On a red velvet couch, in north London. All I’m missing is a bronzed man feeding me grapes.
Busy! Good! Fun! Challenging! Exciting! It’s a mixed bag, depending on the day, but it’s always positive. The “IMTeam” are exactly the kind of people you want to be surrounded by: smart, dedicated, passionate, ambitious, compassionate, kind. And funny, the most important quality of all.
I don’t know if I’d say that art history plays a role in my curating in any distinct or particular way, but generally speaking, I really just love art history. I consume images of art online, and at art museums, and at art exhibitions, and at online art exhibitions, etcetera, and on top of that I read a lot of writing about art. It’s endless. But looking at art is what I love. And looking a lot, a lot, at art, is the most important part of art history. And, by extension, curating.
This is a pie that can be sliced a few different ways. Do you mean curating digital works offline? Or do you mean curating digital works online? For me I see both instances as grappling with a classic challenge of exhibition, which is that exhibition always makes at least one very sharp cut in the life of an art object. This is, and has been, something to be explored and manipulated by artists and curators alike. How can you mold the guiding tenets of your exhibition around art objects that are inherently processual, prismatic, multi-temporal, etc.? And how do you build this narrative so that it is legible to wider audiences, but not in conflict with the narratives of the pieces themselves? These are the questions that are just the tip of the iceberg.
This is hard to answer because we’re really talking about such huge territories when we say “sound art” and “multi-media art.” I’d hesitate to say that there’s an importance in sound art and multimedia that exceeds other art forms. Just because our attention is turned at the moment to new technologies and the new forms of art and interaction that happens to take place online doesn’t necessarily kick other art forms, such as painting and sculpture, off the map. Instead I’d think of it as a bathtub, and all the different art mediums are your little rubber duckies. Digital technology has gotten in the bath, so to speak, and now the level of the water and all the rubber duckies, equally, have risen.
Sound art and multimedia art are enjoying a moment where in many cases their materiality has a real immediate relevance to the daily lives of most people. We’ve all used these tools, we’ve experienced the presence and impact of these technologies. Piqued interest is not to be confused with importance here, though. The same critical questions and practices that were applied to analog artworks in their space and time are equally important today. It’s about looking and finding appropriate contextualization; about where the art form is coming from, what it’s responding to, and where it’s going.
For me, as an American, the way the UK prioritizes culture by funding the arts is just a dream—even problematic as it may be at the moment. IMT, for example, has been able to support incredible exhibitions with the help of arts council funding. I wasn’t in London at the time, but in 2006 the artists Chong Boon Pok and Yak Beow Seah transformed the whole IMT gallery into a café! Food and drinks and all! For a small or young non-profit to orchestrate projects on that level without help would be, I imagine, nearly impossible. So access to funding, however limited it may be, is a special thing about the London art world.
Overall, though, London is such a big city teeming with artist run spaces and project spaces and tiny non-profits and just every manner of creative space that really, you’d be hard pressed not to find an opportunity for something to get involved in. Not only that, the proximity to other major European cities and the relative ease with which one can hop between these cities… it makes for a really varied and vibrant community, with equally as varied and vibrant projects always looking for helping hands.
Meeting Walty-woo and Cordi-po-po (officially Walter and Cordelia, respectively) for the first time. You never forget the first time you see and pet a sphinx cat, especially sphinx cats as stunning as Walter and Cordelia.