Tempus Fugit. It doesn’t matter if you are having fun or not- time flies. Luckily, we have. Five years of exhibitions, reviewed in almost every national media, UK press, and international media like Frieze magazine, TIME magazine, WIRED and more. Pretty impressive for an artist-founded institute that has been virtually independent of any external funding from the very beginning.
At that beginning, in a freezing re-purposed warehouse on the edge of Dublin, a handful of artists decided to do something about the lack of institutional support we saw at the time for emergent, experimental, electronic and digital art practices- truly contemporary, current work and research. Rather than sit and wait for funding before we launched something, we decided to jump in the deep end and start kicking around, and let our output be our defence. I think this is very much a shared ethos of DIY and hacker artists, and most media artists in general. It is the sense of play. We have been extremely fortunate to work with an amazing assortment of artists and curators, and the variety of exhibitions and events we have supported and hosted has broadened. This anniversary is an opportunity to rededicate and re-commit to our original vision, passion and objectives.
Museum: via Latin, from Greek mouseion- ‘temple of the Muses.’ Muses, of course, those fickle divinities offering inspiration and creativity. But a museum is not just a building. As an institution, a museum is the executor of that purpose, and to do so, it typically fulfils three main functions: education, collection and exhibition. That is not an exhaustive list, nor are the same priorities held by all museums. As well, the manner in which a museum might execute its functions has been affected by the continued evolution of information technology, as described on Wikipedia:
The continuing acceleration in the digitization of information, combined with the increasing capacity of digital information storage, is causing the traditional model of museums (i.e. as static “collections of collections” …) to expand to include virtual exhibits and high-resolution images of their collections…
Though our permanent collection of three-dimensional objects is constantly growing, it is modest; our governing opinion is that, for digital, online and electronic art, documentation is more relevant and appropriate than collection. And as the Wiki quote above notes, we are not the only ones exploring, if not embracing, this shift- consider the exceptional tank.tv online museum.
Our priority has been, and will continue to be, Education [and, by extension or under that aegis, Exhibition]. Whether it is casual or formal, whether it is education about or education by making. To that end, we are very pleased to announce the following developments as part of our five-year celebration in 2012:
Our small team have all worn multiple hats, out of necessity more than desire, and from the beginning we felt it would be truer to our ethos to have new curatorial practices continually introduced, rather than a tenured position. It is always bittersweet to let a project grow up and out from beyond your immediate control, but we are extremely excited, and honoured, to announce Nora O’Murchu as our first Curator-in-Residence. Having recently finished her PhD at the Interaction Design Centre in the University of Limerick, Nora is perhaps most renowned for her amazing and exhaustive efforts at realizing the TWEAK! festival. The exhibitions in her series of events for IMOCA will explore themes of immateriality, agency, code aesthetic and identity- discover more about Nora and her curation.
Secondly, we could not possibly be more grateful to our sponsors- without doubt and without exaggeration, we would not exist without their support over the past five years, most notably Moxie Studios, who have so graciously housed the majority of our exhibitions. However, in order to accommodate both exhibition space for our scheduled platform of events, as well as production / research space, we are pleased to announce that IMOCA will finally be taking on its first fully independent facility- the first of several. We are actively and aggressively pursuing an exhibition strategy that will integrate IMOCA into the community fabric of Dublin [and perhaps beyond]. Again, having smaller, multiple galleries throughout the city is not a unique practice for a museum, but we feel it is the most appropriate. To that end, we humbly announce the opening of steambox, our first arts research centre. We have several developing collaborations with other institutes that it would be premature to announce at this point, but they will hopefully roll out this year and be housed in Steambox. Our inaugural exhibition will be by our fourth annual Graduate Residency Award winner.
Thirdly, we are extremely excited to announce the launch of our own publishing imprint for IMOCA. The flagship book, quite appropriately, will be a full-colour retrospective of the past five years of exhibitions and shows, with critical and anecdotal texts from the curators and artists involved. More than just a compendium of exhibition reviews, it promises to be an entertaining and insightful exposition into the birth and development of an institute that encompasses a critical span in painfully recent history, 2008-2012. This will launch our series of yearbooks, which will be an illuminated collection of the catalogues, critiques and chatter related to the exhibitions of that year. We hope this publishing arm grows organically to include independent releases for various projects, artists and art practices.
Time flies. It’s been a tumultuous, frustrating, illuminating, exciting, challenging, invigorating five years. In short- it’s been educational.
Kay Bear Koss, Director