Guest editor: Annet Dekker
Deadline: 5 September 2024
Published: April 2025

We are excited to present our open call for the first issue of 2025 called ‘Online Curating’ guest edited by dr. Annet Dekker.

Online curating challenges traditional models and methods for presenting, accessing and distributing art in relation to the use of space (from white cubes to online spaces) and collaboration (from the expert curator or artist to technology and users).[1] Whereas online exhibitions were perhaps something of a novelty at the time, in the last fifteen years online exhibitions are participating in a wider info-technical development that has and is impacting multiple areas of society and culture, and thus they have become relevant and of interest to people far beyond the various insider circles.[2] In the ongoing exploration of aesthetics, space, time and narrative are frequently discussed topics in exhibition design and curating, in which the relationality and processuality are often emphasised.[3] How is this conceptual triangle shaped in the web? – Yehwan Song, From Here to There, 2022.

In potential, online space can be continuously refigured; despite it often being treated as a skeuomorphic of offline gallery spaces or archival databases.[4] Similarly, networked machine time is a complex assemblage in which computer-based times and the traces of human intervention become entangled.[5] This entanglement generates the potentially unlimited experiences of temporality without a clear trajectory, either in the past or towards the future. While the unstable qualities of space and time problematise narrative as an expanding space in which ideas unfold through time is discussed in physical exhibition studies, online exhibitions and their curatorial challenges are not taken into account in these debates.[6] Moreover, while physical exhibitions are acknowledged as being tightly intertwined with the processes of historiography, the question of what exhibition history means on the web is not yet analysed. Partly due to the fleeting nature of the events, and the notion of ‘curating in the wild’ that indicates how online curation has become a mix of machine leaning and human curation: both operate in an unwieldly, unregulated and unpredictable space, a sense of historical amnesia has been plaguing the development of a discourse of online curating.[7] Hence the study of what online exhibition history as a practice and method entail remains largely underdiscussed. – UBERMORGEN, Leonardo Impett, Joasia Krysa, The Next Biennial Should Be Curated by a Machine, 2021.

In this issue, we aim to reflect on the field of online curating, examining how exhibitions are created and presented by curators, artists, and other professionals. We will explore the influence of computational devices and online platforms on exhibition spaces and the art represented. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for grasping the future and past of online art exhibitions. Speculatively, this issue will focus on the future of online curating as well as how such online experiments might influence offline exhibition making and curatorial strategies more generally.

We seek contributions that investigate the interdependency of curatorial praxis and the socio-technical space of the web. Subsequently, we are looking for analyses of how the diversification of curating practices impacts the value and experience of exhibitions. How does this affect the traditional authority of institutions and their curatorial agency? How might it influence the historical relevance or cultural memory of online exhibitions? Finally, we are particularly interested in contributions that explore how conventional institutions are developing new ways of sharing curatorial authority, with users and technology, thereby empowering users to produce new content and value. – Madja Edelstein-Gomez, The Recombinants, 2017-20.

Contributions may focus on but are not limited to the following (combination of) topics:

CONCEPTUAL CHANGES: What happens when thinking about curating in a technical environment beyond the established paradigms of curating exhibitions, events or curating as research? How to write a history of online exhibitions/curating when their context is challenged by quickly changing socio-technical circumstances?

METHODS: How is curating done, produced, presented, distributed, valued and collected by the institutions, the general audience and/or through socio-technical apparatus and commercial platforms? How to curate art and events that are themselves a variable or of a changing nature, in which the curating blurs the acts of cultural production, presentation, distribution, and consumption? What are the ethics of curating online?

INSTITUTIONAL: 2020 was a turning point in the way museums communicated with their audiences, forced to close the physical buildings, online tours of the exhibitions and live streaming of events took over. What was learned from the curatorial practices that happened outside the confines of the institutional? While designing their virtual galleries, developing 3D scanned artifacts and opening their social media platforms, how have institutions appropriated technologies and methods for sharing and curating exhibitions to improve the quality of remote experience? Or, have they been rehashing conventional methods? In other words, how is online curating treated or situated within the institution? Moreover, how are these online events kept and collected to serve future memories?

