In his 2003 essay Interfacing the Digital, Steve Dietz presents a series of case studies of exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, which focus on new physical interfaces for the presentation of 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)”.
Back in 2003, while planning a new building expansion, the Walker Art center was therefore experimenting with alternative ways of displaying digital works. In this regard, Dietz stated: “One of the challenges of presenting digital art, is that the context and the work are generally displayed via the same means: the screen. How to differentiate between the metadata and the experience? One strategy is simply to open the project in a new window”. However, despite this suggestion, numerous digital exhibitions today are still displayed as a high concentration of stuff.
Yet, amongst the numerous questions related to digital art, a pressuring one remains that of display: how should institutions deal with it? Is this is a concern involving a mere curatorial responsibility? Or is it, rather, an issue involving the entire institutional structure, such as the definition, purpose and scope of the contemporary art museum as a whole?
Miriam La Rosa
For the full text by S. Dietz: