Curating Interactive Art

Using Lauren Wenham’s ‘Puppet Boyfriend’ as part of Denouement, 2015. Photo c/o Lucy Tillman Photography


This PhD research project responds to a call from contemporary curators to modify the way we curate and exhibit responsive art, and to learn from and be transformed by this process of change. How we are transformed, and how we describe that transformation through critical language are woven into the study, particularly in regards to the variables of disruption and authenticity as they are introduced into exhibitions for analysis. I have worked in practice-based research regarding the production and exhibition of interactive art for the last 8 years as Director of the research initiative New Media Curation (NMC). In finding myself stuck in a cycle of producing and exhibiting, the time to reflect on and re-frame my practice arose in listening and responding to various calls for reform to practice from my contemporaries.

Engagement and Evaluation with Denouement, 2015. Image c/o New Media Curation.


In this PhD project I include a close study of how emerging and established artists work from studio to exhibition, as was part of my normal practice curating under the NMC banner. As such the foundational work in this thesis will include a series of case studies I collaborated on that existed outside exhibition spaces in public arenas, such as Grid Gallery, Organised Cacophony and Genart_sys. I will reflect on their place in my curatorial process under the NMC banner to establish an arena of practice-based research in experimental public spaces in my methodology.

NMC Reflective Practice Case Study, ISEA 2015, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Images c/o New Media Curation.

Reflective Practice Case Study, ISEA 2015, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Images c/o New Media Curation.


This methodology will then be tested through 2 curated interventions over the course of the PhD: Denoument, as part of VIVID 2015’s Musify+Gamify (highlighting the process of emergent practitioners, students at UNSW Art & Design) and we are all prototype (highlighting the process of established practitioners working closely with the Creative Robotics Lab at UNSW Art & Design) as part of The Big Anxiety Festival. It is reflected on and modified in a case study as a Curator-as-Producer role for ISEA2015: disruption. This was posited as a way to recapture, repeat and potentially revise the already established practice-based research happening within NMC.

The outcomes will consist of criteria for curating interactive art outside of museums and galleries in public spaces, based in reflection on and revision of NMC’s practice-based research methodologies.