Collecting Art: new media art and audience

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sunderland
Department Name: Arts and Design

Abstract

New media art is a dynamic set of artforms using computer technology, including internet art, interactive video installations, social networking media art, and software art. This art is starting to be collected by museums, galleries and private collectors, including Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art. Although there is much research published on the use of new media as a collections management, online documentation or museum education tool, there is very little published material to help arts workers and academics with collecting new media art itself. In particular, collecting new media art that is interactive or participative can offer useful case studies to inform the current interest in participation across contemporary art, because it fundamentally affects the role of the audience in relation to art. If art collections can be tagged or selected by users themselves, then this also changes the relationship between audiences and collections.

The CRUMB resource aims to help curators, academics and arts workers with these new challenges, by sharing examples of projects, by curating exhibitions of new media art, and by publishing analytical writing on the different histories of new media art. CRUMB has an international network of specialists in the field, and has undertaken consultancy for the Arts Council of England, amongst others. In 2010, CRUMB was invited by the national organisation Contemporary Art Society to collaborate on the symposium 'Commissioning and Collecting Variable Media' which included speaker Benjamin Weil, formerly of SFMOMA. Also in 2010, Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook's authored book Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media contained elements on collections, and audience, but these need to be developed and expanded.

Professor Beryl Graham's Fellowship therefore seeks to spend time developing research on collecting new media art, in relation to audience, and will have outcomes in the form of a book, and interviews and other material on the CRUMB web site.

Planned Impact

The proposed research impact plan is based on what has worked particularly well in previous CRUMB methods and outputs, with particular targets for policy-level, professional and media impacts. Because CRUMB often uses collaborative and participative methods of research, including workshops and the active CRUMB discussion list, the co-producers, 'users' and beneficiaries of the research overlap productively.

The beneficiaries of the research include artists, arts and media workers, curators, and a wider public interested in culture and technology, as well as academics. They benefit not only as 'receivers' of high-quality publications, but also as participants in discussion and the development of new debates.

Mechanisms for ensuring benefit are based on past experience of fully-booked events, feedback and evaluation of exhibitions, and well distributed publications (the MIT book Rethinking Curating went to reprint after 9 months, and has sold over 2400 copies to March 2011). Particular efforts are being made to make the book well-illustrated, and hence of wider appeal than some academic books.

By encouraging public and private buyers to collect new media artworks, the research is of obvious commercial and economic benefit to artists. By including international collections in the research, this would include benefits to British artists from abroad, and advice has been sought from British Council concerning how this can be of most benefit. There is also economic benefit in Ashgate selling books abroad.

At a governmental, policy and public sector level, past consultancy work for Arts Council England North West will feed into a possible future consultancy for The British Council concerning commissioning new media art for collection. Past policy panels concerning new media collections at Institute for Network Cultures in Amsterdam and Tate in London will carry forward into ongoing research networks. Past symposia with attendance by, and policy-level feedback to Arts Council England such as the CRUMB/CAS Symposium on Commissioning and Collecting Variable Media in 2010, and the Harris Museum symposium Current: An Experiment in Collecting Art Debate, will inform this research and future symposia. The research therefore aims to improve the benefits of research expertise offered to policy bodies, and to inform collecting policies internationally.

Professional and practitioner groups: Past work with the bodies above makes the most of existing strong professional networks, and feeds into policy-level research. Past professional development and masterclass events at an international level, including Caitlin Jones at AV Festival 08, and at Eyebeam New York in 2009, showed a high demand, and aim to continue professional/academic knowledge transfer.

Museums and galleries are of obvious importance for curatorial research, and by producing publications and a web site specifically aimed to be of use to professionals, research can be seen to be useful. By including medium-sized regional galleries such as Harris in Preston, and online collections, a more widely accessible approach is intended.

Local communities and the wider public are addressed via the web site and discussion list, which are free and open to all. The organisations involved also run workshops as well as more formal events.
 
Title Right Here, Right Now exhibition at The Lowry gallery in Salford 
Description Advising curator Lucy Dusgate on the Lowry's first exhibition of digital art, and writing the catalogue essay: Beryl Graham: 2015 "Critical Systems" In: The Lowry (ed.) Right Here, Right Now. Salford: The Lowry. [exhibition catalogue essay] 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Introducing Lusy Dusgate to other nominators in the exhbition, AHRC CDT student at Sunderland University, ED Carter exhibited in the exhibition and was interviewed on Radio 6 Music. 
URL http://www.thelowry.com/event/right-here-right-now
 
Description New models for collecting new media art, including new financial models for non-material, participatory or process-based works. Findings on how audiences use collections, and exhibiting strategies from collections.
Exploitation Route As models for new collecting strategies. The publications are being cited and discussed both in other publications and and at National and International conferences.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.crumbweb.org
 
