The Impoverished Image: Online Video Art Exposure


Session Title:

  • Curating Online

Presentation Title:

  • The Impoverished Image: Online Video Art Exposure




  • Abstract (long paper)

    Curatorial trends in contemporary digital video art exhibition practices are very much reliant on both the standards and restrictions of digital art preservation, as well as new forms of art production and distribution. This paper assesses current approaches to the exhibition of video artworks that were either created for online distribution or first exhibited via online content sharing platforms. Often politically charged, these online works voluntarily take a marginal position in opposition to institutional exhibition modes. This paper addresses the specificities of online video art exposure and distribution, such as distributed aesthetics within contemporary cultural economies. We claim that online distribution and access are manifested in the digital video itself, through critical aesthetics of noise, compression and precarity as defined by Fetveit (2013). From our viewpoint, the act of commissioning online video artworks, as well as the preservation of online-generated aesthetics, is a mode of inquiry in contemporary digital culture and critical curating. We further discuss four curatorial models that expose online video works by contextualizing them in the art space. In this paper, we present case studies of video artworks that both demonstrate expressive or political use of noise and are distributed through online video sharing platforms. We analyze how the aesthetics of these videos –their poverty– operate in the conditions of cultural economy and how these videos circulate in between online and onsite exhibition modes.

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