Vera Molnar, Icône 2020, curated by Francesca Franco, 23-31/10/2021, Spazio Atelier Muranese, Murano
Icône 2020 is a sculpture originated from a unique and unprecedented collaboration between Hungarian-born artist Vera Molnar, pioneer of computer art based in Paris, and a traditional Venetian glassmaker team, whose members are descendants of one of the historic families of Murano where the ancient technique of glassmaking originated in 1291. This collaboration, initiated by Franco in 2019, creates a link that connects for the first time the history of computer art with the ancient tradition of glassmaking with the aim of taking both arts to new unexplored levels. Vera Molnár (b.1924) is one of the most celebrated pioneers of computer and algorithmic art. Her work has been featured in international solo and group exhibitions, and collected by major museums including MoMA NYC, Tate London, and Centre Pompidou Paris.
2020 UNFOLD: Audience Performer Mirror
15th January 2020
LIMA presents a new edition of UNFOLD, focusing on reinterpretation and Dan Graham’s iconic work Audience / Performer / Mirror, 1977, De Appel, Amsterdam. During this performance, Graham describes his own actions and the reaction of the audience. The work is questioning who or what motivates who to act and respond and is a reflection on time and direct feedback. All of this happens largely through language: Graham’s flow of words is unceasing, and betrays his background in stand-up comedy. The gaze of the camera, in addition to that of Graham and the mirror, plays an important role in this. The work is effective and layered in all its simplicity and has become an iconic work. The analogy that Graham uses in the work, both at the level of technology and that of language and physicality, has invited many artists to make a homage or a new version of the work. What does Audience / Performer / Mirror stand for today? How is the work experienced; which part of the work is still relevant, what needs to be ‘updated’?
LIMA invited Keren Cytter, Jan Robert Leegte and Emile Zile to present their version of Dan Graham’s performance and video work Audience / Performer / Mirror. Reinterpretations by Adad Hannah, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, and Judith Hopf will be exhibited as well.The works together show the possibilities of reinterpretation and give an artistic anthology, and criticism, of the work of Graham. Gabriella Giannachi (researcher & professor of Performance and New Media at the University of Exeter), Annet Dekker (curator & researcher, assistant Professor of Media Studies University of Amsterdam) and Willem van Weelden (curator & researcher, tutor media theory Gerrit Rietveld Academie) did reflect upon reinterpretation as both an artistic as preservation strategy. Moderated by art historian & dramaturgist Suzanne Sanders. UNFOLD: Audience / Performer / Mirror offers the opportunity to think about reinterpretation, mediation and documentation and provides insight into both their working methods and the lasting (attraction) power of Dan Graham’s work. This core may be somewhere else for every artist, and each new work will highlight a different aspect of the ‘original’.
2020 Workshops on Documentation
9th, 16th, 23th, 30th of June 2020
These workshops were meant to form part of the annual symposium Transformation Digital Art in March 2020, but as this was not possible, they were offered online.
June 9 1:30 – 3:00 CET
Documenting Colored Sculpture (2016), by Jordan Wolfson by Patricia Falcao (Time-based Media Conservator, Tate). Moderated by Gaby Wijers (Director, LIMA).
June 16 1:30 – 3:00 CET
Documenting net art untitledinternet.com (2012) by Constant Dullaart & Documenting Mouchette (1996 – now) by Martine Neddam by Mila van der Weide (Assistant Conservation and Documentation, LIMA) & Patricia Black (Research Intern, LIMA). Moderated by Gaby Wijers (Director, LIMA).
June 23 1:30 – 3:00 CET
Documenting Performance Your face is/ is not enough (2016) by Kevin Beasley by Ana Ribeira (Time-based Media Conservator at Tate) & Louise Lawson (Conservation Manager at Tate). Moderated by Gabriella Giannachi (Researcher & Professor of Performance and New Media at the University of Exeter).
