Workshop for Curators from Central and Eastern Europe

Tallinn 22 – 23 September 2011

E-Culture and connectedness are key aspects of contemporary Estonian society. To acknowledge these devel-opments within the European Capital of Culture Program, the Goethe-Institut Estonia and Kumu Art Museum Tallinn initiated the idea of a media art exhibition and invited Sabine Himmelsbach, director of the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, to be its curator.

gateways - Art and Networked Culture explores the critical potential of media art in reflecting the societal changes of our networked society, brought about by digitization and networking. The exhibition presents 27 artists from 16 European countries. All the artists deal with networked culture and the changing conditions of a world that is increasingly influenced by media. An important aspect of the show is the fact that it does not only take place within the museum building, but also creates networks that connect the Kumu Art Museum with the city of Tallinn. Another concern has been the commissioning of new works for the exhibition. Fourteen projects were realized especially for the occasion of this exhibition, while several other projects had to be modified for presentation within the gateways show.

The workshop for curators from Central and Eastern Europe uses the gateways exhibition as a starting point to discuss the challenges associated with the practice of curating media art. It aims to foster dialogue and exchange between the invited partners and expand professional networks and contacts. Media art, which is often more process-based than centered on physical objects, poses new challenges for the curator. The workshop will focus on the specific conditions and skills needed for curating and exhibiting online-based or interactive works, the use of locative media and the production of site-specific works in urban contexts.

Invited speakers will discuss the presentation, production and collection/archiving of media art.

Sabine Himmelsbach, curator of the gateways exhibition, will address the process of curating and producing this exhibition, the specific challenges presented by the selected works, the curatorial process itself and the creation of a platform for exchange through a project website that invites an interested public to participate in critical discussion.

“Media Art in Limbo” is the title of the lecture by Swiss media expert Annette Schindler, who will address the difficulties of archiving and collecting media art and present a new strategy for making media art more afford-able and collectible.

Juha Huuskonen, founder of the Pixelache festival in Helsinki, will talk about “Ephemeral media art and utopian experiments,” examining the diversity of the genre and the difficulty in categorising it.

In her presentation, “Mediating media arts,” Nanna Lüth, artist and mediator for contemporary art, focuses on the specific needs and demands of her field, which aims to involve audiences in novel ways.

Sirje Helme, director general of the Art Museum of Estonia, will focus on media art in Estonia and provide a perspective on developments and changes over the last two decades.

Apart from these lectures, the workshop will feature curators and media art practitioners from the Czech Re-public, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia discussing their own curatorial practice and current projects, with the aim of fostering dialog among the invited guests on the issues of curating, presenting, mediating and collecting of media art.


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