David Gryn blog

Notes for the Second Season of Daata Editions by Anton Haugen

In Anton Haugen, Arachne, Daata, Daata Editions, Gavlak, NADA, New Art Dealers, Rhizome, Uncategorized on 06/05/2016 at 12:13 pm



Michael Manning, Dinner Party in the Garden, 2016

Notes for the Second Season of Daata Editions 

by Anton Haugen

In approaching a platform like Daata Editions, one searches for an apt way to describe the experience of screen-based works. In the past, too often have the gallery and its spatial metaphors been invoked to falsely characterize the experience of artwork on the internet, reducing the medium to a mere extension of the gallery structure. This glaring lack necessitates born-digital platforms like Daata Editions and, importantly, new contextual frameworks that can provide ways of understanding these works. However, it’s so easy to forget yourself on a screen. While dependence on mnemonic aids does leave private memory to falter, users are known to experience difficulty in locating the mental faculty to fully separate from the digital networks within which they exist; these networks, in turn, are all too often a systemization and amplification of offline social strata. Where in the past there seemed an unmediated flow of time, there is now an interconnected superfluity of images, capable of simultaneously enveloping and further segmenting any possible interval of a day. Art, once delineated to studios for production and to controlled environments for preservation and reception, finds itself liberated, only to be subject to the comingled flows of content and time. Although there once was the hope that the global village would provide the conditions to transform each person into an artist who would see contemporaneity as a task or an environment to be discussed, to be analyzed, and to be coped with, increasingly, we find this work performed and prepackaged for us: the auxiliaries meant to allow us the tools to cope with the present algorithmically derive their means through the data from ourselves as well as the data from human and nonhuman others, placing us further under the gaze of power and perhaps further from the means to clarify the future. Coping becomes a hyper-individuated task: a task that approaches the apex of a drive towards what can be described as a bureaucratic and alienating specialization.

In its presentation of content by decentralized and reversible analogies, hypertext and its non-linear organization can be seen as indicative of this societal abandonment of culminating narratives. Content and this self-referential nature of its context have altered the ways in which artistic production occurs and is received. Cameras are omnipresent; their images are perpetually in post-production and often possess more apparent value in their metadata than in their content. Scroll bars and load times have supplanted past narrative structures, and with its schizophrenic switching between texts, images, and videos, the internet, at its utmost, has made the mind more malleable to erasure and new traces — the screen is a place for forgetting. Like the impossibility of imagining the platonic ideal of a photograph, the screen finds its definition in its capabilities as a displaying mechanism. The screen and its contents may gather attentions but remains a terminal locus.

Through itself and its architecture, the web uniformly characterizes digital content with the attributes of a performance: each act of downloading or streaming reawakens and performs the apparatuses, both technical and textual, that had laid behind the content’s initial production. With this performativity, screens lend themselves to the blending of manifest ephemerality with invisible permanence, despite these qualities’ diametric opposition. Though one often finds within digital content an appeal to difference within the quotidian, materially, what often occurs is a willingness to deny space in favor of digital content. Spaces, whether within an arts institution or not, begin to slowly transform in order to best invoke that private, half-dreaming denial found in the darkness of a cinema.

Digital memory’s infinite capacity for retention and invocation often leaves one with the feeling of cold feet, considering the oceanic dimensions of the concatenations, both material and immaterial, within this Borges-like archive of digital traces. As content has drastically changed, this context has accordingly resulted in a different impetus towards art curation and viewership. The role of the curator seems less a declaration of a definition of historicity or of belonging to a certain encompassing narrative than an assertion that nears breakage of this type of digital memory’s associative capacities: becoming less a gate and more of a node or transitory centering within the pareidolic fissures that this digital mentality creates. As it is now where the majority of monetary and bureaucratic transactions take place, the internet perhaps no longer possesses its former glean of subversion or utopic transformative visions, but, in the way that documentation generally precedes the presence of the object, the immateriality of the file could be said to possess more of “the real” than the material art object due to digital dissemination’s access and sometimes chaotic democratization.

In a gesture that can be seen as reactive to the general reticence to fully embrace this state of affairs, Daata Editions sees the fertile ground within this immaterial context. Daata is a simple solution, among an infinite number of possible solutions, to a difficult problem: how to promote the production of works that are made to exist for and accordance to the web. Placing artists at the center of its platform, Daata Editions shows how digital dissemination can be a sustainable distribution model for art. In a manner that echoes photographic editions or an artist book, the commissioning platform issues numbered editions of each new work for purchase, demonstrating an understanding of how artistic production can exist empowered rather than destabilized by its digital mass reproducibility and accessibility.

Daata’s curation promotes a certain type of work that considers how medium and content function within the web’s immediate and immaterial context. Typified by their employment of the vernaculars of the web, the works do not seek recourse in the label of art but are instead mindful of how one would produce works targeted to the multi-faceted audiences of the web where there is often the collapse in the distinction between producer and consumer. In a way, artistic work has already become part of the ceaseless flow of content found on any newsfeed. Through Daata, this form of work becomes viable. By allowing users to purchase art in the same way one can buy content from distributors like iTunes, Daata forgoes the model of a gallery in favor of a platform reminiscent of a digital auction to reflect the nuanced mentality of art viewership on the internet: one doesn’t stroll but scrolls.

Now in its second season, Daata Editions furthers its reach, commissioning new works by forty-two artists and expanding its collection to include a poetry tranche. In its navigation of market viability and discursive substance, Daata Editions continues to set new paths for the intersection of art and the web, promoting work that weaves this interstice into the flow of digital content.

