page in a special place - at your home (or wherever you are). so, quoting a text about "the original": "According to this fact the net exclusively displays originals - "Original" raises questions about the relationship between copy and original in artistic forms of expression, about the consideration of the internet as a museum where artworks have a specific virtual place where they can be selected, placed, replaced and cloned, actually not asking for the copy since there are ONLY originals that are generated."

in this sense the work is always "spatially displayed".

yeah, and i would like to see it spatially arranged e.g. in an exhibition. but i don`t know how. as mentioned above, i think this problem is not really solved yet.

> what other layers are you thinking of?

e.g.: where do you set up an exhibition? and why there and nowhere else? how do you arrange the space between the artworks? is the exhibition just a row of, e.g. pictures, where it won`t matter if you switch two of them or does it make sense where they are? and so on... there are probably much more interesting (and less traditional) questions if you are going to curate a show, but i'm not a curator.

---
>
> and what is the difference between this blog and for instance ONLINE (a net art show I curated and available at www.atmosferas.net/netart )
>

your blog, as you use it, is just a collection. you select, but you don't curate. your online show goes a step further. it is, as you wrote, the "final result of the mapping and analysis of a triangle constituted by artists, artworks and institutions and respectively their authorial conceptions, codes, discourses and trajectories of legitimization."...and i would add (metaphorically, for this discussion): "in the space of their origin" which is an interesting point. but this online - show has the same problems as mentioned above, at the beginning.

4/11/05 07:43  
Blogger Luís Silva said...

I think issues of space when it comes to netart (for instance) are completely irrelevant (and not a matter of not having been able yet to deal with them in a right manner).

It is impossible to rearrange a group of netart projects spatially when you're doing an online show because you don't work directly with the pieces. They are already online, hosted by some server around the world. You just work with links. You don't show the projects, you indicate where they are. You can rearrange in the screen those urls leading to the works, but the works are already "out there". And is displaying those links spatially in a screen really working with space? I think not.

Organising real exhibitions to show netart is, in my opinion, a bit absurd. The works were created to be online and most of them explore the advantages/difficulties of those aspects of being online. Putting them in a museum space (or whatever real space you think about) is like completely taking them out of their true context where all their complete meaning makes sense. Other than that, having a computer connected to the internet in an exhibition room for people to see the works is pointless. If one can do the same at home, at work or wherever, so what's the point of having it there, in a white cube?

questions of space become extremely different for curators dealing with objects not having physical properties, but being ubiqutous, accesible to anyone at anytime. What's the interest in hanging those in a wall? what can it do for those works? To me, nothing.

4/11/05 09:49  
Blogger Luís Silva said...

this metaphor is interesting:

if you can see an animal in its natural environment, why go see it at the zoo?

4/11/05 16:13  
Blogger Luís Silva said...

(comment mailed to me by carlos katastrofsky)

hi,
i tried to reach you per mail yesterday, but it didn't work (carlos.katastrofsky@gmx.net was not accepted by your provider and carlos@subnet.at was down...). so sorry for flooding your blog.
anyway - back to the discussion:
--
> I think issues of space when it comes to netart (for instance) are completely irrelevant (and not a matter of not having been able yet to deal with them in a right manner).
> It is impossible to rearrange a group of netart projects spatially when you're doing an online show because you don't work directly with the pieces. They are already online, hosted by
> some server around the world. You just work with links. You don't show the projects, you indicate where they are.

yes and no. in the radical sense of ninetiers netart you`re definiely right. netart was something completely new with the approach to exist solely in the net and only being self - reflexive. but - and this is the point of difference when you`re talking about curating - when you curate something it's not enough to provide links. as you did in your online exhibition you
1) selected works and
2) presented links to them on a page and
3) the links were somehow arranged.
so, in my opinion this is curating, but it's not the same as blogging (to go back where we started).

i think there went something wrong with the term "spatial" in our discussion, or maybe it was just too heavy in my head (btw.: i once studied sculpture...). so i'm definitely with you when you say

> And is displaying those links spatially in a screen really working with space? I think not.

maybe i'm just too old fashioned. but imagine an exhibition where the "webstalker" (jodi.org, i think) runs on a computer and besides is a nineteenth century mystic landscape painting (e.g. something from c.d. friedrich).
if i arrange this setting i curate it because i add a layer of meaning (about imagination of landscape, for example). and this is what i had in my head in the last posting. the combining of works in a show - spatial.
if you do an exhibition consisting solely of netart, the "real space" isn't really needed.

> Organising real exhibitions to show netart is, in my opinion, a bit absurd. The works were created to be online and most of them explore the advantages/difficulties of those aspects of being online. Putting them in a museum space (or whatever real space you think about) is like completely taking them out of their true context where all their complete meaning makes sense.

d'accord - except you have something like a meeting of artists etc., as mentioned in the last mail.
but - on the other hand: why not? why not taking them out of their context to show something new?

