UNPAINTED is Germany's first New Media Art Fair taking place in Munich, Januar 17 – 20. Pitching their tents while DLD is in town, we are partnering up in the exploration of digital culture. In this interview, the curator Annette Doms is talking about the art mix at the fair, digital natives and the attributes of net.art.
Munich is a city of many art fairs, why do you think an explicitly digital outfit is needed?
First of all: An art fair with focus on new media art is not a question of the city, but a question of quality! Irrespective of this, Munich is more than its history and forms the perfect symbiosis of tradition and innovation. Munich and its surroundings are characterized by an incredible diversity in media enterprises. The Collection Goetz is one of the most well respected video art collections in the world, there are wonderful galleries and academies in Munich that are open to new approaches, and of course your internationally renowned DLD attracts global players from the technology and Internet sectors to Munich for many years.
Where do you draw the line? Is, for instance, video art present at UNPAINTED?
Depends. I had the idea of doing an art fair that brings together art and artists that engage digital technology as a tool and a medium for many years. This means we have to start at the roots, with art made since the first computers were switched on. For this, I invited Wolf Lieser (DAM gallery) to curate a small history of new media art. An international committee selected the galleries. With Lab 3.0 I opened the fair for artists in the forms of supported stands. They have to take care for themselves, which is not uncommon, because there are very many new media artists who are not represented by a gallery. Algorithmic plotter-drawings will be shown, computer animation, collages, photography, net-art, software art, interactive art, sculpture, etc. Yes, video art will be presented as well. Let yourself be surprised!
DLD is investigating how technology is changing our society in all aspects. UNPAINTED is on similar tracks looking at art. What are the main changes in your opinion?
Here I enjoy citing my 8-year old nephew, who asked my father: "grandpa, you didn't have computers before … how did you then access the Internet?" Today's generation, and certainly tomorrow's generation, can't imagine a world without a computer. The digital comes natural to them. This is no different for today's generation of collectors. I am sure that the debates over problems on how to collect media art will become obsolete in a few years time. But as always, it is still perceived as something new, partially fancied, and much discussed. This is a repeating process (I remember discussions around classical modernism, futurism, abstract art after 1945 etc.) ... I think it is a question of time that also the public is thrilled by new media. As anything new it takes time to be accepted.
Rafaël Rozendaal at DLD12
At DLD13, Hans Ulrich Obrist framed the 89+ discussion. The thesis: artists born after the cold war and digital native have a different mindset. What's your point on that?
Of course digital natives have a different mindset. In my opinion history always depends on the circumstances of the time. Artists are lateral thinkers, creatives, and visionaries. As seismographs of society, they are sensitive to change. In today's age of digitization and virtual networks, technology has taken a central role in our lives. DLD know this best: Who would ever have expected that new technologies would once have such a large impact on our society? We are not talking only about the artists. The whole world is changing, and new technologies are a challenge for our brain.
**The Philips digital auction Paddles On ! caused some optimism. A marketplace for digital art is still crude. How do you think monetisation of digital artist can upshift?*
The Paddles On ! auction was a great success and the first step to the primary market. I invited The Paddles On ! team to discuss its experiences at the fair. UNPAINTED with focus on new media art, opens the market for digital art as well. At the end new media art is no different from art in the way we perceive it since centuries. In the case of net.art: it is a unique work (one buys a domain), it covers all the attributes of art: it has all formal aspects with regards to content and a signature, a titel and a year, which can be found in the source code of a webpage (as well as sometimes also the name of the collection.) I love it and a lot of collectors love it as well!
DLD14 speaker Rafael Rozendaal has created the DIY curational format BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer) that will be part of Unpainted. Further, all DLDsters are invited to visit Unpainted on Sunday morning and join guided tours with Annette Doms herself.