Interview with Rene G. Cepeda: Media Art Curator at New Media Caucus – Redbrick | Candle Made Easy

I was recently able to interview Rene G. Cepeda, the Media Art Curator at the New Media Caucus at Header/Footer Gallery. The gallery exists in an online space which I found really interesting as I didn’t come across many online-only galleries. Below you can read more about the gallery and Rene G. Cepeda’s job, background and experiences.

what is your background

I am a new media art curator specializing in interactive art. I have a BA in Information Design, an MA in Museum Studies and another MA in Art History and Curating and a PhD in Curating and Exhibiting Interactive New Media Art. I am also a lecturer and researcher.

What does your job entail?

As the gallery’s first formal curator, I also act in a sense as its director. I’ve been busy creating a code of ethics, an exhibition policy, outreach programs, a podcast, and the more traditional curatorial duties which include finding artists, selecting artworks, research, curating exhibitions (we do 3-4 exhibitions per year) and design includes exhibitions with artists and guest curators, as well as maintaining and archiving past exhibitions to create a curatorial reminder of the gallery’s work.

What are the advantages of an online museum space?

I think the biggest advantage we have is total freedom of space; Given enough time and resources, online museum spaces are incredibly flexible.

I think the biggest advantage we have is total freedom of space.

Not being bound by the laws of physics is another benefit, as it opens up a lot of scope for creative curating, e.g. B. the ability to get incredibly close to the work and manipulate it. We are also able to create longer experiences as visitors can stop and continue at their leisure.

Online exhibitions are also more accessible in some ways, although you still need a computer and an internet connection, which is still a privilege in some places, but otherwise they reach a wider audience and can be much richer as metadata, so we’ll go beyond that can view the gallery itself with just one click.

What are the disadvantages of an online museum space?

As liberating as online spaces can be, there are things they just aren’t made for. For example, interactive physical objects are generally unusable unless we create a virtual substitute, and even then the experience may be limited. The lack of a physical space also detracts from the exhibitions, in the eyes of some, as they are not taking place in a “real museum” or “real gallery”.

A misconception I think many museum professionals have is the idea that online exhibitions are cheap or easy to curate, when in fact a proper online exhibition can take as many resources as a blockbuster exhibition; it all depends on how much technology you want to implement.

A proper online exhibition can consume as many resources as a blockbuster exhibition.

In a way, online museum spaces can use as many resources as creating an entire video game. But the biggest downside for me is the lack of a physical space to play around with and create interesting solutions to show digitally born objects in a physical space that has very narrow cultural norms in terms of how we interact with them.

What is your target audience as a website?

I’ve never liked this question just because ideally I want everyone to be my audience. But from a more practical standpoint, which is literally the header of the New Media Caucus website, the bulk of our audience comes from a fairly academic and/or artistic background, students whose professors have recommended them to join the caucus for the many benefits It caters to academics interested in our symposium, artists looking for funding and connections in this area.

However, I have tried to expand our audience through our podcast by promoting it on social media to attract more people to the exhibitions who otherwise would not even have known we existed.

What was your favorite exhibition to work on?

Era de Fractura/Age of Fracture was a very interesting exhibition as I did it together with a group of Mexican artists and so we decided that everything would be in Spanish first and then in English, including the podcast. This was done with the intention of recognizing the artists’ native language but also making it accessible to their families, which is not usually the case in English-speaking countries. But other than that, her work was incredibly interesting and it was really fun working with guest curator Harshini Karunaratne.

Do you think more places should explore the online exhibition option?

If it’s done with full dedication, yes, otherwise it might be better not to do it at all. Ideally, I would like each exhibition to have an online version that allows people everywhere to experience the exhibition remotely.

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