Christopher Meerdo, "Cypher," 2011 (.aes-256 file). Courtesy Gallery 400.

Our latest Centerfield column is up on Art:21 blog. This week, Nicholas O’Brien takes a look at Gallery 400’s current exhibition, File Type, which looks at how “formats… represent ways that artwork in digital or Internet media create particular standards of representation.” Nicholas also talks to the show’s curators, Lorelei Stewart and Chaz Evans, about their ideas behind the show. A brief excerpt below; click on over to Art:21 to read the full post!

When I initially saw the promotional poster for File Type, currently on view at University of Illinois at Chicago’s Gallery 400, I was immediately intrigued by the curatorial premise posed by curators Chaz Evans and Lorelei Stewart regarding how “formats… represent ways that artwork in digital or Internet media create particular standards of representation” (quoted from the curatorial statement). The variety of artists selected for the exhibition — a combination of local, national, and international makers – would have given me enough reason by itself for me to attend the opening. As I entered the space and browsed the works on display, I felt my curiosity continue in ways that I had not expected when initially considering the above statement by Evans and Stewart. Even after I left the show, questions kept reappearing and presenting themselves to me with intense frequency. Initially, I couldn’t help but question why some works were displayed on flat panel monitors as opposed to computer screens and as I continued to peruse the show, I wondered how the mounting of a physical show reflecting on the effects of network technology on artistic inquiry inevitably varies from a digital exhibition of identical material (something that perhaps I have had more comfort in discussing as of late). Can an exhibition highlight recursive dialogues between the language of the screen and the language of the gallery? Is there a sense of irony in the idea of a file type, since a great majority of the works deal with the translation and fluidity between codecs and mediums, as opposed to the static state of objects that galleries and museums tend to support and reenforce? Without outright calling File Type a “media art show,” how does this show effect the reception of the work, or even more importantly effect my (and the viewer’s) understanding of “media art?”

As these questions bubbled around in my brain, I decided take the initiative and voice these queries to the curators themselves. (Read more).

Claudine Isé

Claudine Isé has worked in the field of contemporary art as a writer and curator for the past decade, and currently serves as the Editor of the Art21 Blog. Claudine regularly writes for Artforum.com and Chicago magazine, and has also worked as an art critic for the Los Angeles Times. Before moving to Chicago in 2008, she worked at the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH as associate curator of exhibitions, and at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles as assistant curator of contemporary art, where she curated a number of Hammer Projects. She has Ph.D. in Film, Literature and Culture from the University of Southern California.