Some artworks must exist online, digitally, on the internet. Curating works online is essential in this era because the online is as important as offline.
There is no standard answer to this question. We have collected some of the practitioners' answers to this question in our interviews and have also written down our reasons.
“What does it mean to curate net.art?”
“I tend to understand curating is about presentation, it's about taking work, and giving it a frame or a platform, whether that is inside an exhibition or a museum, or whether that's a website. I think curating is also about making context. And also placing artists, if you're doing a group show, it's about creating an articulation, something that is happening with a group of artists that maybe those artists don't even realise amongst themselves, where, making a work of art, you don't necessarily have to be thinking about those things.”
“In the early 2020s, from the perspective of the gallery, we realised that if we couldn't do offline exhibitions for a long time, we needed to assemble the exhibition resources online as soon as possible. We were almost the first to release online resources for exhibitions (in China). The work on online exhibitions reinforced my sense of using past exhibitions and events as a kind of database. Online exhibitions have a wider audience than offline, whereas many events are confined to a lecture or forum format where the audience can only ask questions or passively listen. So some of the activities we do are aimed at engaging the audience more fully.”
It’s all about representation. As a curator wanting to represent and showcase new media art and net.art, you have to be aware of what you’re representing and be mindful of how you do so. You are supposed to care about what you are curating. That is possible through representation. Furthermore, in order to be understood by other people, it needs to be framed with a context, often identified by the curator themselves. The frame you put around it is the way which people will engage with it.
Being a net.art curator is about aknowledging that one human-being behind a screen is trying to pass emotions to another human-being behind another screen. Its about using the medium in the most human way.
Moving from an offline to an online exhibition space, I was fascinated by the imaginative ways in which the artworks were presented, visualised and viewed.
Communication on the Internet uses a unique language, while art needs this kind of language, and so do exhibitions.