A Robot Art Curator? 机器人策展艺术?

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Curator Ben Russell poses with a robot called Cygan, built in 1957, at the Science Museum in London. Courtesy of Jack Taylor/Getty Images.


The announcement that the 10th edition of Bucharest Biennial in 2022 will be curated by a robot named robot named Jarvis received mix reactions from the art world. The evolution of AI has made possible for many industries to be more efficient in productions as machines are deemed to be more reliable when error is minimal to nill and can work much longer hours. Machines taking over some human jobs were expected. Today these innovations are no longer bound in factories but often found in the frontlines of service industries such as hospitality, F&B, medical and others. However it is rather difficult to comprehend how AI can take over an art curator’s job especially when this job demands multiple disciplines and compounded unique tasks.

According to IESA Arts & Culture, the job responsibilities of an art curator consists of the following,

  • Acquiring, collecting and cataloging works of art
  • Researching, writing articles and giving lectures
  • Negotiating the loans of items, organizing exhibitions, installing and writing documentation

And the skills and qualifications required are,

  • General knowledge of art and in depth specialist expertise in art history
  • Excellent relationship building skills to create partnership with art institutions, artists and collectors
  • Event management skill for organizing exhibitions, working with all actors involved in the project

It is quite clear that a curator’s job is not a single directional job. According to Spinnwerk founder Razvan Ion when talking to The Art Newspaper, Jarvis will be trained for two years curatorship training program “using materials from the world’s renowned MA’s of curating and contemporary art history from most respected universities” and then “ … select several participants/artists/creators for the biennial based on his knowledge”. If being a curator only needs to be like Jarvis, then any person good in data collection and analysis can apply to be a curator. Universities around the world must as well remove the art curatorial programs.

The skills, knowledge and experience needed to be involved in the art world are not just data collection and analysis. Before, a good scanner and printer could produce a piece of Picasso. Today, a robot with the right program can paint one a Picasso but still it is a programmed imitation piece. On the other hand, producing a robot to replace a curator is not possible at least for the next few years. The derivatives demanded especially from the human factors are almost impossible unless the robot is fitted with a human mind like Robocop.

The announcement of Jarvis was undoubtedly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic that has crippled the world. The art industry included had not been spared and this crisis pushed the arts and culture further into the digital and virtual world. The art world needs some fresh ideas fast to bring back the confidence of those supporting art in this new normal to survive. Whoever or whichever that come up with new concepts or innovations is definitely going to capture the market’s attention and lead the pack. Jarvis may not be the ideal curator but definitely one that falls into the art of marketing and branding.


根据巴黎高等艺术与文化学院(IESA Arts & Culture)的说法,
• 艺术策展人的工作职责包括:
• 艺术品的获取、收集和编排目录
• 相关研究、撰写文章、演讲
• 洽谈物品租借、组织展览、安装和书写文献

• 具有普遍的艺术知识和更深入的艺术史专业知识
• 建立关系的卓越技能,可以和艺术机构、艺术家和收藏家创建良好伙伴关系
• 拥有组织展览的活动管理技能,与所有参与项目的活动者合作

显然,策展人的职务并非单一方向的工作。Spinnwerk创始人Razvan Ion在接受《艺术新闻报》采访时表示,Jarvis将接受为期两年的策展培训。“使用来自全球最有名望的大学策展硕士和当代艺术史的材料。”然后,“…根据他的认知基础选择双年展的数名参与者,艺术家和创作者。”不过,如果担任策展人只需要像Jarvis那样,任何擅长数据收集和分析者皆可成为策展人。世界各地的大学也必须取消艺术策展的课程。


Javis的宣告诞生无疑是受到令整个世界运行瘫痪的Covid-19大流行病的影响。艺术行业在疫情中也难逃劫难,这个危机将艺术和文化进一步推向了数字和虚拟世界。艺术界则需要尽快地提出一些新颖的想法,恢复艺术支持者在新常态下生存的信心。提出新概念或创新的任何一方,肯定会吸引市场的注意力并引领潮流。 Jarvis可能并非传统意义上的理想策展人,但绝对是倾向市场营销和品牌艺术的策展人。

Image(s) courtesy of thestar.com.my