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2020 – Finally Digital?!

Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt (US), Renger van Den Heuvel (NL), Sabine Himmelsbach (DE/CH), Nanne Dekking (US/DE), Alain Servais (BE), Paul Frey (AT), Alfred Weidinger (AT), Casey Reas (US), Kate Hollenbach (US), JiaJia Fei (US), Raina Mehler (US), Magda Sawon (US), Sharon De Mattia (US) and Thomas Kohler (DE)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 12:30 pm - 3:55 pm
All times are given in Central European Summer Time (CEST / UTC +2).
Ars Electronica New World Channel, 10.09., 12:30 - 15:55
Ars Electronica Gardens Channel, 12.09., 4:00 - 6:30

curated by Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt (DE), Renger van den Heuvel (NL)

2020 started with a bang that made the art industry pivot away from its established codes of conduct almost overnight for sheer survival. From the exchange of courtesies to remote work structures, old customs required immediate redesign in response to the crisis. As a result, the online space gained even more significance as the only platform for business and commercial transactions, affecting even the art industry and its age-old reliance on in-person interaction.

However, across the art industry’s network of galleries, artists, institutions, auction houses, and biennials, the speed of adaptation and ability to process the ongoing iterations in order to find a customized response has varied dramatically.

The conference will feature notable members of the art industry and their assessments of the art world’s digitization progress over the past year.

Curators: Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt (US), Renger van Den Heuvel (NL)
Speakers: Sabine Himmelsbach (DE/CH), Nanne Dekking (US/DE), Alain Servais (BE), Paul Frey (AT), Alfred Weidinger (AT), Casey Reas (US), Kate Hollenbach (US), JiaJia Fei (US), Raina Mehler (US), Magda Sawon (US), Sharon De Mattia (US), Thomas Kohler (DE)

Conversation with JiaJia Fei

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Conversation with Alain Servais & Nanne Dekking

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Conversation with Sabine Himmelsbach

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Conversation with Paul Frey & Alfred Weidinger

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Conversation with Magda Sawon

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Conversation with Raina Mehler

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Conversation with Kate Hollenbach

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Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt (DE/US):
Steinbrecher-Pfandt is an expert on the blockchain application in the art markets and contemporary art of the Central and Eastern European region. Working as executive director in the art fair circuit for ten years, as well as simultaneously curating exhibitions acquired extensive knowledge in her field.

Renger van Den Heuvel (NL/AT):
Van den Heuvel acted as managing director of the international art fair in Vienna from 2012 till 2019 (VIENNAFAIR / viennacontemporary). He holds a degree in Dutch Law (copyright on software). Furthermore he is an independent filmmaker who studied at Schule Friedl Kubelka für unabhängigen Film in Vienna.

Credit: Christian Knoerr

Sabine Himmelsbach (DE/CH):
Since 2012, Sabine Himmelsbach is the director of HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel). After studying art history in Munich she worked for galleries in Munich and Vienna from 1993–1996 and later became project manager for exhibitions and conferences for the Steirischer Herbst Festival in Graz, Austria. In 1999 she became exhibition director at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. From 2005–2011 she was the artistic director of the Edith-Russ-House for Media Art in Oldenburg, Germany. Her exhibition projects include ‘Fast Forward’ (2003); ‘Coolhunters’ (2004); ‘Ecomedia’ (2007); ‘MyWar’ (2010) and ‘Culture(s) of Copy’ (2011). 2011 she curated ‘gateways. Art and Networked Culture’ for the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn as part of the European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011 program. Her exhibitions at HeK in Basel include ‘Sensing Place’ (2012), ‘Ryoji Ikeda’ (2014), ‘Poetics and Politics of Data’ (2015), ‘Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Preabsence’ (2016), ‘Lynn Hershman Leeson: Anti-Bodies’, ‘Eco-Visionaries’ (2018), ‘Entangled Realities. Living with Artificial Intelligence’ (2019) and ‘Real Feelings. Emotion and Technology’ (2020). As a writer and lecturer she is dedicated to topics related to media art and digital culture.

Credit: Anne Timur

Nanne Dekking (US/DE):
Nanne is the Founder and CEO of Artory, New York/Berlin and former Chairman of the Board of TEFAF. Artory’s core product, the Artory Registry, is a secure, digital registry of verified information about artworks and collectibles, and their history. Artory builds an additional layer of trust into the art market that is already the norm when purchasing other valuable items—houses, cars, jewelry, or even computer software. Nanne is an eloquent advocate for change in the international art market. Prior to founding Artory, he was Sotheby’s Vice Chairman and Worldwide Head of Private Sales. Before joining Sotheby’s, he was Vice President of Wildenstein & Co., one of the world’s leading art dealers, where he advised individuals, museums, and foundations on the formation and development of their collections. Nanne was the founder and principal of Nanne Dekking Fine Arts, an art consultancy firm and gallery in New York. He is the current Chairman of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF). After graduating from the University of Amsterdam he held numerous distinguished positions in The Netherlands, including Deputy Administrative Director of the Dutch National Ballet. He started his career as Assistant Curator of the Historical Collections of HM The Queen of The Netherlands.

