[iDC] Kurating Keen
andrew.murphie at gmail.com
Sat Aug 25 15:22:45 UTC 2007
what a lovely and elegant way of moving the discussion on (after my
over-polemical post yesterday). So thank you, these are great questions. I
guess I think the more positive take on all this - and a huge shift for
media industries - can be put very simply?
It's not that amateurs and professionals - such as they are - are simply
merging so the two sets of practices - as they are - are combined (and
contaminating each other, or even so that professionals are exploiting
It's rather than we are seeing a 'becoming-amateur' of the professional' and
a 'becoming-professional' of the amateur (if you can excuse my
Deleuzeanisms), a collision of two very different cultures which is also a
very interesting encounter and exchange. There is of course a problematic
politics surrounding this, as always (immaterial labour etc). However, one
can begin to imagine many favourable aspects to this mutual transformation.
Whatever the complex new forms of work and practice that are emerging, this
is a major transformation for both "professionals" and "amateurs" (the
latter of strong and weak forms - one can imagine even the less skilled
amateur is now challenged to do better, by their peers at first, who are
becoming more and more important at all levels).
It is also a major transformation not only for media industries but lots of
related cultural activities (of which there are few that are not related ..
think for instance of psychological practices based on linear and simple
models of communication ... how these are now challenges by a new
'metamodelisation' of media potentials). This is all, as Alf points out, a
matter of a serious re-assemblage, with assemblage (the curating expertise)
being a skill required at a high level by all.
In this light we can perhaps see Keen's remarks not only as an attempt to
keep power relations as they are regarding media, using the same rhetoric
and tactics as have been used for a century (although they certainly are
this). They are genuinely the comments of those who are feeling wounded (ok
- wounded dinosaurs). How sorry we feel for these wounded is an interest
question but perhaps we will be able to muster some sympathy in hindsight.
On 25/08/07, Alf Rehn <alfrehn at mac.com> wrote:
> As I, with great interest, follow the two ongoing discussions on IDC, I'm
> struck by the fact that they despite their superficial differences actually
> pay heed to the same kind of problem. Looking at them separately you'd get:
> a) Keen is mean, and stupid, and wrong. The internet has done great things
> for creativity.
> b) Curating today is really tricky, and posits brand new challenges.
> In the latter discussion, Jerome Grand recently pointed out that modern
> curating is in fact a form of production, and that the way in which cultural
> institutions frame and juxtapose artworks is a creative activity in and of
> itself. In the former debate, people are fuming because Keen is peddling a
> rather romantic notion of what creative work is.
> Now, the fun part is of course that what Keen misses is the exact point
> that Grand so elegantly put forth. We are no longer in a world where we can
> just focus on the individual "work of genius" (and maybe we never were), and
> curating is one of the technologies we use to handle this. So, in a cheeky
> little move, we could pose the following to Keen (and meld together two
> Are curators merely "amateurs" because they do not create in the same way
> as e.g. sculptors? And does Keen realize that a lot of what he seems to
> pine for (the old, proper cultural world) was in fact staged and curated,
> i.e. created through collaborations, establishing connections,
> collage-work, mashing-up...?
> Professor Alf Rehn -- http://www.alfrehn.com/
> Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Royal Institute of
> (On leave as Chair of Management and Organization (Åbo Akademi
> Royal Institute of Technology
> Department of Industrial Economics and Management
> 10044 Stockholm, SWEDEN
> alfrehn at mac.com
> "Velox, vilis, immunda"
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"Take me to the operator, I want to ask some questions" - Barbara
"Of course it is always possible to work oneself into a state of complete
contentment with an ultimate irrationality" - Alfred North Whitehead
"I thought I had reached port; but I seemed to be cast
back again into the open sea" (Deleuze and Guattari, after Leibniz)
Dr Andrew Murphie - Senior Lecturer
School of Media, Film and Theatre, University of New South Wales, Sydney,
fax:612 93856812 tlf:612 93855548 email: a.murphie at unsw.edu.au
room 311H, Webster Building
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