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Art’s Exhibition Histories Online

16 nov 2017
Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, London.

Featuring keynote presentations from Samuel Weber and Annet Dekker, this symposium will enquire into online opportunities within the field of art’s exhibition histories, asking: what sort of sensual and discursive justice might a web platform offer past shows of art, as distinct, perhaps, from the provisions of the printed page?

The symposium will start with some brief remarks by Lucy Steeds, Reader in Art Theory and Exhibition Histories (Afterall, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London), who will then chair questions after Samuel Weber and Annet Dekker’s presentations. Examples of exhibition histories online will be discussed – including Afterall’s own work to date – but the emphasis will lie on addressing some attendant philosophical, digital and political concerns.

Art’s Exhibition Histories Online
Thursday 16 November, 16:30–19:00

Central Saint Martins
University of the Arts London
Granary Building
1 Granary Square
King’s Cross
London N1C 4AA

Samuel Weber
‘Pictures After an Exhibition’

This presentation opens with an oblique approach to the question of exhibition histories: via a reflection on an acoustical, musical predecessor. This raises the question of the multi-sensory and mixed-medial nature of art exhibitions, which is discussed in relation to Benjamin’s theory of ‘aura’ and its possible relevance to the convergence of analogical and digital techniques of artistic production and diffusion.

Samuel Weber teaches critical theory and comparative literature at Northwestern University, and is also the Director of its Paris Program in Critical Theory. He is currently working to complete a book tentatively titled ‘Toward a Politics and Poetics of Singularity’.

Annet Dekker
‘Publishing and Exhibiting Online; Or, How to Create and Sustain a Performative Archive’

Regarding the World Wide Web as a source of information, an open space for communication as well as a site of power dynamics, this presentation will reflect on the challenges of online curating. In particular, it will explore attempts to create online exhibitions and publications. These approaches reference Umberto Eco’s description of ‘the open work’, but are foremost a reflection on the medium that is used, which is performative and processual.

Annet Dekker is Assistant Professor Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor at London South Bank University (as part of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image), as well as an independent curator. She recently edited the volume Lost and Living (in) Archives (Valiz), and currently she’s finishing her monograph Collecting and Conserving Net Art (Routledge).

Listen to a recording of Sam Weber’s presentation and Q&A.

Listen to a recording of Annet Dekker’s presentation and Q&A.

We are grateful to University of the Arts London’s Digital Fund for supporting this event.