Alain Servais (BE):
Born 56 years ago (October 18th 1963)
Master in Applied Economics at the Louvain School of Management
Head of International Bond Trading at the private Banque Dewaay in Brussels
Outside Independent consultant for banks in the management of Asset-Backed Securities.
Member of the Advisory Board of Niio, The Home for New Media Art
Passionate and committed Contemporary Art collector, member of numerous art juries and collectors’ committees among which the Art Basel’s Council of Global Patrons. Also selected by Artnet in their list of Top 200 Art Collectors Worldwide for 2014&2015 also selected by Blouinartinfo in their list of The 50 Most Exciting Art Collectors Under 50. Founder of “the Loft”, the 900m² exhibition space of the Family Servais collection in Brussels which includes an artists’ residency
Avid “information-sharer” via twitter (@aservais1) and email blog

Paul Frey (AT):
Paul Frey was born in 1974 in Vienna where he studied Law from 1992-1999 (Masters: 1997, PhD 1999). After Civil Service and a traineeship at the Austrian courts he worked at an auditing and tax consultancy company and as Assistant to the board at Anker Versicherung. From 2002 till 2005 he was in charge of the legal department and acted with procuration at the Österreichischen Postbus, were he acted as CEO as of 2005. Since 2007 Paul Frey is CFO for the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.

Alfred Weidinger (AT):
Alfred Weidinger, born 1961, studied art history and classical archaeology at the University of Salzburg. Since April 2020 he has been managing director of OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH. Before that, as director of the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, he focused his research and exhibition activities on East German art. In 2007 he joined the Belvedere in Vienna as Chief Curator and Deputy Director, having previously worked as Deputy Director for the Albertina. His research focuses on classical modern and contemporary photography and media art.

Kate Hollebach (US):
Kate Hollenbach is an artist and educator based in Denver, Colorado, US. She creates video and interactive works examining critical issues in user interface and user experience design. Her work has been shown in venues across the United States, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Kate holds an MFA from UCLA Design Media Arts and a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT. She is an Assistant Professor of Emergent Digital Practices at University of Denver.

JiaJia Fei (US):
JiaJia Fei is a digital strategist with over a decade of experience working at cultural institutions, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Jewish Museum in New York. As founder of the first digital agency for art, her new practice is centered around the mission of making art more accessible through technology. JiaJia received her BA in History of Art from Bryn Mawr College, and has lectured on the impact of art and technology worldwide.

Raina Mehler (US):
Raina is the Director of Media Arts and an emerging authority in the pioneering field of immersive, time-based art. She speaks widely on the topic and has been published in the Australian Registrar Journal, Sculpture Magazine, and online blogs. While working at Pace Gallery for 8 years, she primarily worked with interdisciplinary art groups and artists who utilize analog and digital technologies as their primary medium. At Superblue, Raina will be overseeing the artwork installations at the Experiential Art Centers (EAC) and managing the artwork inventory.

Magda Sawon (US):
Born in Warsaw Poland, 1955 Masters Degree in Art History, Warsaw University.
Lives and works in United States since 1981
Co-founder and co-director of Postmasters Gallery in New York City, where she organized over 350 exhibitions.
Postmasters Gallery opened in East Village in December 1984, moved to Soho in 1989 and – in 1998 – to Chelsea for 15 years. Presently Postmasters occupies a large two-exhibitions venue in Tribeca.

Postmasters is showing young and established artists of all media actively seeking new forms of creative expression and showing them in a context of painting, sculpture and photography. Postmasters is widely considered a pioneer of new media art which began with – now seminal – exhibition “Can you Digit?” in 1996. The artworks are generally content oriented, conceptually based, and – most importantly – reflect engagement in issues of our time.
Extensive archives of all exhibitions since 1999 are maintained online.

Sawon also works as an independent curator, lecturer, and consultant. She served on the board of Rhizome, a digital arts organization, now affiliated with the New Museum and is a founding member of SEVEN (2010-2016) a collaborative alternative to an art fair model. Among others, her outside curatorial projects include large scale exhibition of new media works “The future is not what it used to be” in the Center for Contemporary Art – Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw Poland (2011). Most recently she autored an opinion essay for artneon the galleries survival during CoVID-19 pandemic

Casey Reas (US):
Reas’ software, prints, and installations have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His work ranges from small works on paper to urban-scale installations, and he balances solo work in the studio with collaborations with architects and musicians. Reas’ work is in a range of private and public collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Reas is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Media Arts and Sciences and a bachelor’s degree from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. With Ben Fry, Reas initiated Processing in 2001; Processing is an open-source programming language and environment for the visual arts.

Sharon De Mattia (US) and Thomas Kohler (DE):

Thomas Kohler, Co-Founder, Producer
Past experiences include start-ups & non-profits. Now running art consultancy focused on immersive art events, socializing art with non-traditional concepts

Sharon DeMattia, Artist, Co-Founder
Sharon is a “Artist/Scientist”, Masters Degree in Kinesiology & Applied Physiology. Founder “AIM Project” 2013, global art initiative creating anonymous self-portraits of inner dialogues. Created “WE. the people art installation” Burning Man 2019