Description The impacts outlined here are upon the practice and policy of arts organisations in relation to collecting and exhibiting new media art, and hence concern the economic impact on artists and the benefits to audiences, as well as academic impact. CRUMB has developed a long-term strand of research concerning collecting art. Lindsay Taylor, Exhibitions Officer at Harris Museum and Art Gallery has been developing the exhibition, audience development and collection of new media art at a regional art museum for over 10 years, forging a strong national identity for the museum, with ongoing support from CRUMB. Graham was involved in developing the Digital Aesthetic conference and exhibition at the Harris in 2001, and 2007. In 2010 the Exhibitions Officer of Harris attended the Commissioning & Collecting Variable Media CRUMB/CAS conference at BALTIC, which specifically aimed to develop the collection of new media art in the UK, and was attended by 100 national and international curators (http://www.crumbweb.org/getSeminarDetail.php?id=14). In 2011, the Harris collaborated with digital arts commissioning agency folly on Current: an experiment in collecting digital art project. Cook was invited to serve on the Board of folly, and Graham was invited to be on the exhibition selection panel, and co-chaired with Cook the symposium Collecting Digital Art at Harris. The project was an integrated approach informed by the Commissioning & Collecting Variable Media event, and the research of the unit, involving an open call for works, selection of exhibition, followed by selection of one work from the exhibition to collect. Importantly, audience views on which artwork should be collected were taken into account as well as expert panels (the audience and the experts agreed, and the work selected was a work by Thomson and Craighead using live data pulled from the internet - a conceptually and technologically complex work). This reflects much CRUMB research on the importance of audience in curating new media art. The long-term support of CRUMB contributed to changing the collection policy of the museum to specifically include new media art (Harris 2011, p.62): the first moving image piece entered the Harris collection in 2000, and the first new media artwork entered the collection in 2012, by Thomson and Craighead. The institutional structure for acquisition changed by involving a panel of judges, technical staff, and the audience itself, in the selection of works to collect. CAS and The Art Fund supported the Current project, and in May 2013 further awarded £30,000 to the Harris to collect more new media art (CAS 2011). Acquisition fees were £10,000 for Current alone, and so economic impact was felt by organisations and artists. Graham was invited to chair a panel on new media art including the Exhibitions Officer at the 2010 Museums Association Conference, and the Exhibitions Officer was also invited by Graham to write a chapter for the forthcoming book New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art (Taylor 2014), in order to share the curatorial knowledge more widely and hence further impact on the policy of other curators. Graham was interviewed by the Financial Times: How to Spend It magazine concerning collecting, and highlighted the Harris' policy, including economic impact (Crichton-Miller 2012). Lindsay Taylor has stated that: "The Harris now has a number of works in permanent collection for future generations to enjoy - I doubt this would have been possible without the support offered by CRUMB" New media art is increasingly being collected by both commercial and museums, and CRUMB has been involved in many events aimed to impact upon this: The Curating Art after New Media - Professional Development Course in Central London had as attendees curators from Hong Kong, Austria, The Netherlands, Ireland, USA and the UK, and included visits to discuss with curators at organisations including: Design Museum, Science Museum, Tate, V&A, Wellcome Collection and British Library Labs, including the curators at V&A who have a chapter in the book outcome New Collecting (http://www.macurating.net/shortcourse.htm). Feedback forms from the event stated that 100% of attendees felt that their future practice would be changed by the workshop. Beryl Graham was an invited member of the Tate New Media Art Network on Authenticity and Performativity, which impacted collection of new media art at Tate. Since this research, she has been invited to be on the Project Advisory Board of EU project PERICLES on digital preservation, based at Tate. She was invited to speak at the Cultural Value and the Digital symposium at Tate Modern (Tate, RCA and LSBU 2014). She has also been invited to speak on collecting at the following symposia, and hence influence policy in both museums and cultural industry sectors as well as academic (see publications): 2014 May "Thinking Digital Art." Digital Cultures: Future Thinking and Innovation for Arts and Heritage. Invited Chair. Newcastle: Tyne and Wear Museums Service. 2014 Apr "Catalogues and Exhibitions." Curating the Digital, at CHI Conference. Invited keynote presentation. Toronto: CHI. 2014 Apr "Exhibition Histories of Critical Participatory Systems" Association of Art Historians Conference. Paper. London RCA: AAH. (Invited by Cliff Lauson, Curator, Hayward.) 2013 Jul "Exhibiting new media and digital art: Interactive audiences and arts administrators/curators." Giving up the archive? Reflections on the creation, examination and dissemination of arts organisations' archives. London: ARLIS\UK & Ireland, The Glasgow School of Art, Centre for Contemporary Art Glasgow, AHRC. Invited conference presentation. 2013 Feb "Curating after New Media Art: Museums, Collections and Audiences" University of Manchester, Centre For Museology. Invited guest lecturer. The publications have had a very wide reach, and have led to being interviewed by, and cited in a report by the Smithsonian, as part of a national USA policy project on collecting media art (http://www.si.edu/tbma/projects#interviews). References: CAS, (2013) "UK museums selected to acquire new media or "challenging" contemporary artworks often missing from public collections." CAS Press Release, May. http://www.contemporaryartsociety.org/news/press-release-uk-museums-selected-to-acquire-new-media-or-challenging-artworks-often-missing-from-public-collections/ Crichton-Miller, Emma (2012) "The show must go online." How To Spend It. Financial Times. Available from http://www.howtospendit.ft.com/art/7361 Harris Museum and Art Gallery, (2011) Collections Development Policy 2011-2014. Preston: Harris Museum and Art Gallery. Available at: http://www.harrismuseum.org.uk/collections/136-collections-development, http://www.harrismuseum.org.uk/our-work/74 Tate, (2009) The New Media Art Network on Authenticity and Performativity. Available from: http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/authenticityandperformativity Taylor, Lindsay (forthcoming 2014) "From exhibition to collection: Harris Museum and Art Gallery." In: Graham, Beryl (ed.) (forthcoming 2014) New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art. London: Ashgate. https://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calcTitle=1&title_id=11968&edition_id=12342
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

