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Inventory #4

Posted by on April 16, 2016

New Text was an exhibit in 2015 curated by Dene Grigar about “the literary and artistic explorations into what It means to read, write, and create,” (Grigar). The exhibit, now hosted online, features a wide variety of multimedia electronic literature by various artists and authors. Among these works is a piece called Whispering Galleries in which viewers see themselves distorted on a screen amongst seemingly random glowing text from a diary out of 1984. The viewer is able to sweep dust off the virtual screen with their hand gestures. The Deletionist, another piece from the exhibit, is a system that allows viewers to automatically produce an erasure poem from any web page the view decides to access. Both of these pieces of art allow the viewer to experience something new with little to know guidance about how they should react to it.

In Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Curating, Hans Ulrich Obrist talks at length about how in exhibits “The Enemies Are Those Audio Guides.” He explains that anytime visitors to exhibits are shown or told what something is or how to react to it their ability to truly connect with the art is hindered. As previously mentioned many of the installations and art pieces included in the New Text exhibit were open to the extent that the viewers were able to freely interact with them in an unguided fashion. Orbits argues that audio guides are like fast lanes trying to hurry people into reaching the correct conclusion or lear the correct lesson. He emphasizes a lament for prescribed conclusions in modern exhibits where people are guided through the installations. Like Obrist and as is captured in the New Text exhibit “It’s very important to inject experiences of slowness, so I think curating exhibits is also about having slow lanes—not only fast lanes.” (Obrist, 92) This concept is also a throwback to a comment made earlier in the book about how it is better to have fewer people spend more time in an exhibit than it is to have more people rush through it.

The main point of exhibits like this is to entice people into spending time with the exhibit and its installations. The New Text exhibit as well as some of the other multimedia exhibits curated by Dene Grigar in the recent past are great examples of this drive towards true and inspired visitor interactions.

Citations:

Unrich Obrist, Hans. Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Curating. Sternberg. Print.

Grigar, Dene. New Text. 2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2016. <http://dtc-wsuv.org/elit/new-text/>.

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