« Online/Offline : New curatorial strategies for digital art » D?m?ter – Théories & pratiques artistiques contemporaines
Organization: Déméter, Lille University
Déméter is a peer reviewed interdisciplinary scientific journal. The journal, which is published twice a year, favors the dialogue between the arts (visual arts, cinema, theatre, dance, music), as well as with the humanities in general (philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology). The journal is dedicated to reflecting on the articulations between theory and practice (artistic practice or the practice of analysis), between scientific discourse and creative gestures, between knowledge and imagination.
Digital art, new media, museography, social media, exhibition theory and practice, curation of digital artworks, materiality of digital art, collaborations in the arts.
This special issue of the journal Déméter intends to question new curatorial strategies that appeared in the verge of born digital artworks, circulating across the boundaries of physical and virtual spaces. Virtuality and reality have become porous, their limits blurred. Physical and virtual spaces are inseparability linked to one another and artworks move across the physical space of the museum institution and the virtual space of online platforms. This publication is therefore interested in curatorial approaches for both physical and digital spaces and the porosity that exists between the two of them. The publication follows up on the conference "From digital space to the space of the gallery: curatorial strategies for digital and post-digital art" which took place on November 18, 2021 at the Maison Européenne des Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société in Lille, France (http://galeriecommune.com/journee-detude-de-lespace-numerique-a-lespace-de-la-galerie/).
This publication is interested in art projects making creative and critical use of digital technologies such as programming, virtual or augmented reality, robotics, the use of data and new forms of image creation. In a world where digital tools are a structuring condition of life and of all cultural production (Stalder 2016), digital art is a powerful tool to understand our present and future (Ertan 2016, p.4-5). It can offer alternative approaches and narratives to dominant uses of technology, highly influenced by globalized capitalism. The artistic institution therefor can be a unique place to reflect on the paramount influences of technological devices on our lives and our thought processes. At the same time, the specific digital artworks we are interested in for this publication project question the ways artworks are exhibited within cultural institutions (Cook and Graham 2012) and demand for different curatorial approaches.
Curators and artists experiment new ways of exhibiting these artworks both online and offline. Despite the fact that these works now occupy an important place in the contemporary art world and can claim a certain historicity (Paul 2016), there is little research on how digital art prompts us to rethink the exhibition and in particular how these works and practices can open up new possibilities for it (Dekker 2021).
The upheavals brought about by digital technology are transforming the ways in which artworks are produced and exhibited. Rather than presenting the outcome of a creative process, the exhibition shows a prototype, a temporary version of a work that remains flexible and maneable. The unstable materiality of the work provokes evolutions that sometimes go beyond what was imagined by the artist and creates new relationships with the time and space of the exhibition. The exhibition of digital artworks also gives rise to new collaborative practices with scientists, programmers, artists, institutions and viewers, sometimes with robots or artificial intelligences, not only during the production phase but also throughout the life of the works. These collaborations render definitions and roles of the artist and the work, the ones of the curator, the art institution and the viewer blurry and permeable.
These boundaries are further thrown open by social networks, which offer everyone the possibility to exhibit themselves. These platforms of visibility, used by both artists and institutions, develop a terminology borrowed from the cultural scene: online exhibition, online exhibition space, curator, digital objects, gallery on Instagram, etc. At the same time, digital processes, images and objects are infiltrating the physical space of the museum, not only on screens or through interactive installations, projections, robotic objects and virtual or augmented environments, but also through the re-translation of digital images and processes into physical objects.1 Digital and physical thus become interconnected, both in terms of the materiality of the works and the spatiality of the exhibitions.
The aim of this issue of the journal is to examine how artworks using digital technologies have transformed the way we think and make exhibitions, both practically and theoretically. What new curatorial strategies have emerged in response to interactivity, variability and technical materiality of the works? What are the forms of online art exhibitions and what are their repercussions on the physical space and its processes? Finally, what are the new modes of collaboration that emerged through the uses of digital technology, its algorithms, its programming, its technically complex assemblies of material components?
This issue will consist of a choice of theoretical articles and case studies of specific exhibitions, or works. It is also open to interviews with artists or curators concerning the exhibition of these works of art or the presentation of artist portfolios.
1Several terms have been proposed to describe this correlation between digital and physical objects. Post-Digital and Post-Internet refer to art practices that are deeply informed by digital processes, but present themselves with a physical materiality like painting, sculpture or photography. The New Aesthetic is a term used by James Bridle in 2012 to describe the increasing appearance of the visual language of digital technology and the Internet in the physical world and the mixing of the virtual and the physical. Christiane Paul attempts to describe the integration of the digital into the objects, images and structures we encounter on a daily basis, as well as the way we understand ourselves in relation to them with the term Neomateriality.
New ways of exhibiting digital works in the physical space of the museum institution :
Materiality and immateriality of digital artworks and their variable deployment in the exhibition space
Study of the forms of collaboration of the artist and the institution with other professions (programmers, engineers, technicians, etc.)
Description of the roles and status of curators, artists, conservators or spectators.
Study of new forms of online exhibitions:
New modes of visibility of works and exhibitions through social media
Reflection on the different exhibition platforms: uses of social networks or custom websites, each with their own potentials and biases
Porosity between physical exhibition spaces and digital spaces
Study of works that migrate between physical and digital spaces
Reflections on the multiple links between online and offline exhibitions
Abstract of 2500 characters should be transmitted to the editorial board by 25 November 2022. The abstract should contain the title, the author's first and last name, the organization to which the paper is related and a list of keywords. Proposals should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authors whose proposals are accepted should send their final papers of 12000 to 35000 characters to the coordinators by 3 March 2023. Authors are requested to use the journal's presentation and formatting standards. Two selections will be made once the full texts have been received: the first by the issue editors; the second by two anonymous peer experts.
This issue is coordinated by Carlijn Juste, doctoral student in Art History (University of Groningen, ICOG) and in Visual Arts (University of Lille, ULR CEAC 3587) and Nathalie Stefanov, doctor in Visual Arts, art teacher at the École supérieure d'art Dunkerque/ Tourcoing, associate researcher at the Centre d'Etude des Arts Contemporains (CEAC. EA 3587), University of Lille, and member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA Belgium).
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