June 30 1:30 – 3:30 CET
Documenting Naked on Pluto on Monoskop wiki: Collaborative Experimental Publishing as an Art Preservation Strategy by. Aymeric Mansoux, Julie Boschat Thorez and Dušan Barok (Artists/Researchers). Moderated by Annet Dekker (Curator & Researcher, Assistant Professor of Media Studies University of Amsterdam).
24th, 25th, 26th of March 2021
Event 1: Documenting Digital Art
March 24th 2021 17h35 – 18h00 CET
Keynote by Gabriella Giannachi (Professor in Performance and New Media, University of Exeter).
By looking into the history of the field of media art and digital art documentation over a period of about 20 years we can trace not only a number of interesting shifts in terminology but also a series of fairly radical changes in how documentation has been used in acquisition, preservation, and exhibition practices. Art purchased by museums is increasingly immaterial and attention has moved away from understanding artworks purely as objects to looking at art as concepts, performances, media, experiences, and their reinterpretations by other artists over time. In parallel, documentation has started to acquire different meanings and very different values according to the contexts in which it originates and is utilised. This has often not only led to the identification of documentation and art, but also brought on shifts in relation to who should be responsible for producing and preserving documentation. Analysing the shifts in practice in the fields of media art and digital art documentation can therefore not only tell us about the evolution of these particular art forms but also give us a flavour as to how these forms might be engaged with in the future.
Event 2: Workshop Documentation Digital Art with HEK
March 24th 18.00-19:30
Documenting Telefonia (1991) by Swiss sound artist Andres Bosshard, (website; telematic event connecting Winterthur, Säntis and New York), Haus der Elektronischen Künste (HEK), Basel. Workshop by Ellen Kotthaus (Conservator, HEK) presenting the overall project, Andres Bosshard the perspective of the artist and Claudia Röck (Conservator, HEK) highlighting the preservational and technical aspects. The archive material from Telefonia (1991) was acquired by HEK in 2018. The documentation Telefonia–1291–1991–2021 was realised in collaboration with the artist in 2020 as a Website with text, audio and video documents. Moderated by Gaby Wijers.
Event 3: Documenting Digital Art
March 25th 2021 17h35 – 18h00 CET
Keynote by Annet Dekker (Assistant Professor Media Studies: Archival and Information Studies, University of Amsterdam).
Documentation is created and used in numerous ways, and functions differently yet complementary in the various departments of museums. By comparing these practices to artists and audience documentation practices and efforts, Annet Dekker explores how documentation moved from an inferior subjective derivative to being part of, or substituting, an artwork. Next to presenting the outcomes of the research project Curating Documentation, which was made possible by KIEM Creative Industry of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Dekker will address how expanded practices of documentation open new ways of thinking about what documentation means and how they influence the value and experience of the “original” artwork; and in turn: in what way they affect the traditional authority of the museum as creator of documentation used for future reference, historical relevance or cultural memory?
Event 4: Workshop Documentation Digital Art with Centre Pompidou
March 25th 18:00-19:30 CET
Documenting Zapping Zone: Proposals for an Imaginary television by Chris Marker (1990-1994), (Installation), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Workshop by Alexandre Michaan (Media Art Conservator) and Marcella Lista (Chief Curator of the New Media Collection, Centre Georges Pompidou). Composed of 13 video monitors, 7 computer units Apple IIGS, 80 slides mounted in 4 light boxes, and 10 photographic prints, this major interactive installation marks the entry of digital writing forms in the art field, on the verge of the World Wide Web era. Moderated by Gaby Wijers.
