Editorial project: Approximating

Approximating was officially launched Saturday, April 26, 2014. Hyphen is one of the contributor for this editorial project. The following content acts as introduction for Approximating, please refer to Disc Lab for updates.


“It ‘folds the critical into the networked mode itself’ and speculates the exactness and completeness of the digital driven world, in order to allow and resist its porosities and outgrowths.”

APPROXIMATING IS AN EDITORIAL PROJECT that attempts to come closer to art that are generated, dispersed, circulated, and consumed on the Internet. It aims to establish a sense of “nearness” and/or “closeness” to art experienced through various online platforms and networks.Approximating hopes to engage in a situation where articulations are framed with a seemingly incomplete perspective, by virtue of their spatial detachment from their regular settings (i.e. museums, galleries, biennales, parks). While it moves in an arena of existing social, political, and economic predicaments, the project gathers reflections, speculations, and theoretical propositions about art that circulates in the domain of the web.

Approximating links multiple forms of references generated by a network of four research organizations across Asia, ironically coordinated by their will to share experiences within the computational network of the Internet. Here, the project resembles Geert Lovink’s call to “fold the critical into the networked mode itself,” but it also postpones an action towards what he proposes as “change in architecture.”

While it refuses to produce re/solutions to aggregating issues of the digital and virtual, Approximating becomes an agency of delay, a thickening suspension that can temporarily be stuck in the accelerating flow of information. Approximating’s pause can be a position where it takes the network it perceives to as a horizon, where participants could ask questions, such as: What does it mean to bring these references together? How do we play or contest the expectations of/to our ‘territories’ and belonging under this network? What ways of engagement and methods of analyzing and speaking are formed and contested, as we subject ourselves to the hysteria of images while also taking them as the objects of engagement? What forms of relationship to a problem/to images are forged?

Approximating takes the opportunity of collaboration as a site to gather preliminary notes and to explore methodologies that can eventually translate into a constellation of impulses and engagement. It thus, speculates the exactness and completeness of the digital driven world, in order to allow and resist its porosities and outgrowths.

Project details
Each iteration of Approximating will work on and around a thesis/framework that is pursued by—in a broad sense—an intention to “come closer” to art or conditions of art, and/or to establish a sense or form of “nearness” or “closeness” to art encountered and experienced online. Contributions are not limited to essays; they may take various formats, such as interviews, conversations, photo or video essays, and other forms of writing. Approximating will appear on DiscLab’s website every month until December 2014.

About the team
Art Barricade
sees itself as a platform of thinking around contemporary culture, with an intention to assemble diverse sites of artistic practice and discursive engagements from India and elsewhere. Art Barricade was founded as part of the SARAI READER 09 – THE EXHIBITION at the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India. www.artbarricade.org

Hyphen started in the beginning of 2011 as a closed-door discussion group between Grace Samboh, Pitra Hutomo and Ratna Mufida. In general, the group seeks to sew bits by bits of the fragmented Indonesian art history. A number of interests throughout the discussions are rooted into one stance: (re)reading Indonesian contemporary arts practice and putting it into its own historical context. Hyphen is now an office for arts’ research and development. www.hyphen.web.id

Founded by Laura Brown and Tess Maunder, The Maximilian is an online journal launched in Australia, publishing issues on the situation of Australian art and exhibition making today, whilst looking back to key moments in pertinent exhibition history. In a format that continues to shift, The Maximilian hopes to exploit the online space as an evolving site for serious and critical engagement from both readers and writers alike. www.themaximilian.com

Text by Renan Laru-an and Srinivas Aditya Mopidevi; Images by Jan Pineda

Visibility – to whom it may concern” by Pitra Hutomo

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