[ISEA2011] Paper: Eleanor Rachel Dare & Lee Weinberg – Re-shaping curation: an interdisciplinary Visual Art Interpretation and Navigation System


The paper will evidence the ways in which digital and electronic media are re-shaping contemporary curation, it will specifically focus on VAINS, a curatorial and online art system we are developing as part of an interdisciplinary collaboration across arts and computing. VAINS, or the Visual Art Interpretation and Navigation System, is a substantial work in progress, it consists of a  site which offers repository, search and content recommendation tools adjusted to art content in an online environment, drawing upon the Computer Fine Arts database of digital artworks. The site is a response to the expected changes in content consumption as part of the movement towards a more complex web 3.0 generation, offering a customizable and personalized art viewing experience.  The VAINS system aims to be in part a text free environment, where visual experiences are interpreted through their contextual categorization and through the use of other sensual means, such as icons, sounds and textures. VAINS also deploys the embodied and situated nature of human users as core resources in its underlying computational structures, drawing upon enactivism and Real World Interaction as core computational principals.

The paper will put the VAINS system into a historical curatorial context as well as explaining and analysing the VAINS project and its methodology, outlining the reasons for placing the body at the forefront of its navigation systems. The paper will also present a narrative of interaction with the tools we have created, showing their impact on a range of users and illustrating the value of RWI or real world interaction in the context of online curation.

  • Eleanor Rachel Dare, Goldsmiths University of London, UK, Department of Computing, is a fine artist and lecturer in Arts Computing at Goldsmiths. Her work is concerned with embodiment and epistemology.   nicenewblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/nice-new-blog.html
  • Lee Weinberg, UK.  I’m an Artist and Curator, based in London. I am currently working on my PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London and teach at the art department. I work in close collaboration with the Haifa Museum of Art in Israel, as well as working on independent projects, both in Israel and internationally. In my research, I am interested in how new media art challenges traditional perceptions of curatorial practices. (I think of new media as the use any form of mediation tools which are introduced to the arts, and make an impact on what is perceived as an artistic medium. Included in this are either digital, online art or collaborative and community based art practices). Through a re-reading of the ICOM code of Ethics for Museums I am looking to re-define curatorial practice and the role of the contemporary art museum in a networked society. (if you want to read the ICOM COE, here it is: com.museum/en) . In the ISEA symposium this year, I will be presenting a project I am working on with artist and programmer, Dr. Eleanor Dare. VAINS or the Visual art Interrogation and Navigation System is an interdisciplinary work in progress. It aims to be an interactive website which offers repository, search and content recommendation tools tailored to viewing digital art in an online environment. In the past two years, we have been experimenting with alternative ways to search and access digital art online, putting an emphasis on repositioning the body in the encounter with art works online.The presentation given at ISEA2011 in Istanbul will concentrate on three tools developed on the course of the last year: The Visceral Navigation Tool, The Abjection Application and The Neural Navigation Tool. All these offer an encounter which highlights bodily presence, and which tries to bypass internet browsing based on language. We will discuss these tools and introduce our theoretical methodologies – which frame our practice within the larger fields of HCI, Curatorial Practice, and New Media Practices. vains-pro.wix.com/vains     computerfinearts.com/collection

Full text (PDF) p. 2552-2557