Rapid Response Art History: Tools and Techniques for a Fast-Changing Art World


Presentation Title:

  • Rapid Response Art History: Tools and Techniques for a Fast-Changing Art World



  • Panel Statement 

    Art history has been largely concerned with ‘after the event’ forms of analysis – as evidenced in its heavy reliance on exhibition reviews and catalogues for instance. Yet timesensitive creative events like Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution (2014) remind us of the need for effective archival and critical response mechanisms. Art historians, archivists and curators understand what data they will need to work with in the short and long term if digital and new media, time-based, live, and event-based arts are to be adequately preserved, analysed and historicised. Yet there are no clear models for rapidly capturing relevant materials ‘in the moment’

    Individual presentations

    1. Edwin Coomasaru – ‘Democratising’ Curating: Speed, Sexuality and Selfies

    Intro                                                                                                                                                      Democratisation and internet-based curating: for many commentators, seemingly two things that come hand in hand. ‘Democracy’ in this context is often a byword for ‘accessibility’ – similar to, and yet also distinct from, democracy as a system of governance or a theoretical model for politics. In trying to think through the stakes of what it might mean to ‘democratise’ curating using the internet’s more collective and collaborative platforms, this paper will consider potential disruptions of power hierarchies or concentrations traditionally implicated in the role of the curator

    2. Cassini Nazir – Creative Disturbance

    Intro                                                                                                                                                          Creative Disturbance is a platform developed in response to the need for a rupture in the arcane networks that currently connect creative people. Creative Disturbance is an international, multilingual network and podcast platform supporting collaboration among the arts, sciences, and new technologies communities.

    3. Louise Shannon – Rapid Response Collecting and Curating: Learning from the Victoria and Albert Museum

    Intro                                                                                                                                                                In 2013, the Victoria and Albert Museum launched a new collecting strategy, one that challenged the established notions of collecting in a Museum context. Rapid Response Collecting is a new strand to the V&A’s collecting activity, curated by the Architecture, Design and Digital department.

    4. Sarah Cook – From Insider Knowledge to Anecdote to Apocrypha: Reflections on how media art has been and could be historicised

    Intro                                                                                                                                                                Does being present and witness to new developments in art make one its defacto art historian, or does taking on that role depend on one’s institutional place? Net art and other networked media art practices have been historicised through extra-institutional informal structures of discussion, such as mailing lists, including gossip and first person reporting (often of demonstrations rather than formal exhibition of the works).

    5. Morgan McKeehan – The Webrecorder’s challenge of enabling access to dynamic webbased art

    Rhizome’s award-winning digital preservation program aims to support social memory for internet users and networked cultures through the creation of free and open source software tools that foster decentralized and vernacular archives. Its key role is also to ensure the growth of and continuing public access to the Rhizome ArtBase, a collection of 2,000+ born-digital artworks started in 1999.

    6. Charlotte Frost – Documenting the Digital Critics: Analysing and Archiving Criticism After the Internet

    From listserv collectives, irreverent podcasters, opinionated bloggers and satirical video performers to sensationalist ‘grammers and prolific Facebookers, online art critics have successfully challenged their Greenbergian forebears.