[iDC] media curating lists as pedagogical, exploratory and speculative texts

Barbara Lattanzi threads at wildernesspuppets.net
Sun Aug 19 02:33:37 UTC 2007


Here is an introduction to some stuff that I am thinking about as I 
prepare for my 3rd semester of teaching electronic media at Alfred 
University's School of Art and Design.

I will be following up this initial post with some examples of 
curatorial lists for screenings of film, video, and new media - both 
historical and newly-hatched.

Maybe you can share lists of your own?  Or, over the next week or so, 
maybe you can modify or add to mine.


Finding a Groove in the Form of Curatorial Lists

There are many newly available DVD compilations being sold on the web. 
These include historical works from the archives and experimental media 
by new artists. You can find them through independent distributors such 
as Microcinema, Other Cinema, Peripheral Produce, Aspect, and larger 
entities such as Kino International and Facets.  These distributors give 
individuals and institutions a new form of access to works of 
experimental cinema, experimental video, new media, works of the 
post-WWII avant-garde, as well as forgotten or marginal "early films" 
dating from 1894 to the 1930s.  Not only that, but internationally 
archives are making their way to the easily-circulated DVD format, 
widening the field in surprising ways.

The DVD format (and earlier VHS) has helped produce this exciting 
circulation of archives.  One side-effect is how the DVD format (and, of 
course, archives viewable on Internet) has enabled remediation of works 
through the form of the remix.

However, many of these DVD compilations or, rather, their curatorial 
agendas, are bland and "safe". With few exceptions, a dry, predictable 
and pedantic curatorial frame prevails, along with (and despite) the 
deserved excitement around the individual works that these compilations 

As a teacher, my efforts focus on screening historical and contemporary 
works as basis for conversation within the studio media art classroom. 
Obviously, one vital function of these resources is connecting myself 
and students to histories and discovering models within discourses 
particular to the individual films, videos, new media works.

Beyond that, screening these media works presents a possibility for 
discovery through improvised and experimental linkages - to curatorially 
remix and resonate something there in the juxtapostion of one work with 
the others selected. What gets shown with what? What follows what? What 
archival work is made newly relevant through its association with an 
historically very different moment?  How conceptually and contextually 
different can the experience of these linked works be, without the 
implied associations of their curated proximity totally disintegrating? 
Which ways can the curatorial agenda get bent, twisted, and stressed 
until it either disintegrates or finds a groove?

There is nothing new here, this intent to make meaningful connections. 
And that is what makes curatorial selection-as-montage an obsessive 
task, i.e., there is nothing new here YET.


Barbara Lattanzi

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