Digital Art Criticism at CAA

I’m just about to head off to New York where I’ll be speaking about digital art criticism at the College Art Association’s annual conference on Saturday 16th February.

I’m in a session called ‘The Work of Art Criticism in the Age of E-zines and Blog­ging’ (2.30-5.00 on Saturday 16th (Beekman Parlor, 2nd Floor, Hilton ). It is chaired by Diana McClintock (Kennesaw State University) and Susan Todd-Raque, (independent curator) Here’s how they described the session:

Historically, critical writing that is intellectually stimulating and theoretically grounded in sources considered to possess quality and significance has been recognized as “good.” Today, however, “criticism” is found on e-zines and Facebook, and “critics” range from respected professionals to casual bloggers. Art criti­cism has become globally accessible. Has this widespread acces­sibility resulted in qualitative changes? This session welcomes papers that examine the endless proliferation of “criticism” and the multitude of “critical” sources now available on digital sites such e-zines, blogs, and social networks, and that investigate the changes that these new critical sites have compelled within critical writing itself. Who are today’s “authorities”? What ques­tions should critics ask? Has the critical voice changed in this age of digital production? Do the old rules apply, and should they? How should the academic world help students navigate the universe of available sites and develop critical-thinking skills and valid critical methodologies?

 And there’s the abstract for the paper I’m giving:

 Make to Know: Towards Art Critical Transmedia Literacies.

 My paper makes a case for a hands-on approach to gaining necessary art critical transmedia literacies. I begin by describing the emerging characteristics of several types of post-internet art contextualization. For example, through art-focused email-based discussion lists, blogging and micro-blogging, I discuss how art criticism has become more democratic, faster and highly participative. However, I argue that certain types of archive corroborate certain types of knowledge, and that the criteria by which we judge art belong more to the book than to the blog. At this point I describe my own practice – including the various incarnations of the Arts Future Book project – and show how a transmedia approach has helped me access the value of new media art and art criticism. I conclude that aligned with the Digital Humanities, art criticism must embrace the ‘makerly turn’ and thoroughly explore how meaning is created and transferred through new media.

There’ll be lots of live tweeting this year at CAA because there’s free wifi. I’m guessing the hashtag will be #caa2013?! And I’ll be launching a rather exciting and very Twitter-centric project into the conference Twitter stream so pay attention!

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