This article was written by Thibaut Thomas, curator of the panel "Museums after the internet". It is the first piece of a series dedicated to the future of museums in a digital world.
On the second day of #WAM15, we will be hosting the panel "Museums after the Internet". It might be tempting to dismiss the title as a pun, but the provocation is intended. In fact, "Art after the internet" is an ongoing subject of attention in the contemporary art circles.
In the past 15 years, systems for the production, dissemination, circulation, and reception of new art have experienced seismic shifts and radical reimaginings. The mainstreaming of art blogs, gallery websites, online image clearinghouses, and other vehicles for digital imagery have made screens like computers and smartphones the primary mode by which contemporary art is seen by the vast majority of viewers, handily overwhelming the experiences of paging through a paper catalogue or visiting an exhibition inperson.
It may be that the most important art of this moment investigates how these changes have affected the status of the work of art, particularly in the tension between object and documentation, the social realities of remote participation, and the possibility of artistic practice as a network.
We believe that this reflexion applied to the status of work of art can inform the way institutions are considering the Internet.
Indeed, upon reading these words, one can only wonder what it could mean for Museums and Cultural Institutions: have we already reached a tipping point in how art, museum collections and culture are accessed? How can institutions remain relevant in such a brave new world?
We look forward to share with you insights, links and much more before, during, and after this panel on this blog, at #WAM15 and beyond.
Thibaut Thomas, guest curator and host.