VALUES: How does curating online affect the value of the cultural production and experiences that are curated and what are the consequences for the policies of institutions of cultural memory? How does curating broaden the field of the curatorial as an aesthetic or historical form or as a strategy that is now propelled by commercial devices and/or platforms? What happens to the value of exhibitions and the art presented when institutions are no longer fully in control, a situation in which visitors, together with global commercial technology firms and platforms, become important stakeholders in the curation of exhibitions/art and the building of future cultural memories? In other words, how to think about value apart from aesthetic or historical values of art and exhibition in favour of public cultural value, shared or socio-technical value?

[1] Dekker 2024.
[2] Goriunova 2013; Tyżlik-Carver 2016; Ghidini 2019.
[3] Von Bismarck et al. 2014.
[4] Dekker 2021.
[5] Mackenzie 2007.
[6] Den Oudsten 2011; Von Bismarck et al 2012; Von Bismarck 2019 et al.
[7] Connor 2020; Sluis et al. Forthcoming.


We invite scholars, artists, practitioners from various disciplinary backgrounds and from all stages in their academic, creative, professional or resistance practice to elaborate on the issues raised and submit a proposal for essays, interviews, poems and other poetic and experimental texts, prose, playlists, and visual works.

Proposals (200-300 words) with attached résumés and related image material can be sent to by no later than September 5, 2024. Selected contributors will be notified shortly thereafter and invited to write a 2,500/3,000-word essay (excluding (foot)notes), or to submit an artistic contribution.

Please note: Contributors who publish in Kunstlicht will receive two complimentary copies. Kunstlicht is a volunteer-run academic journal and is unable to provide an author’s honorarium. Three years following publication, essay contributions will be uploaded to the freely accessible online archive.


Annet Dekker is a curator and researcher. Currently she is Associate Professor Archival and Information Studies, and Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor and co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University. She has published numerous essays and edited several volumes, among others, Documentation as Art (co-edited with Gabriella Giannachi, Routledge 2022) and Curating Digital Art. From Presenting and Collecting Digital Art to Networked Co-Curating (Valiz 2021). Her monograph, Collecting and Conserving Net Art (Routledge 2018) is a seminal work in the field of digital art conservation.



Connor, Michael. 2020. “Curating Online Exhibitions”. Rhizome. 13 May,

Dekker, Annet. “Non-Institutional Contexts and Museum Challenges.” In The Encyclopedia of New Media Art, Vol. 3, edited by Vince Dzieken and Anna Munster. Bloomsbury, 2024.

Dekker, Annet, ed. Curating Digital Art. From Presenting and Collecting Digital Art to Networked Co-curation. Amsterdam: Valiz, 2021.

Ghidini, Marialaura. “Curating on the Web: The Evolution of Platforms as Spaces for Producing and Disseminating Web-Based Art.” Arts, Vol. 8, Issue 3 (2019):

Goriunova, Olga. 2013. “Light Heavy Weight Curating”. In Speculative Scenarios: Or What Will Happen to Digital Art in the (near) Future?, edited by Annet Dekker. Eindhoven: Baltan Laboratories, pp. 25–32.

Mackenzie, Adrian. “Protocols and the Irreducible Traces of Embodiment: The Viterbi Algorithm and the Mosaic of Machine Time”. In 24/7. Time and Temporality in the Network Society, edited by Robert Hassan and Ronald E. Purser (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007), 89–105.

Oudsten, Frank den. 2011. space.time.narrative. The exhibition as post-spectacular stage. London: Ashgate.

Sluis, Katrina, Nicolas Malevé and Gaia Tedone. 2024, forthcoming. “Curating in the Wild: Taming the indeterminacy of the networked image”. In Curating Superintelligences: Speculations on the Future of Curating, AI and Hybrid Realities, Data Browser 10, edited by Joasia Krysia and Magda Tyzlik-Carver. London: Open Humanities Press

Tyżlik-Carver, Magda. “Curating in/as Commons. Posthuman Curating and Computational Cultures,” (Ph.D. diss., Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, 2016).

Von Bismarck, Beatrice, Joern Schafa, and Thomas Weski, eds. 2012. Cultures of the Curatorial. Berlin: Sternberg Press.

Von Bismarck, Beatrice, Rike Frank, Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer, Jörn Schafaff, Thomas Weski, eds. 2014. Timing On the Temporal Dimension of Exhibiting. London: Stenberg Press.

Von Bismarck, Beatrice and Rike Frank, eds. 2019. Of(f) Our Times. Curatorial Anachronics. London: Stenberg Press.