Steve Dietz organized the landmark exhibition ‘Beyond Interface’ in 1998,
and many other exhibitions of ‘net.art’
"Interfacing the Digital" presents work at the Walker Art Center focusing on new physical interfaces, particularly for the presentation of digital art. Some examples include a freestanding revolving door portal for the exhibition Art Entertainment Network; a telematic table resulting from an international design competition; and a "temporary autonomous sarai" developed collaboratively by the new media artists Raqs Media Collective (New Delhi) and the architectural practice Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokyo). These and other projects are prototypes for new, interactive social spaces and functions being developed for the Walker's new building expansion, designed by the architects Herzog & de Meuron.
In the last 5 years, especially following Documenta X (1997), the Whitney Biennial of 2000, and Net_Condition at ZKM (2000), there has been at times heated debate not only about how best to present digital and specifically networked art in an institutional context but also whether to do so at all. [i] Not all of the discussion revolves around issues of physical interfaces to such works, but their onsite presentation is a critical concern for both museums and artists—and their audiences.
This paper is informed by these discussions, mostly online in the archives of nettime, rhizome, thingist, and CRUMB, but focuses on personal experiences in curating 10 exhibitions over the past 5 years that have included network-based art, including Beyond Interface: net art and Art on the Net at Museums and the Web in 1998.
Finally, while working with art that is "born digital" is a special case for most museums, I would argue that the many of the issues and lessons are transferable to the digital contextualization of any work in a museum's collection.
Door-Portal for Art Entertainment Network as part of Let's Entertain, Walker Art Center.
Can download the full paper here.
For more detail about the Artist, can visit this website