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Forum Virtual Networks, Social Fabrics

Sönke Hallmann
Scott Rigby
Magda Tyżlik-Carver

Kate Southworth

5 September, 2008,
10:45-12.00, Seminar Room 5,
Peter Lanyon Building, Tremough Campus,
University College Falmouth, Penryn, Cornwall

Department of Reading
Plausible Artworlds
New Models of Curating?
(IN)visible networks

This forum is a result of virtual collaboration between artists, researchers, curators and theorists based in Europe and United States. We propose to consider it as a nodal point realised through an encounter, a meeting point where the projects, Department of Reading, Plausible Artworlds and New Models of Curating?, which run independently of each other, get together. This encounter deems to open various textures and tonalities within which to discuss the kinds of sociality possibly created within the projects. During the forum we will indicate the complex relations which exist between technological and social networks.

The Department of Reading (DoR) has been initiated in 2006 among a group of researchers from the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, and is an online-based project displayed in different spatial configurations. Suggesting a use of texts in such a manner that is always already linked to questions concerning the notion of community, the DoR facilitates itself within a playful gesture a common use of text that allows for a state of vigilance, in which the indirectness of reading, the machinic aspects of technology and their different temporalities coincide. The DoR thus actualises a space of and within communication that is not limited to the production of discourse, but aims for other forms of intervention and encounter. Since 2007 the DoR develops a digital platform that supports this process and provides the conditions for its different reading sessions.

Plausible Artworlds was started in 2006 by the Philadelphia-based collaborative group Basekamp and has since involved many groups and people from around the world in the planning and organisational phase of the project, using both virtual technologies and through on-site seminars. The project’s premise is that those networks known as artworlds are not just places where art gets seen and talked about, but are no less integral to art production than artists themselves – for art cannot be sustained outside some form of artworld. The project provides a platform for examining and accompanying the emergence of plural artistic environments in the context of ever growing numbers of art and art-related practices both requiring artworld settings different from those currently on offer. The project gives visibility to artists’ collectives’ experiments with alternative artworlds through a community web platform, email discussion list, and archive of selected projects exemplifying Plausible Artworlds.

This forum is a part of a research project New Models of Curating?, initiated by Magda Tyżlik-Carver, Research Assistant at iRes cluster at University College Falmouth. The main task of the project is to consider if it is possible to recognise and distinguish curatorial activity which is the result of operating in the environment of Internet and within the structures of social web and its networked systems defined through the existing and emergent protocols.


Sönke Hallmann currently lives and works in Berlin. He studied German literature and philosophy at the University of Hamburg and has since then published about questions concerning new forms of community, the experience of language and contemporary conceptions of messianism. In 2006 Sönke Hallmann has initiated the Department of Reading.

Scott Rigby co-founded and continues to co-organize Basekamp's collaborative projects, international residency program, and exhibition space in Philadelphia with a rotating group of artists. The resulting projects have appeared in non-art contexts, online, in artist-run spaces, and institutional venues. Rigby has co-written several essays, and frequently presents at international conferences on critical group practices.

Magda Tyżlik-Carver works as a research assistant in iRes at University College Falmouth. Her current research interests include collaboration, the common, community and networks in the network society. As part of her research in the field of new media curating titled New Models of Curating? she has organised a series of online debates with international collaborative groups, such as UNWETTER, C:cred and Basekamp. She has recently initiated project lab_Off Centre which is a series of events with theorists, artists, curators, philosophers and others. This project considers the concept of periphery in the network society.