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Residencies Insights: History is a Story: Thoughts about Media as Art, lecture by Barbara London (United States), Curator-in-Residence

14 Mar 2018, Wed 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road

In this lecture, Barbara London examines how video monitors and installations challenged the white cube. Back in the 1970s, art museums operated with object-oriented categories. Meanwhile Land Art, with its spatial site specificity, Performance Art, with its abstract notions of duration, and electronic music, with its manipulation of the electronic signal, all challenged existing conventions by propelling contemporary art beyond the limitations of the gallery’s four walls. Looking at video’s relationship to performance, theater, feminism, and politics, London will discuss the factors that facilitated museums’ support of video in its dynamic early years while also addressing one of the most pressing questions in the field today: As memory and technologies fade away, are media acquisitions destined to become conceptual works?

Between 1973 and 2013, Barbara London (United States) was curator at MoMA where she founded the video exhibition and collection programmes. She is also a pioneer of the integration of the Internet into curatorial practice. Among the exhibitions she organised are one-person shows with early mavericks such as Nam June Paik, Steina Vasulka, Joan Jonas, Shigeko Kubota, Bill Viola, VALIE EXPORT, Laurie Anderson, and Zhang Peili. Her thematic projects have included Looking at Music, parts 1-3 (2008–2011) and Soundings: A Contemporary Score (2013). Her writings have appeared in a range of catalogues and journals, including ArtForum, Yishu, Leonardo, ArtAsiaPacific, Art in America, Modern Painter, and Image Forum. Currently, she is completing a book with Phaidon and is teaching at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, United States.

Image credit: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Two Planets: Renoir’s Ball at the Moulin de la Galette and the Thai Villagers, 2008, still from single-channel video, 10 min 52 sec. Courtesy the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York.