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Curatorial research envisioning an alternative networked arts’ ecosystem

Models of collaboration amongst art and the sciences have been widely discussed over the last fifty years. Yet, the arts’ subordination to the latter is nowadays overwhelmingly visible, particularly in Western societies' policy papers and educational strategies.

The boost towards STEM education and global initiatives as the Grand Challenges are symptomatic of the arts being excluded from debates regarding our society and civilization's future. Segregated to a ‘purposeless purpose’ to cite Kant, perceived as non-essential(1) or extracurricular. The arts’ public value and civic influence are downgraded to publics’ impact and box-ticking; subjugated to a ‘metric power’ (2) which demands tangible value for money, and it is used to propel competition in education, markets and the public domain.

Cornered by a neoliberal emphasis on individualism and modernist notions of the artist as genius, contemporary art professionals are often unable to articulate and uphold the need for artists’ practices outside the studio. Lost in translation amongst the semantics of intangible contextual values and post-Fordist production imperatives. The arts ecology, as made of people with multifaceted competencies, appears as a precarious and disjointed force whose values are hardly acknowledged beyond neoliberal market narratives. With institutions increasingly underfunded by governments (3) and arts’ professionals competing in opportunities like zero-sum games. In a condition of ‘extraterritorial reciprocity’(4) when approaching STEM debates and societal concerns, despite often embodying pluralistic values that can be deemed useful to society.

Through my practice-based research, experiments will be conducted to develop spaces for transdisciplinary creative collision and knowledge exchange. Harnessing the potential of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and cooperative methodologies to envision alternative socio-technical scenarios for an inclusive vision of the arts through the curatorial. Allowing organisational research to develop our own proto-field, opening up multi-dimensional and distributed spaces for possibilities via networked dynamics. Allowing primary research into arts as made of ‘fugitive occurrences’ (5), by identifying alternative value systems, nurturing P2P processes of exchange and cooperative organisational models.

The research aims at establishing models for developing digitally sophisticated networks of practices and peers, rethinking the arts' agency and long-term sustainability while suggesting nuanced approaches to multidimensional forms of value and transdisciplinary collaborative relationships.

  1. https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/artists-the-most-non-essential-worker’ [accessed 15 April 2021].
  2. David Beer, Metric Power, Palgrave (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
  3. as demonstrated in: Belfiori, Eleonora, Firth Catriona and Jonathan Neelands, Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth, The 2015 Report by the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value (University of Warwick: 2015), pp. 18-29
  4. Stephen Wrigt, Toward a Lexicon of Usership, (Eindovhen: Van Abbemuseum, 2013), pp. 13.
  5. Stephen Wrigt, Toward a Lexicon of Usership, p. 13.