Art is an experience, a phrase that had been reiterated over and over again in our class. In the beginning of the semester I never quite understood what that meant. To me, art was more or less an object; something that was put on a wall of a hallway or museum. I understood the significance of historical art, like the Mona Lisa or the Vitruvian Man, but modern art made zero sense to me. What was the point to Jackson Pollock and any of his “paint splatters”? Before experiencing this class, Jackson Pollock was vague and unexciting, there was no point. After experiencing this class, I’ve come to realize that no definite point exists, that the art in itself is an experience to the individual and the discussions about it.
Curating, as discovered by Obrist and our exhibits, is less about showcasing art and more about taking a creative approach to the ways the art is displayed. Art can be grouped according to theme or in a certain direction according to the curator’s interpretation, e.g. ELIT at the Library of Congress. The art could also be displayed in a completely random manner with no direction whatsoever, as that may be part of the message the curator wanted to convey. In the case of Game Changers, the art was grouped and displayed by innovations. This way, visitors to the exhibit could see similar inventions in storytelling side by side and find their own significance to these inventions. This grouping was important as it brought the innovations to the forefront. By themselves in an otherwise random fashion, the games that were displayed may have been seen just as games rather than the innovations that were sought to be highlighted.
“The curator is not the controller, but the releaser” (Obrist, 195). It is important for the curator of an exhibit to release the potential in the showcased artwork rather than just showcase artwork for the sake of displaying it. In that case, the artwork in the exhibit is reduced to merely objects rather than any message that was to be interpreted. Curating is a fundamental process by which the received message of an art piece can be intertwined between related, yet otherwise unconnected, art pieces. It is important to let the art be a vehicle for delivering the curator’s interpretation or statement as well let the visitor experience their own.
Art is an ephemeral. Not in the same sense that the piece itself is fleeting, but the experience is. As human beings we only truly experience something once. The second time we have that experience it is diluted and never like the first. However, the experience can be shared and the experiences other human beings have had can be shared with us. Art is the vehicle by which ideas and messages can be exchanged in critical conversations, and while these experiences may be ephemeral, we will engage in new and very real experiences over and over again, each just as fleeting as the first.
Electronic Literature and Its Emerging Forms is an exhibition showcasing the electronic literary works, from their beginnings to the new. Electronic Literature in this sense has been around just about as long as has the ability to create them has. In this sense, the Electronic Literature Exhibit is an exhibition showcasing the evolution of the natural need for human expression. Human expression has been a fundamental part of our existence since we we came about, soin other words, “electronic literature is a natural outgrowth of literary experimentation and human expression” (Grigar).
The layout of the Electronic Literature and Its Emerging Forms Exhibit was as such: Within the center existed the showcased works, how electronic literature exists at the very moment. To the left of these works were five “Context Stations showing connections to and contextualizing the experiments.” To the right of the center were Creation Stations so that visitors could create literary art. This layout exists much like the way the western world reads, from left to right, and symbolizes the natural progression of the human expression. Rather than having the curators speak for the work, the work and the work’s placement spoke on its own. This is much like Obrist’s view of allowing the works to speak for themselves, removing the presence of a curatorial signature (Obrist, Lamm 2011 168)
The works themselves are not ones specifically developed for a gallery or exhibit, but rather as their own and in digital space. Obrist makes note of Boetti artworks that were made into puzzles and distributed in airlines. This practice and “curatorial layout” removes the traditional form of an ‘art object’ and creates something on its own. In the sense of the ELIT Exhibit, thw work’s layout both remove a curatorial signature, as Obrist was concerned with himself, but it also invites curiosity and gives embodies the works with the concept of time, further replacing the “narrowly defined ‘art object’” (Obrist, Lamm 2011 147-148) with an evolved idea instead.
Grigar, Dene. “Electronic Literature and Its Emerging Forms.” Electronic Literature and Its Emerging Forms. Accessed April 16, 2016. http://dtc-wsuv.org/elit/elit-loc/denes-curatorial-statement/.
Obrist, Hans Ulrich, and April Elizabeth. Lamm. Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Curating: But Were Afraid to Ask. Berlin: Sternberg, 2011.
The New Text exhibit of 2015 featured an array of works that explore into “what it means to read, write, and create” (New Text). Pushing past the traditional sense of a rigid structure, works in the New Text exhibit take a different approach so that those interacting with the individual works may progress in a way as they please. This idea, to me at least, is similar to Hans Obrist’s view as expressed in the chapter “The Enemies Are Those Audio Guides”. Audio guides within exhibits provide a structure that inhibits full interaction with the works. Rather than goes as one feels, these audio guides direct the patron in a direction and stifle these inhibitions to explore. Without the audio guides, a rigid structure, individuals are allowed and even encouraged to explore their own curiosities, a distinctly human feeling.
Within the New Text exhibit, Christopher Vandegrift’s Recursive Dictation seeks to embrace this human feeling by allowing users to engage in their own speech rather than set structures. Jody Zellen’s Spine Sonnet does the same by “randomly composing 14 line sonnets derived from an archive of over 2500 art and architectural theory and criticism book titles” (New Text). Just as Obrist explains how these audio guides are our enemies, stifling a human feeling to wander, the rigid structures of traditional mediums can be stifling as well. The New Text Exhibit defeats that by inviting back that distinct humanness of exploration.
New Text Exhibit at ISEA 2015. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://dtc-wsuv.org/elit/new-text/
What is interesting about Hans Obrist’s interview “The Future is a Dog” and Transpoetica is that the two relate in an explanation and example sort of way. In his interview, Obrist talks about how the future is uncertain, ever changing, yet it can be seen taking shape before us if we look everywhere. His collection of artist submissions shows us this, and further shows that everyone has a different view of this inevitability. Obrist even expresses his own opinion of this, stating that “memory is very radical right now” (Obrist, 27). It is important to never forget what has happened as the future continues.
Just as Obrist explains, Transpoetica exemplifies. Stephanie Strickland worked Transpoetica to display a cross between mediums and perhaps her own idea of the future, specifically the future of poetry. In the page’s curatorial statement, Strickland notes that “Eepoetry relies on code for its creation, preservation, and display: there is no way to experience a work of eliterature unless a computer is running it—reading it and perhaps also generating it.” This fact that an art can disappear if its medium is obsolete ties completely to the future and the future of curating. Memory is very radical in that if we forget, then what has happened is lost and the future is lost. Transpoetica attempts to show how art can evolve so that perhaps it never will be lost in the first place.
“IN THE FUTURE PERHAPS THERE WILL BE NO PAST -Daniel Birnbaum” (Obrist, 24).
Obrist, H. U., & Lamm, A. E. (2011). Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Curating: But Were Afraid to Ask. Berlin: Sternberg.
Strickland, S. (2014, February 25). TransPoeticaWorks by Stephanie Strickland, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://www.dtc-wsuv.org/transpoetica/exhibit.html
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Developer(s): Coldwood Interactive
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
ESRB Rating: E
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Unravel is an interactive puzzle game that features a little protagonist completely made of red yarn who goes by the name Yarny. In a large world, Yarny solves complex puzzles by using his yarn to create bridges, kites, and swings to pass across obstacles to reach his objective. However, go to far without replenishing your red yarn and Yarny will unravel into nothing but an empty frame. Unravel’s lead developer Martin Sahlin notes that the red yarn is a metaphor for love and that this love unravels as Yarny travels away from the source of it.