UBC | Digital Visions
Digital Visions
Sylvia Borda
Digital Visions 2005: Artistic Collaborations on a Digital Platform

In curating Digital Visions 2005, I extended invitations to international colleagues who were asked to nominate artists from within their own cultural geographies. I was pleased that Keith Donelly (Visual Arts Development Officer, East Kilbride Arts Centre) from Scotland and Amy Cheng (Taipei Biennale curator 2004 and independent art writer) and Esther Lu (Taipei Biennale assistant curator 2004 and independent media critic), both from Taipei, Taiwan agreed to participate as co-curators.

Each curator offered new insights into their own member community groups, whom were interested in the exhibition. This collaborative process extended the exhibition's mandate to work with international communities and helped us learn how to communicate more succinctly about art delivery. "Is this artwork interesting?" "Why has this artist selected this practice to follow?" Such exchanges helped increase, expand, and deepen our relationships. Indeed our conversations stimulated us to think do new audiences interpret working practices from other locales. What features change how a work is going to be received and interpreted? It was this latter dialogue that stimulated, challenged and enabled new perspectives about our own locales to be considered. Indeed the delicate intricacy of learning how to discuss succinctly and assign value to work has changed us all.

This collaborative team model and on-going philosopher's roundtable added new depth, resonance and synergy to the artist selection process and also highlighted the importance of communication. Exchanges by email, phone and fax all indicated the highest level of integrity in selection and a continual interest in creating a forum - an open space where meaningful discourse could properly contextualise both artistic practices and their relationships to local and international socio-economic strategies. While our cultural geographies seemed disparate, the curatorial committee's considerations, queries and thought process revealed continued common threads. The need to establish solid frames of reference from which to comprehend artistic production and delivery remained integral throughout our dialogues. These concepts continued to be discussed at the University of British Columbia and helped the writers think beyond their own specific geographies and experiences. These processes became part of the project's fabric and moved abstract strategies into real world scenarios.

Ultimately an art exhibition is a platform introducing new ideas, artwork and concepts to a larger community. The Digital Visions project has been curated as an information portal enabling online users the possibility of gaining new social knowledge about contemporary art practices. Past reviews have focused on digital media practices, this year's themes grew to encompass artists who occupy alternate spaces (whether physical, virtual, electronic, new media, network, performative or other related designations).

Project writers worked with selected artists in discussing their process, assembling a database of information about artistic driven projects in an attempt to archive and preserve time-based, transitional and/or ephemeral artworks. Writers considered their efforts as a means to develop literature about artworks that have previously occupied marginal spaces.

Concepts of institutionally sanctioned spaces for exhibition and delivery were discussed, debated and alternatives like Digital Visions were also examined at the university and amongst guest curators throughout the project. Ultimately the 2005 Digital Visions project gained validity as participants continued to discuss the importance and adoption of new forms and voices to manage the delivery of art to wider audiences. My Canadian team best summarised the current form of Digital Visions artistic exhibition and delivery as a living, mutating, migrating and evolving structure; wherein, cultural shifts and paradigms can be accommodated.

By the end of this year's development, all agreed the project's resonance comes at the moment when a guest visitor can reflect on a current cultural moment and find their own placement in it and relationship to the greater whole.