(Un)filtered Scenarios is an experiment investigating an open curatorial process through the dynamics of net-based distribution. The web enables different modes of collective articulation and organisation, including – perhaps – curatorial selection. We want to test this possibility by breaking with the idea of lone curatorial authorship in order to engage in an act of collective curation. Through a ‘chain letter’ email, individuals are invited to participate in the selection of photographs for an online exhibition from an open call organised by Der Greif, to which more than 1500 images were submitted. The email was sent initially to four people, each of whom was asked to make a selection and then forward the email to two further participants. The process is both random and risky – will the would-be curators respond?
The selected images are displayed in an online exhibition on situations.dergreif-online.de. The process is anonymous, but participants are asked to provide basic data, like gender, age or occupation. They are also asked to say why they chose a particular image. The filters are visualised as charts and maps in Fotomuseum’s exhibition space, and presented together with the statements that are transformed into an audio piece. The installation displays the personal, possibly structural narratives that unfold around distributed image selection, providing a kind of cognitive map of the process.
(Un)filtered Scenarios offers a playful challenge to traditional modes of top-down curation, simultaneously unleashing the networked creativity of the web. If the idea of the lone curator is significantly a myth, does a more randomly filtered curatorial chain offer a viable alternative?