Event 5: Unpacking documentation with Matt Adams (Blast Theory) and Francesca Franco (Art Historian, Researcher, Curator)
March 25th 20:00 – 21:30
Documentation — a work’s physical remnant or trace — is created and used in different ways, depending on its use, perspective and timing. In performance and digital art, documentation has become the focus of conservation and presentation strategies. What can be learned from other practices within and outside of the scope of the museum? This session moderated by Shailoh Phillips (Artist, Researcher, Community Organizer) explored how documentation is used and conceived by artists and curators/researchers in their work and how works are documented by them. In particular this session did look at the importance of documenting the creative process and legacy & the artwork itself. Matt Adams (Artist) A Pale Imitation and a Creative Act, and Francesca Franco (Art Historian, Researcher, Curator) Vera Molnar: ICÔNE/2020 will each share their work and work process followed by a discussion. Matt Adams co-founded Blast Theory in 1991. Blast Theory makes interactive art that is often formally complex. The public have significant agency, may move between physical and virtual space within a work and may have their most precious experiences alone or in hidden spaces. Adams’ talk A pale Imitation and a Creative Act will discuss what this means through the group’s approach to a major retrospective at the Nam June Paik Art Center in South Korea and through hidden camera filming for Operation Black Antler at the Southbank. Francesca Franco’s Vera Molnar: ICÔNE/2020 is centred on a new commission, “ICÔNE/2020” by Vera Molnar, and explores the process that made this commission possible, bringing together original sketches and documentation material that reveal the complexities behind the making of this project. By reimagining what art could be in an age of immense technological change, Molnar’s radical adoption of technology and her conceptual approach to computing have inspired Franco to this commission for “ICÔNE/2020” curated in Paris in 2021.
Event 6: Between Camera & Network: Art and Documentation in Post-Photographic Culture by Katrina Sluis
March 26th 17-19:30
Katrina Sluis (Researcher, Writer and Curator) Between Camera & Network: Art and Documentation in Post-Photographic Culture. At a time where art selfies mix with installation shots on Instagram, how are practices of audience documentation changing the status and meaning of art? How can institutions engage with this expanded field of documentation, and what are the implications for art history and cultural memory? How do contemporary practices of photographic reproduction intersect with critical discourses of authorship, ethics and control in new media platforms? Sluis will briefly outline the case studies and their implications for the work of (digital) art in an age of hyper-circulation.
Stefan Glowacki (Researcher) The Importance of Digital Distribution. The ongoing effort of art institutions at accommodating digital artworks and practices is paralleled in the digital domain by continuous attempts at establishing economical spaces and models artists could rely on. Modulating between scarcity and shareability as contradictory anchors of value digital art brings into confrontation, the initiatives draw equally from conventions of the art world and developments of adjacent media industries.
17h30 -18h00 CET Before the First Discussion with Annie Abrahams (Artist) and Helen Varley Jamieson (Artist) moderated by Shailoh Phillips. Before the First is a response to the many claims of online “firsts” in 2020. Annie Abrahams, Helen Varley Jamieson and Suzon Fuks aim to draw attention to the long and rich history of online performance, which stretches back to the earliest days of the internet. For some of the artists in Before the first, the performance shown was not their very first online performance. Many early works were never documented, or for other reasons later works have been used. Before the First is a brief glimpse of the diversity of online performance created before 2020. This video is only a very tiny sample of this field of creative work; it is a snapshot and provocation to further exploration of the field, rather than an historical record.
26th of March 18:00- 19:30 CET
Documenting Agent Ruby, Lynn Hershman Leeson, 1999-2002, online, by Layna White (Director of Collections SFMOMA), Rudolf Frieling (Curator of Media Arts SFMoma), Mark Hellar (Technology Consultant, Hellar Studio) and Grace Weiss (Assistant Registrar, Media Arts – SFMOMA), moderated by Gaby Wijers (Director, LIMA). Agent Ruby is among the first web-based works commissioned by SFMOMA and was originally presented by the museum in 2002 on e.space. The museum’s care of the work includes the website, custom-code (written in an artificial intelligence markup language popular in the late 1990s), design prototypes, and an ever-expanding chat log of Ruby’s conversations with users (2002-present).
2021 Workshop: The Work of Art Without Original
21th september 2021 12:00-14:30
What happens to the future presentation and value of digital art if there is no original to go back to? What does it mean for the position of the artists, do institutional practices change and does documentation increase in value?
