[iDC] expanded practice

Andrea Polli apolli at hunter.cuny.edu
Wed Feb 8 08:20:31 EST 2006

On the topic of expanded practice posted by Trebor, several things come 
to mind.

First, of course, is the history of examining traditional notions of 
artist, curator and audience in contemporary art  (Mary Jane Jacob's 
important work for example).  To me, the most engaging of these 
projects have been those that challenge the traditional museum and 
gallery structure, exposing the power structure by pointing out groups 
that have been historically excluded (for example, the work of the 
previously mentioned Mongrel, Gomez-Pena and the Guerilla Girls), 
questioning who is defined as an artist, and rewriting gallery and 
museum commentary to make clear the omissions of the editorial process 
(for example, audio exhibition guides like those of artist Susan 

Ute Meta Bauer, the recently appointed director of the Visual Arts 
Program at MIT,  said: "All art is political. Curatorial practice means 
focusing on the importance of context, time and place in the perception 
of art. Curating is a way to explore politics with a different language 
and to position art as a relevant voice in society," Like Trebor, I 
have a number of MFA students who curate, organize and write as part of 
their practice.  We encourage it, our MFA program in Integrated Media 
Art at Hunter started just 3 years ago and was designed with expanded 
practice in mind.  It was designed this way not only to respond to the 
needs of students, but also with consideration to developing PhD 
programs (including a CUNY wide PhD in Media currently in the works).

My own practice in Art and Science has also involved a variety of 
approaches,  found a quote from Sara Diamond on the CRUMB site that 
addresses some of the issues I have encountered in this area: "Art and 
science institutions have sometimes invited artists in to play with 
their equipment, only to find them fundamentally challenging their 
whole value systems: [new media art] practice challenges the notion of 
authorship, has to do with collective authorship; non western ideas of 
discourse is something the museum has always had trouble with. And what 
has happened on the net is a brain of a social collectivity, that 
allows discursive practice ... How do you support and preserve a 
critical practice that is inclusive ... how can you do that when it is 
difficult to pin down authorship?" - Sara Diamond, Banff Centre for the 
Arts (Sins of Change conference, 2000).

At 12:30 Feb 22nd in room 208 at the CAA conference in Boston we'll be 
hosting a roundtable for the Leonardo Education Forum.  Trebor and 
Victoria Vesna will be presenting and then we will have a series of 
breakout group discussions on these and other topics.  If you are at 
the conference, I hope you can come.

Andrea Polli
MFA Director
Associate Professor of Integrated Media Arts
The Department of Film and Media, Hunter College
695 Park Ave. New York, NY 10021
t (212) 772-5589

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