Anton Haugen is a writer from Silicon Valley. His texts have frequently appeared in Rhizome and Arachne.

Michael Manning is represented by Gavlak Gallery

Daata at NADA

In bitforms, Daata, Daata Editions, daataeditions, David Gryn, Frieze, Frieze Art Fair, Jacolby Satterwhite, Jonathan Monaghan, Katie Torn, Michael Manning, New Art Dealers, New York, NewArtDealers, Quayola, Rashaad Newsome, Sara Ludy, Tracey Emin, Uncategorized on 01/05/2016 at 2:17 pm

Daata psoter for NADA

Daata Editions at NADA New York 2016

Daata Editions will launch Season Two with works by artists: Tracey Emin, Michael Manning, Rashaad Newsome, Jacolby Satterwhite, Katie Torn and bitforms gallery selected artists: Sara Ludy, Jonathan Monaghan, Quayola.

NADA New York
Opening Preview by Invitation:
Thursday, May 5, 12–4pm

Open to the Public:
Thursday, May 5, 4–8pm
Friday May 6, 11am–7pm
Saturday May 7, 11am–7pm
Sunday May 8, 11am–5pm

More info:

Artpsace preview



It’s Nice That – A Chat with Daata Editions

In Art Basel, artists, Daata Editions, daataeditions, David Gryn, digital art, Its Nice That, Jacolby Satterwhite, Jonathan Monaghan, Katie Torn, Michael Manning, Quayola, Sara Ludy, Uncategorized on 20/04/2016 at 10:18 pm
Katie Torn

The problems with digital art and why moving image is so important: a chat with Daata Editions

The problem with the relative newness of media like video, digital and internet art is that unlike a canvas or a sculpture, people can struggle with the ideas of how to show, sell and “own” them. In a culture where film, gifs and other forms of creative work are available online, everywhere, to many people the idea of what is and isn’t art, and how you own it, is confusing. While everyone accepts that video art and digital art are still valid and important media; there are few organisations making the leap into viewing them in the commercial art world in the same way we would more traditional formats.

Digital art platform Daata Editions is changing all that, having launched last year as a space to champion a curated selection of commissioned pieces by artists working in digital, sound, moving image and internet art. Its first season featured 18 artists, and each created six new works available to buy on the website in editions of 15. Among the artists featured in season one are Jon Rafman, David Blandy and Rachel Maclean. Daata Editions has just announced its second season, with work by Tracey Emin, Jake Chapman and Casey Jane Ellison. The works will be priced from $100 upwards (around £70), and can be bought from 5 May. To coincide with the launch, we spoke to Daata Editions’ director David Gryn about how the platform works, why we need it, and changing attitudes towards digital and moving image art.

Why did you decide to start Daata Editions?

I’ve been working with artist moving image for nearly 20 years, so I have an instinct of how the art world and audiences engage with it, and how the market works with it. I previously curated video for Art Basel Miami, working with the art fair about how galleries can work with moving image. People often don’t bring it to art fairs as it doesn’t sell well, so I tried to bring it to life. We wanted to encourage galleries into programming exceptional moving image artists as they’re part of the fabric of the contemporary art world; but it was never made a priority. I wanted to encourage other models and platforms for showing artist moving image.

Tameka Norris: did you like that

What are the problems with showing people art that lives online, in a world where we’re so surrounded by online images and audio, all the time?

We need to define art processes and work with artists who make art, not “content”. The web-based media want to serve a huge audience but it’s important to define that everything I do is about art and artists, not about wacky social media tropes. We’re empowering the artists, the audience and the collector to do what they do with this medium, and making sure it’s the artist we’re talking about rather than the great technical media we’re working with.

As technology evolves so rapidly, what are your feelings about the longevity of the work and the platform?

I don’t want to start guessing what the next 20 years will be like, but the better artists work with the greatest quality materials. Daata Editions is about looking at how to serve artists best and how to pay them, promote the work and make the business sustain itself. I wanted to create a model, not the model, and work with people trying to do the best of what they do.

Tracey Emin: I Can’t Love Anymore

How do you select the artists you work with?

I just filter things by instinct, we work with a few other people including writers and curators, but we hear about a lot of artists through other artists. The site has the rudiments of being a gallery but the boundaries of a website rather than a gallery wall, so the art has to work with that.

We choose things you think can engage an audience, but also someone with currency in the art world. We’re taking a risk with some artists, but some have that currency already. We’re trying to keep it as open as possible, and the relationships that work well have a very collaborative nature. It’s a pleasure to make the process happen and try to read the crystal ball of who’s going to be successful. We’re not trying to be purveyors of the future but we’re saying “this is a system we’re believing in and it’s working well.” It’s a medium we want to engage with more and more.

What are the practicalities of the site, in terms of payment, rights and ownership of the work?

We’ve tried to price everything flat, not according to the current market. The pieces are downloaded onto a screen of a platform of your choice, but anyone can see them free with a watermark. We felt we should allow the audience to see the whole thing, and the person who wants to own it gets the limited-edition number.

We’re trying to create something where people can see it and buy it in a way that artists get paid and the next round of commissioning happens. Its aims are about paying the artists and continuing the business.

Sara Ludy: Glass Dragons 2016
Davide Quayola: Pleasant Places
Jacolby Satterwhite: En Plein Air Abtraction
Jonathan Monaghan: bitforms Back To The Garden
Michael Manning: Chill Late Night Hang Out
Rashaad Newsome: Shade compositions 2012 remix

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