The continuously changing materiality of digital art challenges the notion of the original in contemporary art. Despite recent renewed attempts to fix the original to a specific author, time and space, it is acknowledged that in time some change to digital art will happen, whether aesthetic, in the form or functioning of the project, or a combination of these. Likewise, several methods to preserve digital art have emerged and while some work well they bring up similar technical challenges as the artworks they aim to sustain. Yet, there is little attention for alternative approaches that accept change as a given, or consider the possibility of art without original, thereby privileging fluidity, mutation or discontinuity as preservation strategies.
In this workshop we will discuss several of such options. These range from the question what happens to the future value of art if there is no original to go back to (Cornelia Sollfrank), to the proposition for a post-preservation approach (Caitlin Desilvey and Martin Grünfeld), and what this would mean for the position of the artist (Amy Whitaker) as well as the institution and its documentation practices (Brian Castriota). The discussion will be led by Annet Dekker (Curator & Researcher, Assistant Professor of Media Studies University of Amsterdam) and Gaby Wijers (director LIMA).
The aim is to provide more insight into the challenges related to the continuation of digital art beyond its creation and what this means for existing ways of thinking about the future of digital art, in particular to the methods of conservation, presentation and documentation.
The Photographers Gallery
2021 Symposium: The Work of Art in An Age of Audience Documentation
14th July 2021 [Online]
The Photographers’ Gallery with speakers Theopisti Sylianou, Kylie Budge, Russell Dornan, Rob Horning
From the Google Art Project to the screenshot, from the JPG to the Gigapixel image, photographic technologies continue to mediate our experience of art and culture. Between Camera & Network: Art and Documentation in Post-Photographic Culture is a series of talks at The Photographers’ Gallery over three weeks in March involving artists, curators, photographers, conservators, educators, technologists and museum professionals. Each talk explores a different aspect of the changing role of photography in art and digital culture, focusing on a range of approaches to documentation both inside and outside the museum.
The programme presents a series of case studies which reflect on the work of art in an age of photographic hyper-circulation. At a time where art selfies mix with installation shots on Instagram, how are practices of audience documentation changing the status and meaning of art? How can institutions engage with this expanded field of documentation, and what are the implications for art history and cultural memory? How is the pandemic changing the cultural value of documentation? How do contemporary practices of photographic reproduction intersect with critical discourses of authorship, ethics and control in new media platforms?
Event 1: With and Without Walls: Photographic Reproduction and the Art Museum
Thursday 4 March 18:00 (London); Friday 5 March 05:00 (Canberra)
Michelle Henning is Professor in Photography and Media in the School of the Arts at the University of Liverpool. She writes on photography, museums, digital media, cultural history and is the author of Photography: The Unfettered Image (2018), Museums, Media and Cultural Theory (2006) and the edited collection Museum Media (2015).
Ben St. John is a Canadian software engineer from who’s lived the last twenty years in Munich. He currently leads the small digitization group at Google Arts & Culture, responsible for the Art Camera and Tabletop scanner. These programs have helped bring thousands of artworks and photographs (and documents, kimonos, stained glass, tapestries and more) to the internet, in very high resolution.
Event 2: Collecting Social Media
Thursday 11 March 18:00 (London); Friday 12 March 05:00 (Canberra)
Natalie Kane is a curator, writer and researcher specialising in digital design, art and technology. She is presently Curator of Digital Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK) within the Design, Architecture and Digital Department.
Anni Wallenius works as Chief Collections Curator at The Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki, Finland. Her background lies in art history and museology. From 2017-2020 she was part of #collectingsocialphoto, a research project hosted by Nordiska museet exploring the challenges for museums and archives in collecting social digital photography.
Event 3: Documenting the Ruins of the Web
Thursday 18 March 18:00 (London); Friday 19 March 05:00 (Canberra)
Olia Lialina is a pioneering net artist and theorist. She is cofounder and keeper of One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age archive and a professor at Merz Akademie in Stuttgart, Germany.
Ofri Cnaani is an artist who works in performance and digital media. Cnaani is currently a PhD researcher at and Associate Lecturer at the Visual Cultures Department, Goldsmiths, UoL.