Curating People: Erika Balsom

The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the symposium “Curating People” on April 28 and 29, 2011. Participants have been invited to post some brief thoughts on the topic in advance of the event. This guest posting is by Erika Balsom, a Townsend post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Film & Media Studies at UC Berkeley.
                                          My research focuses on how and why the projected image has emerged as a major feature of artistic production over the past two decades. In addition to the analysis of key artworks, a significant component of this project has involved examining the various strategies curators and artists have used to display moving images in a gallery/museum space. These can range from the innovative to the exploitative, from the refreshing to the careless. In all cases, I approach these choices after they have been made and delivered to the public; I can speculate on what internal agendas might have been in play during the planning phase but am not privy to them. Part of my interest in participating in the “Curating People” symposium is in hearing about kinds of questions and concerns curators and artists deal with before their exhibitions reach the public. In other words, what kinds of unique challenges do practitioners face when dealing with time-based art? I am particularly excited about the manner in which this symposium is bringing together scholars, practitioners, and scholar-practitioners to bridge the divides that too often separate us and to provide a venue for the sharing of experiences, thoughts, and perspectives. I’m also looking forward to moving beyond my normal focus on film and video installation to consider how questions of liveness and the body come to figure into the unique challenges posed by performance in the museum.