Category Archives: General

THATCamp CAA 2014 Reflection Session at the Hilton, Marquette Room, 3rd Floor

After presentations, and reflections this morning, we’ll be working together in informal group sessions to respond to the following discussion, reflection, and action items. The hope is to leave THATCamp and CAA with something to build on, both digitally and through the new, collegial bonds formed from face-to-face interaction.

The Google Doc is here and can be added to by anyone at the session–or following along via Twitter or elsewhere. Please participate!

CAA THATCamp Reflection Session – Feb 13, 2014

Discussion Point:
What are the most pressing issues and/or opportunities for you in the field today—digital, or otherwise? Is it tenure, publishing, sharing your ideas, adjunctification…..

Reflection Point:
How/does the digital offer an opportunity to move forward/press/rethink this issue?

Action Point:
What can you do? What can CAA do? What kinds of panels might you want to see/help facilitate at THATCamp or CAA in the future?

Session Notes: Art Writing On The Web (or “DH is just net art from 1995!”)

Becky Huff Hunter introduced the session with some questions: What are some examples of alternative/experimental forms of art writing on the web? Have attendees been involved in web-based writing? What’s the impact of new forms of writing on artistic, curatorial, and scholarly practice?

Charlotte Frost gave us a sneak peek into her forthcoming book—a history of web-based art writing that includes websites, bulletins, mailing lists, blogs, and social media—with the following examples (in chronological order from sometime in the ’90s to the present:

  • Artswire—based on The Well, Judy Malloy
  • Artcom—Carl Loeffler, curatorial and publishing, related to La Mamelle artspace
  • The Thing—PBS-based, Wolfgang Staehle, NY based, moved into mailing list framework, Rhizome recently worked to recreate this and what it would have looked like back in the day
  • Rhizome, started life as Rhizome Raw, a mailing list-based discussion forum—Michael Connor is working to get this online
  • Furtherfield, Net Behavior, DIWO (Do It With Others)
  • ArtFCity, We Make Money Not Art
  • Heath Bunting, Marianne Breeze
  • – Heath Bunting, Marianne breeze, critical / creative crossovers
  • James Elkins, writes publicly and asks people to adapt his writing
  • Laurie Waxman, 60 words a minute in a gallery
  • Jerry Saltz’s Facebook page—comments section now the nexus for mailing-list type discussion of earlier moments

Dewitt Godfrey, CAA President Elect, commented that he wants to engage the ways in which artists and scholars work online, in order to better serve the CAA community. CAA has an online journal, but what else could be offered?

Hussein Keshani spoke about:
Archnet—designed to bring together Islamic world architects and scholars: threads where people discuss things like “how does one define Islamic architecture?”; visual database, image archive detached from text streams; scholarly articles, also disconnected from current text streams and image database; problem maintaining the quality of the conversation.

And my notes get a bit more rushed here as the conversation was really flowing…

Critical Practices Inc., Sol Ostrow—face to face think tank, publishing paper print, discussions forums at biennial

Willoughby Sharp—his Rolodex was like the Facebook of the art world

Media Arts. Curating. List
– networked discussion about the stuff in Charlotte’s book
– arts future book – how the humanities and theory will happen in the future – mailing list component to that project
– fraught success of the mailing lists, lots of archives mentioned that she hadn’t heard of
– Media art histories conference, people messaged her outside of the

– conversations – mailing list replaced with comments on Facebook pages of famous art historians / writers – no one person can own the space – list based intervention – how to have a productive conversation in those spaces – juggling all different information from different platforms, things coming off list but need to share it on list – personal emotions get woven into the list, example of friend passing away

– lists are by definition serial and sequential – not a discussion format
– “epistolary discussion”

– these are all different platforms with different affordances

– we have to re-educate ourselves about how to use different platforms

– why a book – Charlotte set up a project to play around with what an art knowledge object might be. This was for the authors involved in the project, so that they can have something published and peer reviewed. The book was for other people, not so important to Charlotte. She uses herself as a guinea pig.

– fine line in the sand is peer review – this doesn’t acknowledge the way in which peer review has changed
– blog = peer review after being published and the problem is that attention becomes an authority
– another form of peer review is comment press (WordPress add on) – you dump in an entire text then it gets broken up into posts which people can comment on. Public peer review – sometimes by invitation and then sometimes not – Katherine Fitzpatrick “planned obscelence”

– isobel streffer and siofar mcsheerry –
– problem – maintaining quality of the space – curated space vs interactivity
– problem of getting this accepted by their institutions, seeing online practice as a side project in order for it to go with tenure
– this mirrors the language of fine arts peer review tenure 30 years ago – vetting galleries, now we’ll be vetting websites, trying to understand the legitimacy of one thing over another – a peer review after evaluation

– structures
– Charlotte just fell into making a book, this is the structure of the academy
– we don’t have structures that are consistent enough or visible enough to fit