> questions of space become extremely different for curators dealing with objects not having physical properties, but being ubiqutous, accesible to anyone at anytime. What's the interest in hanging those in a wall? what can it do for those works? To me, nothing.

no, hanging on the wall is definitely not the solution. but i think you have to have the possibilitis of space (which can also have social implications) in mind - even in curating netart. a netart show in the net is good. but put a monitor in a church and show vuc cosic's ascii- rendering of "deep throat".... this adds something more. but, yes, is this a netart show anymore? no.
maybe this isn't even curating...

so, ok. netart is to show on the net. if you don't do it this strict it isn't a netart show anymore - could the solution be that simple?

----

> this metaphor is interesting:
> if you can see an animal in its natural environment, why go see it at the zoo?

maybe to see how it changes the behaviour...

all the best
carlos

5/11/05 18:31  
Blogger Luís Silva said...

You said:
yes and no. in the radical sense of ninetiers netart you`re definiely right. netart was something completely new with the approach to exist solely in the net and only being self - reflexive. but - and this is the point of difference when you`re talking about curating - when you curate something it's not enough to provide links. as you did in your online exhibition you
1) selected works and
2) presented links to them on a page and
3) the links were somehow arranged.
so, in my opinion this is curating, but it's not the same as blogging (to go back where we started).

the difference here is on ONLINE I chose some pretty narrow criteria for selection, I contextualized them according to those criteria and presented them to an audience. On SOURCE CODE there are 2 differences but to me they do not invalidate the concept of curating, they just transform it a bit (something I particularly like) First, it has time, as opposed to ONLINE, that is pretty much static. I chose a number of works and that is that. Here I have all the time of the world, the exhibition is a work in progress, develloping itself, rearranging itself constantly. Second, the criteria is openly subjective in that it is nothing more than my personal view on netart. It could be called "a personal choice", but then again how many personal choices exist as curating criteria? A lot...

So I agree with you when you say they are different, but to me they are the result of the same process. What I did for ONLINE is what i keep doing for SOURCE CODE.



you said:
i think there went something wrong with the term "spatial" in our discussion, or maybe it was just too heavy in my head (btw.: i once studied sculpture...). so i'm definitely with you when you say
it went wrong. i agree with you on that one

YOu said:

maybe i'm just too old fashioned. but imagine an exhibition where the "webstalker" (jodi.org, i think) runs on a computer and besides is a nineteenth century mystic landscape painting (e.g. something from c.d. friedrich).
if i arrange this setting i curate it because i add a layer of meaning (about imagination of landscape, for example). and this is what i had in my head in the last posting. the combining of works in a show - spatial.
if you do an exhibition consisting solely of netart, the "real space" isn't really needed.


I have been talking about netart projects only.I said space was irrelevant having in mind only netart pieces. We both agree on that. but having neart interacting with other media in a show is a different thing. again we agree.

you said:

so, ok. netart is to show on the net. if you don't do it this strict it isn't a netart show anymore - could the solution be that simple?

i wish it was. but my only point is: what is the use of doing it in a museum if it is still online? the museum becomes useless. i can still see the pieces at home. netart has that particularity of the medium being at the same time the way of distribution. You don't hae that with other media.

you said:
maybe to see how it changes the behaviour...

but it is artificial... I see what you mean, but still doesnt strike me as important but that is just a matter of personal judgment)

5/11/05 18:32  
Blogger Marisa Olson said...

Abe Linkoln and I curated an exhibit here that might be of relevance to this conversation:

http://blog-art.blogspot.com/

It's not a blog commenting on blogs, it's a blog of blogs that are art projects. With some, we took more liberty in defining them as "art projects," as a couple of the artists also use their blogs for commentary, but it is all part of the persona they are building and the situationism/contextualization of the work, so that it becomes subsumed as work. And then we included a del.icio.us links for various poetic reasons which would lose their irony if explicated, except to say that the performance involved in folksonomy is an interesting area of practice.

9/11/05 16:24  
Anonymous carlos katastrofsky said...

i recently experimented with del.icio.us and the flock browser. what would you think about "tagging as curating"? - it's an even shorter form than blogging. and maybe there are more possibilities for interaction with the audience...

10/11/05 21:58  
Blogger Marisa Olson said...

I think there are some strong connections, there. Tagging obviously leaves out a lot of the 'traditional' activities of curators, but it can certainly be a part of the curatorial process. See, for instance, Michael Connor's http://del.icio.us/connor/artbase which was both the forerunner to and really a component of Raiders of the Lost Artbase, an online exhibition he guest-curated for Rhizome.

