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by now to the digital equivalent of the scrap metal dealers who melted down all those Henry Moore sculptures. In her case her work would have been sent to India to recycle the rare earth minerals in the hardware running the piece – and a ‘simulacrum’ repurposed for ongoing derivative display in its place. Clever of Joanna and Mike to do that part themselves before they sold their artwork in emulated identikit format. They only traded in simulacrums now. Or rather their dealer did. Kept their original work for themselves – self-archiving against some future where unique code accrued value again. As if that day might come. Who needed to be in a museum collection anyway? Historians didn’t bother studying them much anymore, at least not since politicians decided they could rewrite art history too, and began changing what ‘public’ collections meant in the first place. Curators had lost their independent authority in this new landscape; museums had little choice but to be spectacular funhouses, halls of mirrors, endlessly duplicating in as many media as possible the stuff they already had. She looked at her limited edition Meowbified Picasso Museum self-portrait mousemat. Case in point. User-generated-content reprocessed by algorithm. Art exhibitions on demand, configured to your taste when you walked through the door, no separation between the show and the gift shop, or between original and reproduction. No, the researchers were still an artist’s best hope of having their work properly considered. Let’s hope this particular art historian was actually interested in the creative output and not just in creating market-useful statistics as part of his taxpayer-funded,government day job. Kyla threw the tea bag in the wormery, dribbled some milk from the glass bottle into the cup, and turned back to the screen. It had started just after she moved to the UK when the then Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, had renamed the Museum of Civilisation as the Museum of Canadian History, and begun that history not with the creative cultural treasures and practices of the interlinked tribes of the Inuit, but with the heroic invading British, waging war on the colonies south of the 49th parallel. He always liked to start with a key personality when telling a story as it made him sound more important and well connected and he’d insisted the curators there do the same. He had also reduced the number of staff at the National Gallery by getting rid of the librarians and archivists, those who knew the actual meaning of the stuff in the storerooms and ensured its accessibility. But then his Orwellian measures had become personal. Her mother, back home in Canada and working as a contract genealogist at the National Archives, had resigned in a storm of controversy because she refused to sign a new ‘duty of loyalty’ agreement which prevented her from – in her own time and outside of working hours – participating in any conferences about archival practices. She was made

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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