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47 speculative scenarios

to the potential repositories of the work such as private art collections or museums. Yet, it seemed to be the only kind of funding you could get these days. Private collectors – mostly bankers and tech-barons – had commissioned and scooped up most of the interesting new art, like her friend Lawrence, and his astonishing live-data sun visualisation zeppelin. Crassly expensive but sublime to travel in. And to think that MoMA was trying to collect an old 747… How retro! In any case, as this particular research grant’s ‘anticipated impact’ stated, there was now a gap in the knowledge that needed addressing urgently – who used which tools, and, more importantly, which tools didn’t they use, and why. She knew the subtext and that it had been funded because artists were ‘people of concern’ again. In this so-called ‘big society’ of personalised self-sufficiency, they were potentially useful, as their activities were valuable to market researchers from the corporate sector. Not in some romantic sense of artists being ahead of industry – those days were gone. But in the spirit of refining niche product development. You had to take these visits in context, she reminded herself. You are the product of their speculative manufacturing, not your art, remember? Governments, at local and national levels, had given up on public sector support for museums, and in turn museums had excused themselves from supporting any new form of art – why compete with the community festivals and telecoms-funded extravaganzas? Focus on what you’ve got. Preferably the stuff by dead artists. Reproduce it endlessly. Art is accessible everywhere now anyway. Academics – even museum-affiliated ones in some cases – had turned to studying the creators of the works instead, and how they made what they made and what they might be interested in making if they had the products to enable its manifestation. As that was where the money was. Well, the small pots of it. God, she was tired of the endless ‘sector mapping’ exercises she’d been subject to since she’d moved to the UK. She hoped this wasn’t another one of those. She wondered if she was always included in these grant proposals because she has a centrally located studio and the social skills to sustain an informed conversation with an historian. The light flickered and she reached for the controls and switched the supply from live to her solarpowered reserve. Best not let the computer crash at this stage of the render. What annoyed her most was not that these so-called art historical studies were actually just market research, but that she hadn’t realised back then that she’d missed the chance to get her work collected and historicised – to focus attention on the ideas in the work rather than on her processes and where she got her kit. Still, if her work had been absorbed into a museum collection, there wasn’t any guarantee that it wouldn’t have been sold off

Speculative Scenarios — Edited by Annet Dekker  

There is a growing understanding of the use of technological tools for dissemination or mediation in the museum, but artistic experiences th...

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