And then there are things of this variety: http://del.icio.us/kick_out_the_internet_jams, a collaborative project by Hanne Mugaas & Cory Arcangel which indexes (not to be confused with archiving) their version of the internet's greatest hits (and memes). Cory talks about his creative use of del.icio.us in this interview with Hanne.

In my only del.icio.us linking & tagging, I've started tagging some things with the names of shows I'm developing. I think this level of transparency and connection-making is interesting.

Of course, most would never consider one's del.icio.us activity a curatorial activity. It completely bypasses the interpersonal and bureacratic realtionships implicit in curating, it doesn't involve the same administrative functions, it is a largely (though not entirely) hands-off approach to positioning the 'work' intellectually and physically, and it doesn't provide for long term care, dissemination, etc...

In fact, it leans frighteningly towards a "taste making" model of curating and we all know how evil that is................................

11/11/05 16:33  
Blogger Luís Silva said...

To me, the main differences between blogging and tagging is the ability to contextualize and to have a critical point of view towards the subject you chose to curate about or even the pieces you chose. In both of them you can select and include, but in tagging there's no room for a critical activity, you just select and juxtapose the works. A debate thus becomes impossible because there's no room for opinions or discussions, and to me, that is one of the most important aspects of curating an exhibition.

Marisa also pointed out the dangers of "taste making". While I understand what she meant, I think it is almost impossible escaping it. Being curating a subjective activity, it is bound, even if in an unconscient way, to matters of taste. I don't think that it is such a terrible thing, as long as it is stated clearly by the curator. An exhibition is always a personal view of a particular theme, so it always expresses issues of taste.

12/11/05 12:44  
Anonymous carlos katastrofsky said...

"contextualisation"
but: what about this: i have an artwork. e.g. the jodi - browser (to refer to the example previous mentioned) and tag it not with "art" or the name of my "exhibition" but with e.g. "landscape". doesn`t this integrate a short contextualisation of the work?

13/11/05 12:40  
Blogger Luís Silva said...

I think that is a good point. "Landscape" acts, in that sense, as a category. You can categorize a whole group of pieces into different categories, and by doing that you get some order (categorizing can be seen as way of ordering the world). It is way of giving some context to the works, but by simply grouping them with other works sharing the same (subjective) properties.

A good example for how categorization is a poor of contextualizing an exhibition and its works is by thinking of a very common category: "chairs". Think of all the diversity of chairs there are. Saying something is a chair is informative, but it doesn't do that much for the object itself... but maybe this is a silly comparison.

14/11/05 14:43  
Anonymous carlos katastrofsky said...

mailed to some new media art mailinglists:
-----------
tagged exhibition - net/art?
i'm currently experimenting with del.icio.us - tags. the idea is to make an exhibition which can be seen in various layers thanks to tagging...
have a look: http://del.icio.us/carlos.katastrofsky
this project is a work in progress and started recently after a discussion about curating with marisa s. olson and luís silva here: http://vercodigofonte.blogspot.com/2005/11/on-blogging-as-curating.html and while reading the comments on rhizome about lev manovich's article "Remix and Remixability"...
by now it's just a concept/ sketch, but:
comments are always welcome!
---------------

17/11/05 17:49  
Blogger m0nks said...

Like a graffiti artist, I have been out tagging. I have tagged all the links from this page with "interactive readymade by carlos katastrofsky"

I have also bookmarked them in a folder called "tagging and duchamp"

I have added a comment on http://rhizome.org/art/exhibition/raiders/

24/11/05 13:04  
Anonymous chiara passa said...

hi there, to me, tagging and curating are two different practice. Curating net-exhibitions via blog needs to contextualize artworks, therefore needs critical activity. In tagging, there is no critical activity ( i'm according with Luis ) and may artworks could be handling in a superficial way. I've also seen the maria olson's blog, i think is a project between tagging and blogging, 'couse the contents are very essential but the artists and artwork's choice not superficial.

1/12/05 13:55  
Anonymous carlos katastrofsky said...

ok, tagging - if you want to see it in a curating sense - is a very superficial and too simple thing for that. i agree.
but, to come back to blogging as curating - i have another question:
is writing an entry in a blog and showing that piece curating? hasn't then every art- book to be an exhibition?
and, another one: does there exist a definition of what "curating" is meant to be? we're talking about a term that's somehow vague, i think.

7/12/05 09:48  
Anonymous chiara passa said...

Writing entry “critical texts” on artworks, in a blog ( the blog in that case become both an online catalogue and galley, and why not, if net-art lives in internet… ), could be better than try curating a nrt-exhibition in a museum...
Carlos, in my opinion, the practice of "curate art" is strictly linked to the art system! And you can imagine why...
“On blogging as a curator” could makes really free the practice of curating art!

25/12/05 11:46  
Blogger j337 said...

Nice thought. I very much agree with your statement. It is very hard to earn money chao!

7/8/09 09:26  
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21/11/09 15:39  

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