 
Description Consulting on Remapping the Government Art Collection
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Advising Adrian George, curator of the Government Art Collection (intenationally) on new media art and new media interpretation of Government Art Collections.
 
Description Curators' professional development course impacts curatorial practice at The Lowry, Salford.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact I have led an intensive 1-week Curators' professional development course in London amnnually since 2014, and in 2015 curator Lucy Dusgate attended this course, and then curated the Lowry's first show of digital work, including nominators and artists encountered through the course. I advised on the show, and wrote the catalogue essay "Critical Systems" In: The Lowry (ed.) Right Here, Right Now. Salford: The Lowry. See also "Artistic and Creative" section.
URL https://curatingprofessionalcourse.wordpress.com/
 
Description Influence on Smithsonian policy research
Geographic Reach North America 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact Changes in collections policies for new media art. See also Impact Narrative
URL http://www.si.edu/content/tbma/documents/SI_TBMA_10_Insights.pdf
 
Description Invitation to speak at Policy Priorities for the Creative Industries - A Manifesto for the New Government GovKnow Symposium: London
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact In 2015 July I was invited to present "Equal Partnerships" at the 1-day event Policy Priorities for the Creative Industries - A Manifesto for the New Government. This GovKnow Symposium in London attracted other practitioners and policy makers, and has led to changedsin practice, including that of Sage Gateshead, where Roz Rigby has invited Suzy O'Hara (my AHRC CDT PhD student) to curate an event in May 2016 with Thinking Digital to develop equal partnerships between artists and digital creative industries.
URL http://govknow.com/briefing-detail.html?id=1672&info=agenda
 
Description Invited to advise on Arts Council England, Creative Industries Policy
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact Invited to advise on Arts Council England's Creative Industries Policy, by Neil Harris Senior Relationship Manager at Arts Council England. Advised on 'Fused' approaches to creative industries, cross-sector collaborations, exhibition, new media art, collecting and educational strategies. Impacted upon new policy.
URL http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/how-we-make-impact/creative-industries
 
Description University of Salford Art Collection Peer Review: From the North
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact University of Salford Art Collection Peer Review series (part of a long running series of research advising to curator Lindsay Taylor). Invitation to peer review panel. Impacts include improvements to access to and exhibitions from the University of Salford Art Collection.
 
Description Did not apply but was awarded through nomination by an unknown person. Travel to Seoul for art research.
Amount £4,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of South Korea 
Department Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Sector Public
Country Korea, Republic of
Start 06/2012 
End 06/2012
 
Description "Curating and Collecting New Media Art" Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited by an Istanbul curator expenses paid speaker at the CI Dialogues public panels as part of Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair. The curator had organised the art fair's first exhibition of new media art and invited me to give the international view on collecting new media art, alongside curators from Istanbul and Finland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmDfTSkmYIw
 
Description 2015 Sep "Curating Art" Ormston House Gallery, Limerick, Eire. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Around 50 people attended my talk at a small publicly funded art gallery in Limerick, organised by University of Limerick. Local artists and public were enthusiastic and have kep int ouch about future practice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 2017 Nov IRL to URL: Image Objects. Bloomberg New Contemporaries BALTIC 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited chair's introduction and workshop leader. IRL to URL: Image Objects. Bloomberg New Contemporaries. 2-day Symposium. Gateshead: BALTIC/ Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Other speakers were include David Blandy (Artist and Bloomberg New Contemporaries 1999 alumnus) Heather Corcoran, (Curator and former Executive Director of Rhizome, New York), Steve Fletcher (Director, The Artists' Development Agency), Marc Garrett (Co-director and Co-founder, Furtherfield) Emily Mulenga (Artist) and Ben Vickers (Writer and Curator and CTO, Serpentine Galleries, London).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.newcontemporaries.org.uk/exhibitions-and-events/events/irl-to-url.
 
