An Eksperimenta! Moment

Joanna Black & Miriam Cooley at CWSE

by Hilda Hashimoto

On January 18, 2012, WIA Projects held a seminar on curatorial collaboration in which curators and art educators Miriam Cooley and Joanna Black discussed their role as Canadian curators in the international exhibition Eksperimenta! held in Estonia, 2011. Contrary to the myth that an artist works alone and, creatively in isolation, fashions an individualistic work of art untainted by others and belongs to him or her alone, the execution and presentation of art needs more than just the artist. Curators and other collaborators, specific to an exhibition, are responsible for developing and presenting the display; providing information on the art and artists; and developing and shaping the concepts the curator, artist, and institution wish to convey. Estonia was chosen as the location for Eksperimenta! which is quite a distance to transport art and artists. The distance alone caused a strain due to the inadequate Canadian funding for this art project. Miriam Cooley and Joanna Black acknowledged this fact and together with creativity and innovation sought  a solution - to exhibit mainly digital Canadian art. For those who did not attend this seminar, Ekperimenta! is the first international exhibition that welcomed art from high school students all over the world. The theme was space. The innovated choice of Miriam Cooley and Joanna Black to choose new media works served to strengthen Canada's identity on the international art stage. Not only was Canada the only North American country to participate in this event, Canada was also the only country who chose to use digital art as their medium for the delivery of the aesthetics and concepts surrounding space. The use of digital art made viewers aware of how the arts are critical to education in general. Students learn about technology and even acquire more complex understanding of international relations and national institutions. This medium also reflected how the idea of space has changed with technology - objects, people, ideas are now easily portable, saved on a small CD, USB, or DVD. The Canadian Exposition at Eksperiment! was the result of effort made by curators, teachers, and student artists. The result reinforced Canada's identity in the international art world as visionary, imaginative, and inspiring.

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