Event Title

Temporalization in art, digital cultures and institutions

Location

Lingnan University / Online Session via Zoom

Start Date

21-5-2021 11:10 AM

End Date

21-5-2021 12:40 PM

Description

It could be argued museums are a construct of European modernity, grounded in Western epistemologies. Established through imperialism and the acquisition of precious objects (Said), artworks and artefacts are removed from their social contexts, preserved and frozen in time. This understanding of art values the originality, uniqueness and material permanence is a myth which continues to be perpetuated today. In contrast, scholars like Joseph Needham have suggested Eastern epistemologies are grounded in notions of process and change, while Western thought is mechanistic. Within art and museological practices, the notion of process challenges concepts of material permanence, where there is no distinction between copy and original in the concept of "shanzhai" (Han). This paper seeks to explore notion of process and its implications on art, digital cultures, and contemporary institutions. The myth of material permanence particularly fails when we consider the Anthropocene as an era in which human civilization sees its ecological demise. With technical reproducibility (as we learn from Benjamin), art loses its aura of originality valuing a work's proliferation and permutation over uniqueness. In this sense, we can align digital culture with Eastern cultures (Osborne). What are the implications of this temporalisation of art and its institutions in developing methods for the preservation of culture? Documentation becomes more important than the material objects (Groys), where the internet becomes an archive of past events. To reevaluate conceptions of preservation and collecting from Eastern conceptions of culture is to value copying, repetition, and reenactment as a means of continuing practices beyond imperialist claims to material objects and the acquisition of world knowledge. This provocation could offer decolonizing perspectives in contemporary institutions.

Recommended Citation

Wong, A. L. (2021, May). Temporalization in art, digital cultures and institutions. Presented at Then and Now: Collecting Art and Exhibiting Cultures in Asia Conference, Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

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May 21st, 11:10 AM May 21st, 12:40 PM

Temporalization in art, digital cultures and institutions

Lingnan University / Online Session via Zoom

It could be argued museums are a construct of European modernity, grounded in Western epistemologies. Established through imperialism and the acquisition of precious objects (Said), artworks and artefacts are removed from their social contexts, preserved and frozen in time. This understanding of art values the originality, uniqueness and material permanence is a myth which continues to be perpetuated today. In contrast, scholars like Joseph Needham have suggested Eastern epistemologies are grounded in notions of process and change, while Western thought is mechanistic. Within art and museological practices, the notion of process challenges concepts of material permanence, where there is no distinction between copy and original in the concept of "shanzhai" (Han). This paper seeks to explore notion of process and its implications on art, digital cultures, and contemporary institutions. The myth of material permanence particularly fails when we consider the Anthropocene as an era in which human civilization sees its ecological demise. With technical reproducibility (as we learn from Benjamin), art loses its aura of originality valuing a work's proliferation and permutation over uniqueness. In this sense, we can align digital culture with Eastern cultures (Osborne). What are the implications of this temporalisation of art and its institutions in developing methods for the preservation of culture? Documentation becomes more important than the material objects (Groys), where the internet becomes an archive of past events. To reevaluate conceptions of preservation and collecting from Eastern conceptions of culture is to value copying, repetition, and reenactment as a means of continuing practices beyond imperialist claims to material objects and the acquisition of world knowledge. This provocation could offer decolonizing perspectives in contemporary institutions.