Symposium: Promises and Realities of digital technologies

Saturday 30th November, 2019

Symposium: Promises and Realities of Digital Technologies

A discussion on the Promises and Realities of Digital Technologies, with Tsila Hassine, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Beryl Graham, Samuel Capps, Aleksandra Artamonovskaja and Off Site Project (Elliott Burns and Pita Arreola-Burns). Chaired by Lee Weinberg

Event padlet here

The best way to summarise this panel is through the questions developed in the correspondence leading up to the event. These were provocations about the relationship between art and technology; curating and technology; and the evaluation and monetisation of art through technological systems. They are inevitably embedded within the capitalist modus operandi of current environments, such as web-based environments, which at a certain point seemed to promise the democratisation of communication and art. The guests on this panel were artists, practitioners, academics and curators.


Can we think about this image not only in the dystopian futuristic bizarre light that it provokes, but as an actual metaphor of our relationship with technology?

Could this be a realistic, rather grim reflection on the way we find ourselves navigating new conditions of production, whereby the lure of certain technologies, be it social media, or VR, actually provide a space for an increased and huge amount of free labour, that others capitalise on?

Is technology and its entertaining and social rewards the new 'opium for the masses'?


In taking advantage of evolving opportunities in current markets and especially in relation to certain technological hypes, does the subversion of art's definition also change the relationship between the artist and her work?

How can we complicate that?

How do we account for (and do we account for) authenticity? Inflating the value of certain acts could be a cynical response to art market's mechanism, on the one hand. But on the other hand, is there not an act of surrender in this cynical approach? What are we truly benefiting from such acts? And what is the price that we pay in such acts?

What happens to the way larger audiences understand art, when mental and cultural classification of art's definition and operations are so blurred?

If we only create 'art' for the sake of participating in our circles and those that can digest these circular logics, aren't we surrendering to the hierarchical logic upon which the market, art's history and the art world are constructed?


With the development of different technologies, curatorial practice also responds to the opportunities that technology offers and hopes to loosen up the hierarchies of the market, cultivate new collectors, promote new forms of art and new ways of disseminating it. However many of these efforts fail in the long run; those that succeed conform to traditional evaluation and gate keeping systems.

What's our responsibility as curators in constructing the value of an artwork? How do we do that?

How could we do that, given that we, also, want to get paid for our work?

What models exist that defy this logic?

Can technology help us?