Monday, March 28, 2011

Good News: Web Features Planned for Canada's next Venice Biennale Outing

There's always plenty to debate about the Venice Biennale and Canada's representation there--Did they manage to cram it all into the tiny pavilion effectively? Was the artist a suitable pick? And, this year, for some: Was the process of artist selection equitable, having been reclaimed by the National Gallery as a task after decades of regional-insto rotation? (For a recap of some of these debates regarding this year, you can check out VoCA's stream of comments on the matter.)

Point being: always lots to be concerned about re Canada and Venice. But what rose to the uppermost of my mind as National Gallery director Marc Mayer and contemporary-art curator Josee Drouin Brisebois came through town to talk about their pick, Steven Shearer, a few weeks back was the following: Will there actually be some decent microsite or web features created so that the many Canadians who won't be able to visit Venice might get a glimpse of this exhibition? An exhibition that, erm, they themselves are sponsoring? And which presents an artist that is is purportedly crucial to present to the rest of the world at this point? Afer all, it tends to bother me when curators or institutions rail on about the need for a decent physical infrastructure for presenting an artist when the virtual infrastructure is left at nil.

Thankfully, a couple of days ago, I got some positive words from the gallery on this. According to the gallery, a Venice microsite of some kind is planned to accompany the in situ exhibition. Tentatively, it will include short videos, excerpts from the catalogue, and images. They're also considering a webcam recording of the opening event.

The microsite is part of the gallery's overall web redesign, due to launch after mid-April, from what they were able to tell me.

In any case, I'm very relieved to hear there is a web component planned for Venice.... and that it's not just a Facebook page. Helpful as those things can be, it scares me when they're treated as the last word in web exhibitions.

(Image of the Canada Pavilion in Venice from 2009 presenter the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery)

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