rethinking curating – chapter 4: time – graham & cook (2010)

chapter 4 – Time

  • quote from Gere (Art, Time and Technology – 2006): realtime as (1) multimedia technologies or (2) the trend of instantaneity in contemporary culture, resulting in every-quickening development of technolgoies themselves
  • development is accelerating, but the concept of real-time is equivalent to “new media”
  • “real time” is different from “time based” or “live”
  • any object of art that is not a static object involves the timescale of process in some way
  • audience expectations – 24/7 nature of the internet – steam powered internet machine (2006) – Jeremy Deller


  • video curators understand
    • the difference between video and cinema – frame rates, the reception characteristics and perceptual effects
    • time/space collapse – video work reconfigures time, reconfigures the dimensions of the work in time (Miriam Bankowsky – paraphrased in Frohne 2005, p31)
  • lens based (film) versus time based (any moving image)
  • Rosalind Krauss – identified the feedback loop in video as characteristic – capable of transmitting and receiving at the same time
  • Dan Graham – feedback delay – “The time-lag of eight seconds is the outer limit of the neurophysiological short-term memory that forms an immediate part of our present perception and affects this ‘from within’. If you see your behaviour eight seconds ago presented on a video monitor ‘from outside’ you will probably therefore not recognise the distance in time but tend to identify your current perception and current behaviour with the state eight second earlier”


  • historical commonalities between media and performance  
    • material commonalities – ideas of performance duration set by the length of videotape, etc.
    • performance art – documentation – reenactment
    • “The projects are experienced both over time in a repeated looped linear fashion (the time it takes to watch the event and its subsequent documentation) at the same time as they make evident the time that has passed between the event and its re-presentation/re-mediation (p. 90)” – dynamic time relationships: technical (chronos) time, production time, reception time, experience (kairos) time… all compositional elements of the work
  • performance art has well established differentiation between the live, the reenacted, the document
  • the body/endurance as marker of time in performance art – Relation in Time, Ambromovic
  • performance art and performing arts
  • Cage
  • Duchamp – the prolonged period of time in chess
  • history of performing arts relating to theatre as well as multimedia (through technologies such as lighting, sound) as well as through bodies and time…
  • Lynn Hershman Leeson

how new media is different

  • “The economy of abundance makes truly epic (life-long) works possible, but exterme evanescence is equally possible” – David Ross “Net Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” 1999
  • how the time characteristics of new media art differ from those of video and performance
  • “cultures of time”

the culture of speed – the speed of processing

  • video in opposition to the fast editing of commercial television
  • new media has an even stronger culture of speed – as a starting point – computers as products of speed
  • theories of speed in war, work, culture
  • the rhetoric of technology – efficiency, speed – satirized by new media artists
  • slowness of computers in JODI & Jaromil – “Time Based Text”
  • note: stories of the first computers having to be slowed down to convince their operators that the answer was correct… Verplank(?)

connectivity and liveness

  • speeds of connectivity, distribution, broadcast
  • distribution – satellites, online, telivision (access issues)
  • Four Eyed Monster (2005) – interesting inclusion of his as an art project…
  • art example: rachel reupke, pico miraodr – fake national park webcam
  • liveness – there is an aura to liveness, but simulations of liveness are also of interest
  • “the real-time nature of the web itself, its instantaneous quality, masks the fact that net time can be composed and manipulated, can be condensed and extended, can be used in juxtapoition of the real or unfettered and the vitual or manipulated” (David Ross, 1999)
  • Live data versus life visuals/sound
  • Lise Autogena – Black Shoals – stock market planetarium

computability and real time

  • real time – for video means feedback
  • real time – for computers means isntant processing / manipulation of data
  • Nam June Paik: “Nam June Paik has described how he wanted to “handicap” himself and do low-tech video rather than use very high-grade computers all of the time because he was interested in both very rapid and very slow imaging in artworks such as Living with the Living Theater (2004)
  • computer real time the opposite of live? i.e.: self-contained programmatic behaviors not originating or involving another person?  

time and the institution

  • museums are built for objects
  • hybrid spaces
  • online galleries – 24/7
  • steve dietz and the “24/7/10” network museum – accounting for the change of pace of new media (what if you want to see a networked piece when japanese net traffic picks up at 8AM in tokyo?)

time and the audience

  • audiences have a sense of how long they want to spend
  • audiences should be given a sense of the commitment they are in for
  • “the obvious long-term engagement so desired by artists and institutions” – is this really obvious? do they desire this?
  • Stallabrass quote about Net time – time on the net is expereince unfolding smoothly, but juddering pattenr – command and response
  • Lozano-Hemmer 2001 – “I disagree with the idea that interactive art is time-based… no predefined start or end… people may interact with an elecronic artwork for as long as they want… some people call electronic art “event based”… My own description is that electronic art is “relationship based”.
  • event cinema video game

time and the exhibition

  • fast slow nature of computer time
  • slowing people down – interfaces
  • large spaces and reflexive engagement (ZKM)

time and the curator

  • culture of “technological times”
  • Cybernetic Serendipity – ICA – 30 year anniversatoy
  • interdiscplinarity bridging into non-art disciplines
  • Julie Lazar: “progressions of artists’ ideas risk getting overlooked or lost” – good?
  • art work time and academic research time
  • if process is important the curator has to spend more time with the work – too much (Lozano Hemmer story about a curator not thinking it was “worth it”)

curating in real time?

  • Jack Burnham from Gere: “That is to say they happen within the day-to-day flow of normal experience.”
  • “Gere points out that, in relation to tim, both the theory and the practice differ significantly between the older and the newer media because of the differing cultural understandings of “real time.”
  • The effects of new media on the curatorial process, contemporary art practice in general…

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