– triple canopy – corrected slogans, recorded the panels, then annotated them – memorialized into a book – triple canopy very enamoured with their own structure – what we are able to do on the web influenced

2004, live critical project with furtherfield  _ virtual artists residencies. – public could log in and akss the the artists questions – using a bespoke chat box – so fast, difficult to keep up – complete meltdown of whether we’d said anything of use or value – same with twitter chats now, storify now useful for grabbing editing creating something

– is there a different approach to using these online tools, or are we using them in the same way as anyone else?
– visual arts – images, projects where you want to connect the words to an image –  residency put together – artists/art historians not talking to each other – even meeting online, level playing field discussion forum

– Terra foundation residency in France – apply for this

– boundaries between disciplines – images are specific to the arts, experimentation is encouraged in the arts

– DH is “just Internet art from 1995”

2010 – Michael Mandlberg collaboratively wrote a book Collaborative Futures (on bookie) – eg, as artists we’re used to experimenting, tradition of being encouraged to break things and to work against the grain – the avant garde role or the irreverent role of the artist.

art is always self published – this is what practice is – many more art historians are know independent scholars – what shift in assumptions can CAA work with in order to help people – the art world / art history world is no longer stable, so how to participate – scholars  are now like artists – the rapidly expanding field of online discourse and the

Notes from What Are We To Do About Our Lack of Access to Images of Copyright-Protected Contemporary Art?

What are we going to do about copyrighted images of contemporary art?
Amy Ballmer on CUNY: we need legal help; librarians and VR professionals are not always copyright experts
Copy Fraud – Christine Sundt mentioned as a great resource for copyright info; doesn’t apply to contemporary art but still relevant; issues is more about contracts and not copyright – most scholarly use is covered under the law, it’s the permissions culture that is getting in the way
Fair Use best practices by Christine Sundt:
Mentioning both CAA copyright best practices:
and VRA copyright best practices:
-One of the main points being that if you’re using images in teaching you can use them
-As far as dissertations are concerned, it is an academic requirement and not a publication, so image use should be considered under fair use
Against Intellectual Monopoly, a book on controlled and managed intellectual property
How much of this is self-censorship? How much are academics and librarians simply afraid of litigation?
Volunteer Lawyers for the Creative Arts:

creating a crowdsourced set of readings for the art history survey
changing the “textbook” from chronological to something else: thematic (like “communication”), then use a crowdsourced materials (“why do we look at old things”) to create a customized syllabus. no need to reinvent the wheel.
learning outcomes//teaching outcomes (partnership opportunities)
what is it to teach thematically?
finding the right tools for the job//teaching portal
do we focus too much on finding the right tool instead of creating the right content?
wiki model//sustainability//editorship
resources as a forum/community
google+/hangout for a community of peers
what value is a community? (teaching outside your area, first time teaching, responding to new groups of students, new teaching methods – expanding the dialogue)
how do we keep art history separate from other disciplines? (do we need to?)
team teaching/interdisciplinary methodology
falling enrollment rates
changing the language of classes: syllabi changing, class titles changing
k-12/common core changing
ideal resource forum: what would it stress? a skill based model (why learn art history) or thematic (art history itself)
end of session: creating a google+ community –
see also:
links: // // //

introducing digital methods to art history undergrads starting point//link to google doc

how are classrooms set up (what sorts of rooms, how do students interact with professors/other students)

how do we evaluate collaboration (digital badging?)

incorporating media – wikipedia, new media techniques, etc.

how to make these not “silos” and instead a new methodology

“in art history, we need to be leaders and not just follow the humanities”

having students blog, sharing that content on social media like twitter, facebook, etc. using twitter to write a joint paper.

crossing national boundaries to collaborate on work (with blogs/digital online writing).

different platforms for different prompts/audiences

re-photography projects

what skills do we need to cultivate with the students? maybe look at k-12 and museum education for guidelines. more opportunities for the visual.

how do you deal with more traditional mindsets against digital/interactive teaching? and how do  you deal with the students who just won’t get involved?

how do you show the material is getting through to the students? (assessment strategies). individualized feedback, etc.

creating projects that are “real world” examples

having students peer-grade

color wheel examples: CMS, tumblr, produced videos, etc

using digital tools students use everyday to create research projects

taking audience voices that aren’t usually heard to create a survey of a museum

recording thoughts as a blueprint for final piece

digital badging (chicago public schools use this: (press release: personal plug: this is something i’m super interested in exploring as well, if you’d like to talk about it, please email me: )

links: // shadowpuppet app //

NOTES: Andrianna Campbell and Ellen Tani – The Impact of Digital Media on the Curatorial Process

-online formats for curatorial practice

-restaging historical exhibitions online as means to reenter those conversations into history

-? tools with students for curating online exhibition (? identify strong visual experience that fits with digital methods and experiences)

-curating electronic literature, sonic experiences

-rel. physical exhibition and online components/correlatives

-multimedial gallery experience and how can drive participation with physical exhibitions

-how to create a digital experience?

