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Art making, viewing and collecting in the digital age

One Saturday night in late July I took part in a panel discussion “URL Meets IRL”, organised by the wonderful Willa Koerner, that dived into ideas of art making, viewing, and collecting in the digital age. I joined some really smart panelist and a very engaged audience to get into the history of making, collecting and conserving art as it careens into the digital age.

The event was hosted at Grey Area’s new theatre space on Mission Street in San Francisco, which is a great story unto itself, and sponsored by Electric Objects, one of the many “digital art in the sexy frame” companies currently blowing up on KickStarter and getting covered in the New York Times.

Grey Area Theatre lobby begins to fill up. Photo: Keir Winesmith

Grey Area Theatre lobby begins to fill up. Photo: Keir Winesmith

According to Electric Objects “There’s more art on the Internet than in every gallery and museum on Earth” and so they, and their competitors, see a market and an opportunity.  The idea behind the panel was to dig into the ideas, as well as the business models, of this kind of digital distribution. My job, totally self-assigned, was to add some historical and museological context to the discussion.

Usually in these situations I find myself on a panel or discussion where everyone agrees with each other, in which case I like to take a contrary view to keep the discussion lively. In this case I didn’t need to as the panelists had really different takes on some of the fundamentals of art making, digital publishings and promotion, and the role of collectors and collecting institutions. The industrious Daniel Morgan filmed the event and uploaded it (see below) PMx Post Meridiemand live tweeted and put together a great Storify that’s relieved me of the burden of properly describing the night.

If you want to skip through it here’s a few choice moments: there’s a question about “removing the web from its context and placing it within a frame on a wall” which Zoë Salditch deftly answers; another where I try to describe “fancy choosing vs curating”, and a question about digital art delivery that allows me to pontificate about artistic intention.

Or view the whole discussion on the youtubes:

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Categories art, talks and presentation