Mapping more progress

With only a month to go till the opening of Collectives Encounter, it’s probably time to start talking about our part of it in more detail.

First, an interesting quote from Walter Benjamin:

From a European perspective, things looked this way: In all areas of production, from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the development of technology proceeded at a much slower rate than the development of art. Art could take its time in variously assimilating the technological modes of operation. But the transformation of things that set in around 1800 dictated the tempo to art, and the more breathtaking this tempo, the more readily the dominion of fashion overspread all fields. Finally, we arrive at the present state of things: the possibility now arises that art will no longer find the time to adapt somehow to technological processes. [G1,1]

Loosely inspired by recent developments in cloud printing, Mapping the Flâneur has been conceived by Wideyed and ASA Collective as an image-based response to the fragmentary, indexical construct and content of Benjamin’s Arcades Project. Incorporating printers producing, in real time, images for exhibition as they are emailed in, the installation is partly intended to present a tangible model of online image sharing: the experimental nature of the project is also a response to ongoing critical debate about the future of print in the internet age, and will embody one possible crossover between the online and real worlds. Secondly, by inviting photography collectives around the world to join in a dialogue with each others’ work, based around key themes drawn from Benjamin’s writings, the project will present an overview of the growing photography collective movement, of contemporary photographic practices worldwide, and provide a multiplicity of responses to diverse global urban realities.

That’s the plan, anyway.

Tonight we found out where the exhibition space will be, and apparently it’s smack in the centre of Derby, and huge. When setting up at the end of this month, some thinking on our feet will be necessary. Meanwhile, we’ll continue working towards turning our plans into reality (but with increasing urgency). We’ll soon be contacting the collectives we hope will play with us, and drafting our manual… and we’ll spare you the list.

But to finish we’ll just go back to the Benjamin quote at the beginning quickly and ask, can the arts keep pace with technological advances, or have they long since lost the race? Well, we might not have the material and financial resources that industry has, but hey, flexibility and a little ingenuity can go a long, long way.

Installation shot of ‘Just in Time, or a short History of Production’, 2010, Xavier Antin [via Mrs Deane]

Although our installation won’t be quite so post-steampunk as this, we love it! so we’re adding it to our research.

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