On UNPAINTED lab 3.0: Nate Hitchcock – An email-exchange with the co-curator of the fair.

  • 12.02.2016

RM: How do you understand your role within the lab 3.0 as an art dealer and curator?

NH: My roll in this year's UNPAINTED LAB 3.0 has been primarily as a co-curator with artistic director Annette Doms. While I am happy to help facilitate sales by liaising between collectors I trust and the artists I support, this is not my primary function within the fair.

RM: Why collecting new media is still presented as something ‘exotic’?

NH: I believe that certain types of 'new media' works are perhaps considered ‘exotic’, or more difficult to collect, due to issues of conservation. Many works, especially larger (and some smaller) installations from the 1990's through the early 2000's require a specialized form of conservation of sometimes deteriorating or obsolete technologies. This holds true with many Net.art works as well. Recently there have been some advances as well as more interest in conservation methods that are alleviating this. More impactful though is the tendency for artists who are interested in the ideological implications of technology turning to simpler formats to contend with them, sometimes even traditional mediums such as painting and sculpture.

RM: Media-oriented is not necessarily media based, or in other words: Many of the works that are going to be exhibited aren’t focusing on technology as a departing point, but using photography – as an example of a ‘traditional’ genre - as their tool. What defines the process of selection for artists to participate at the lab 3.0?

NH: There are many artists' works now who are included in this year's roster who are more interested in the significance of technology within societies as a whole, as opposed to it being isolated within its own historical progression, i.e. its own advancement as contextually functional objects.

Annette and I have tried to cast a wide net to include a variety of different practices within the Lab 3.0. There are some artists who've chosen to use formats such as photography or video, the more canonized of appropriated technology based formats, to produce their works. These formats exist within cultures in enough forms to not necessarily require the artist to solely address the mechanics of the devices, but to relate instead to emergent social, economic, networked etc., situations surrounding them.

RM: The terms ‘new media’, ‘post-internet’ as well as ‘unpainted’ are inherently problematic – New isn’t really what the artists are already presenting.

NH: The term 'New Media' is best used to describe certain artistic production during the 20th century. New was used to describe then recent technologies appropriated by artists, not the art itself. We are beyond this now by a long way. Most technology is suburbanized and this is what we are dealing with today on a large scale.

RM: Which 'struggles' are supposed to be seen reflected on the UNPAINTED lab 3.0?

NH: There are a variety of ‘struggles’ reflected by a wide range practices. There are several formal threads within the program dealing directly with technology as a methodology for artistic production, but there are also some artists who have chosen to use traditional mediums to reflect on the impact of technology and the social systems that have been accelerated by it.