I found this week’s topic very interesting and I really enjoyed the readings and the videos a lot. I grew up in a household where technology wasn’t really used and now as an adult who grew up in the digital age, I continuously find myself underestimating and misunderstanding the digital world and its capabilities. The British Council video on what is digital art was really eye opening to me, especially hearing the artists talk about how data is just their material. It was a perspective I hadn’t heard before and found just really fascinating. I also didn’t fully realize the scope of cataloging because I’d only come across condition reporting before, and seeing how it could be used to preserve culture and projects just really opened my eyes to the importance of this topic.
Having absorbed all this over the week, when I got to the discussion question the thing that immediately popped into my head was etherial or performance art and artist and how, for instance, did the feminist performance artist of the 1970 preserve their pieces that were temporary and in person viewership was required? One of my favorite artists working in this niche is a Serbian Artist named Maria Abramovic. Her work was very physical and was often only performed once. The biggest collection I could find of hers was at the Lisson Gallery in London. The collection is mostly photographic stills of her performance work, which made me really think about how effective those stills were at conveying the work. When Abramovic preformed The Artist Is Present in 2010, it was a three month long performance about the importance on existing in the moment, yet there were only 3 photographs of the piece. It can be hard to capture the spirit of the work even if it was filmed the entire time simply because the work relies on a active participant who looks in the eyes of the artist. I did some digging and found an interview with Maria where she talks about her struggle with digitizing her performances. She specifically talked about here early work in the 70’s that are now stored on slide projection slides and are beginning to show sings of wear. Her piece Rhythm 0 was a work about personal responsibility where she stood in a space for 6 hours behind a table of 72 objects ranging from food to weapons. She acted as a puppet essentially, and the audience could do whatever they wanted with her. It was an extremely powerful performance about how people behave towards powerless people. During the performance a number of photos were taken and formatted into slide projections which is shown displayed on the wall with the table of objects in current showings. Abramovic talked in the interview about how frustrating it was for her trying to update that media into current formats to keep her work alive. Her struggles lead her to open the Maria Abramovic Institute, an Interdisciplinary performance and education center that focuses on long durational work like hers, as well as cataloging and archiving performance art for the future so current work doesn’t lose parts of itself the way hers has.