Description Beyond GRAMMATRON: 20 Years into the Future 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited to present at the international symposium: 2017 Sep "Collection-ish" Beyond GRAMMATRON: 20 Years into the Future. London: British Computer Society; Computer Arts Society; Ravensbourne College; the Electronic Literature Organization; the University of Colorado; and Washington State University. I was speaking on a panel with Christiane Paul (Whitney Museum of American Art and New School), Dene Grigar (Washington State University Vancouver and President, Electronic Literature Organization), Cristina Figueroa-Vives (Casa de las Americas des la Havana), and Kerry Doran (Director of Postmasters Gallery).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://dtc-wsuv.org/elit/beyond-grammatron/
 
Description Digital Dark Ages Artists' Panel, AND Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Chair and presenter. 2017 Sep Digital Dark Ages Artists' Panel. 22 Sep. Castleton: AND Festival. Artists included Jan Nikolai Nelles, Charlotte Jarvis, Sam Lavigne, Martha McGuinn, Jamie Allen. The event was attended by a British Council international curator tour.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://andfestival.org.uk.
 
Description EAST-International Conference on Education, Art, Science and Technology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited keynote presenter and consortium member. Presented "Exhibiting New Media and Digital Art." at EAST-International Conference on Education, Art, Science and Technology . 23-24 November. Beijing: China Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and Beijing Visual Art Innovation Institute (BVAII). Other delegates were. Fan Di'an, President of CAFA, Wang Shaojun, Deputy Party Secretary of CAFA, Wang Xiaolin, President Assistant of CAFA & Director of CAFA Visual Art Innovation Institute, W. John Kao, Vice President of the University of Hong Kong, Roy Ascott, Plymouth University, UK, Eduardo Kac, the School of the Art, Institute of Chicago (SAIC), US, Eleanor Dare, Royal College of Art, UK, Sven Travis, Parsons School of Design, US, Richard Allen, City University of Hong Kong, Shona Kitchen, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), US, Jun-Jieh Wang, Taipei National University of the Arts, Ken Rinaldo, The Ohio State University, US, Janis Jefferies, Goldsmiths, UK, Edward Shanken, University California, Santa Cruz, US, Beryl Graham, CRUMB, University of Sunderland, UK, Dillion Zhang, Founder, Media Art Strategist, China, Anett Holzheid, ZKM, Germany, Michel van Dartel, V2, Netherlands, Ionat Zurr, SymbioticA, Australia, Manuelle Freire, Concordia University, Canada, Wang Chuan, Director of Developing and Planning Section, CAFA & Vice Director of CAFA Visual Art Innovation Institute, Qiu Zhijie, Dean, School of Experimental Art, CAFA, Chen Xiaowen, Professor, School of Art and Design, Alfred University, US and Guest Professor, CAFA, Zhang Zikang, Director of CAFA Art Museum, and Lv Pinjing, Dean, School of Architecture, CAFA.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://en.cafa.com.cn/east-international-conference-on-education-art-science-and-technology-was-held...
 
Description Gary Zhexi Zhang 'Erotics of the Interface. Iniva Research Network Events 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited host of conversation with international artist, videoed and streamed. 2017 Jun "Gary Zhexi Zhang 'Erotics of the Interface'." Iniva Research Network Events. London: Iniva.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invitation to international Think Tank on New Media Art, and Keynote Speaker at Casa Wabi, Mexico (see also publication). 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited expenses paid to be part of a week long international "Media in the Expanded Field: Curators and museum professionals' Think Tank" at Casa Wabi in Mexico. Other invited participants included PIp Laurenson of Tate, and leading Chinese Curator Li Zhang. My Keynote concerned collecting New Media Art.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://montabonel.com/research/media-in-the-expanded-field/
 
Description Technostalgia Panel Conversation - Anthologies Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited panel conversation in London selling gallery with Coline Milliard, Alison Craighead, Technostalgia Panel Conversation - Anthologies Launch Event. 23 Mar. London: The Moving Museum/ Carroll/Fletcher. Streamed at: http://www.themovingmuseum.com/events/tmm-anthology-issue-1-technostalgia-launch-event/.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.themovingmuseum.com/events/tmm-anthology-issue-1-technostalgia-launch-event/