-how make intuitive to participant?

-? why chose physical and/or online space?

-mixed platform exhibitions

-digital space as a freer space? fewer authoritative voices?



-? showing works and exhibitions that weren’t conceived to be online  (e.g. historical objects/exhibitions)

-using tablets to look at on own time, in own space

-project  “Decenter” – decenter how think about abstraction, rethink canon re. Armory show, formal comparison early abstraction and digital manipulation (e.g. photoshop); invited other artists to participate so incorporating social media (aspect can’t incorporate in a gallery, something made for online)

-website environment as “native” environment – a different space from physical gallery space


-?computer as frame to a work of art??


-how do digital media change ideas/notions about “curation” – does  curation become a more collaborative/inclusive process? how is process changed?

-do works for art get changed or understandings/perceptions? new questions?


-good e.g. of digital exhibition – Tate “gallery of lost art” – was temporary  – about works that never really had physical object form – experience like an archivist searching


-? of process and exposing process and how online platforms can do more along these lines


-new work drawn from digital archives; artists who work in code

-? new kinds of ephemerality with dig media works and curation?

-new questions of rights for artists and curators


-?s of control – artists working online gives appearance of control, but not really  much control – challenging space for artists and curators

-?s of preservation/archiving – of digital life cycle with digital works and curation?


-?s of didactics/interpretative materials and discursive spaces of galleries – what is lost? how restore immediacy of engagement with objects?

-danger of info overload with online interpretative tools – question of distraction and right amount of info and options

-rethinking authority of curator

-online spaces allow for multiple “authors” of chat labels (e.g. Wikipedia style labels) – how gallery like spaces like Wikipedia without transparent authority


-how think about exchange between digital and physical exhibition spaces? transitions between the environments

-how democratize selection, interpretation and (interactive) experience?


-how does digital curation change curatorial thinking and practices and/or participant experiences/expectations?

-can think more broadly, think/work more collaboratively, think more deeply (options online for greater depth)


-online catalogues that can free download on iPads (iBook author – can look really nice – good widget options) or Word Press

-good opportunities for student participation/contributions

Digital Methods for Undergrads

Here’s the link to a shared Google doc that we can use if the group decides to do some workshopping during this afternoon session.  Also, below are some questions that were generated on the session proposal thread—

Questions from comment thread:

  • What are the tools/skills our students need to engage in digital research?

  • What digital projects can be completed during one or two flipped class sessions?
  • How do students engage art history digitally already?

  • How can/should we channel those experiences into the classroom?

  • How can using digital art history methods, or producing digital projects benefit students and their teachers (addressing some of the concerns of technology-resistant colleagues)?

  • How are people using under-utilized tools in their university’s LMS in innovative ways?

  • How do we go about training our students to use technical skills without assuming that they are comfortable already?

  • How might gaming or applications be used in new ways?

  • Can students drive these projects?

  • What issues arise in working with a technologists to create the flipped classroom (a more practical aspect)?

representing uncertainty

competing aspects of time//the risks of hyperreality
showing alternatives in reconstruction (archeology)
what is the “truth” of a site/piece of art/etc
what are the ethics of uncertainty? injecting uncertainty into the classroom without confusing students.
allowing students to explore the uncertainty and annotate and visualize uncertainties themselves
varied audiences//disclosure of uncertainty for different groups//responsibilities. layers of absolute evidence – helps for “consumers”
interdisciplinary approach to research and presentation. especially helpful for non-visual research, such as sounds and smells.
“always dealing with a part for the whole” and the need for “truthiness.” even with graphics programs, it’s always a simulation, no matter how accurate you can be.
finding strategies to tell students to pick something apart.
what is the role of the model if you are just going to change it when it’s built?
restoring for functionality vs restoring for other reasons
art history’s embrace of the unitary object; need to embrace a diachronic nature of objects. cultural biography.
hard to talk about uncertainty in a visual way because of our insistence on visual objects being “true.”
wobbly/fuzzy maps: leaving off info is just as bad as “fudging” the data. what kind of data can you make fuzzy, then? (for example, if you don’t know a location, where do you put it when it’s required? possible example: create a “range” on your visualization, create a homespun effect)
instead of throwing a million examples at undergrads, lets slow down and give less information and talk about them in a broader context
multiple reconstructions of monuments to present to a class/representing process (allows for representing uncertainty)
even simple things like physically erasing what we’re uncertain of can allow students to visualize.
audiences: community engagement//what/why are we trying to recreate, and for whom? experiential spaces/physical spaces (creating a story)
phenomenology (smell and sound scapes as well as visual narratives)
mashups and influences; representing stylistic and perceptive shifts
tools//examples: // GIS // // sketchup // ben franklin home wireframe // OWL //