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Pipeline|*

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Pipeline is a research tool commissioned by me and Anna Colin at Gasworks with Electronest, stemming from the project Disclosures (a longer post about the context of Disclosures will follow soon).

Based on a Wordpress account, Pipeline allows Gasworks to (re)publish articles and material that informs the curators' ongoing research on various projects. It was commissioned in response to various practical and conceptual factors: the noticeboard-like institutional functionality of Gasworks' main site; and the territorial aspect of curatorial research. Sometimes it feels like there are tendencies in the curatorial world that reveal a common fascination with a certain area of interest; we might suddenly get a rash of shows about the occult, for example (to name a recent one), or 'China shows' (to glibly summarise a tendency of the last five years or so). What is often spoken of as cross-pollination, or a set of shared ideas in the art world, is in fact very difficult to trace and aside from the odd panel discussion or published conversation, it is not always easy to monitor where curating teams behind shows with overlapping themes really confer or move forward on the basis of each others' contributions.

Through Pipeline we are interested in sharing not so much the easily-googled biographical resources on a given artist/project (this is easily linkable via Gasworks' main site), but the 'meta' material surrounding a project, material too lengthy or too fanciful for dissemination via the usual routes of press release and website link: posts of material stemming from idiosyncratic conceptual connections, through to direct reference texts, typed up, scanned, or linked. We aim to find and post those troves of curatorial linkage that many of us like to hug to our chests - unusual bits of information, curious perspectives, dusty miscellany that is more informative than it looks - that are usually produced with a flourish by the curator during a catalogue essay or a seminar, but otherwise not usually shared at a moment that might be useful in propelling the general critical perspective.

The re-publishing aspect of Pipeline - loosely covered by 'fair use' IP logic - is also informed by the progressive notion of 'plagiarism' that treats all existing material as recombinable and open for future use, rather than closed and finished, appreciable only within its contemporaneous context. Pipeline's structure stems directly from Electronest's experimental magazine r-echos. The transfer of this kind of project from independent creatives' 'blog' to publicly funded art organisation reveals subtle changes in its transfer to the institution; Pipeline posts are often introduced with a brief contextualising note, and a simple set of project-based taxonomies have been introduced. What would normally viewed as a blog entry is organised on Pipeline as a single coloured stripe; each colour representing a specific individual project or artist that Gasworks is working with. Posts are viewable by this imposed, Gasworks-specific taxonomy, or by tags, which are (at least theoretically) more open.

Pipeline is an edited project, for as a small institution with small audiences we didn't pursue the questionable mass-participation logic of Web 2.0 (other than via a standard comment function); the idea of 'openness' here is about making a little more visible the informing material behind the development of a project. Essentially, it is a good looking research dump, and a surprisingly addictive incentive to research for its editors.

The question of whether this will contribute to the wider and more open streaming of ideas within the contemporary art world is currently totally up for debate. One encouraging sign, was the re-re-publishing of a recently Pipelined article on metamute. Definitely the sincerest form of flattery.

 

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