I wrote this post for Life | Art | Us on 7 June 2011. Click on the link at the bottom to read the full post.
On the Saturday of FutureEverything 11, I tripped over an interesting discussion organised by CODA, about the state of media art UK. As well as talking about the impact of recent funding cuts and the concerning number of media art organisations that had lost out, the group also talked proactively about how people and organisations active in the UK media art movement might work better together in the future, to improve the visibilty and understanding of media arts practice in the UK, and create a stronger voice for media art, particularly amongst policy makers and funders.
About the UK media art ecology
The UK media art ecology is fascinating and made up of many elements. It includes policy makers who provide funding and guidelines that help to shape the ecology at a strategic level, commissioning agencies who fund creative activity, arts and digital practitioners who make stuff, museums, galleries and other kinds of agencies (public and private) who show stuff, audiences who go and see stuff, academics, historians, journalists and critics who talk about work and broader trends, and education institutions who invest in the development of future practitioners, curators, creative producers, funders, critics and policy makers.
Image from Furtherfield’s Rich Networking event
A strong and vibrant creative ecology needs a good mix of all of these elements in order to thrive, it also needs these elements to work well together. Sadly, one of the biggest challenges facing media art UK is that the balance of these elements is quite skewed, particularly in terms of commissioning new work, and this has only become more acute as a result of recent funding cuts. Another challenge facing the UK media arts movement is that it’s fragmented, and it has been for quite some time. I’ll come back to this a little bit later.
Read this post in full – It’s been a really tough year, but what’s next for media art UK?.
I wrote this post for InterventTech on 9 November 2008. Click on the link at the bottom to read the full post.
BLOG EXTRACT –
Arriving approximately 1hr late to BioCentre’s The Role of Arts in Democratic Policy Making event, I was none-the-less welcomed by event organisers, kindly shown to my seat and handed the obligatory ‘conference pack.’
On arriving at the National Theatre for this mini-con I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. On the one hand I knew I had a decent understanding and growing interest in the visual art and bioethic space (so I follow the work of Orlan, Marc Quinn, Stelarc and Critical Art Ensemble quite closely), but I also knew that I felt pretty clueless about how this afternoon would play out. What I would ultimately come away with. I’m pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised! The event was great, and attracted a really cross cutting audience.
Read this post in full | People Power: Art and Bio Ethics.
I wrote this post for InterventTech on 03 November 2008. Click on the link at the bottom to read the full post.
BLOG EXTRACT – A week or so has passed since Ekow Eshun sent his infamous ‘internal email‘ announcing the closure of the ICA’s Live and Media Arts Department. And boy… has it been kicking off in the Media, Computer and Live Arts forums ever since.
Quite right too…
Opinion round up…
As Abs commented on this blog earlier in the week, the most high profile comment in response to Ekow’s decision was made by Lyn Gardner on the Guardian Theatre Blog, Thursday 23rd of October. Very much from a ‘theatre background,’ Lyn’s piece provided a voice for ‘Live Art,’ in response to Ekow’s decision. Reading between the lines, the article exposed Mr Eshun as a strategic ‘tactician’ who has ‘squeezed’ the investment and profiling of Live and Media Arts at the ICA since becoming Director in 2005. He did this Lyn argues, to claim it ‘useless,’ ‘irrelevant,’ and close the department down.
I have absolutely no idea if this assessment of Eshun’s character as Director of the ICA is a fair one. Like most people, I’ve seen him exercising his intellect with Mark Lawson on late night TV, and admittedly found his critical gymnastics off putting, but that doesn’t really give much to go on. What has really stood out though, is that neither Ekow or any other representative from the ICA or Arts Council has responded specifically to this somewhat damning character reference. A guilty conscience or an oversight? Who knows, perhaps someone would like to comment here..?
It’s also worth mentioning (as many comments on Lyn’s article do) that Philip Dodd, Ekow’s predecessor at the ICA, also worked pretty hard to hammer the first few nails in the Media and Live Art coffin. So, shame on Philip too.
Read this post in full – ICA gives Media Art ‘the chop’ under Ekow Eschun.