Networked Alternatives: Digital Curation and Artistic Production on Artist-run Platforms Public Deposited

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  • Post, Colin
    • Affiliation: School of Information and Library Science
  • This dissertation explores how artists creatively engaged with digital and networked technologies care for their artworks and related studio or personal archival materials. As digital and new media artworks frequently face preservation concerns and require regular maintenance shortly after the point of creation, artists often become the first stewards of their own work. Central to these artistic engagements, artists leverage digital and networked technologies to circulate artworks in exhibition and display contexts outside of museums and commercial galleries, including online platforms and hybrid gallery spaces that I refer to as ‘networked alternatives.’ I position these networked alternatives in longer histories of artists’ experiments with digital and networked technologies as well as artists’ efforts to effect their own exhibition contexts alternative to arts institutions and markets. Along with the artists, the curators of these spaces play crucial roles in the digital curation of these artworks and archival materials. The curators not only work with artists to mitigate technical issues in the process of staging networked exhibitions but also undertake largely volunteer labor to ensure the long-term viability of artworks featured in these exhibitions. As artists and curators care for these artworks and archives throughout the lifecycle of these materials, they seek out information and learn new skills contributing to situated knowledges needed to perform digital curation labor. From the creation of new artworks to the ongoing care of older works, these artists develop digital curation repertoires that become fundamental to their broader artistic efforts. Processes and practices for managing data across complex information systems are integral to activities involved in creating, exhibiting, and experiencing digital and new media artworks. I analyze these digital curation information needs and practices through the theoretical framework of information worlds, examining the various other individuals, organizations, technologies, communities, and sociopolitical factors that impact these information needs and practices. These artists and curators in turn shape the art worlds and various other social worlds constituting their information worlds; the digital curation repertoires of these individuals both drive and reflect broader changes in how art is created, disseminated, and experienced across these social worlds.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Lee, Christopher A
  • Anthony, Denise
  • Gibson, Amelia
  • Levine, Cary
  • Shaw, Ryan
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2020

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