In late May 2015, 300 art critics, bloggers, journalists, artists, publishers, and art enthusiasts will convene in Minneapolis for Superscript: Arts Journalism & Criticism in a Digital Age, a conference presented by the Walker and Mn Artists. As an institution heralded for its publishing efforts—from exhibition catalogues to our virtual Living Collections Catalogue, the regional arts site Mn Artists to the editorially focused Walker homepage—the Walker is creating this gathering as a forum to consider the current challenges and possible futures for online arts publishing.
In planning a gathering explicitly about the Internet, we've been grappling with a question: how can we prize our audiences—both onsite and online—so that we create both a dynamic, engaging, and important conference and a robust, accessible, ongoing discussion for audiences online? In short, how can Superscript transcend its “conferenceness” to become something more? And what if we conceive that "more" as part of a broader publishing endeavor?
For an MCN case study, I’d like to present the results of our efforts, including: * Live webstreaming of all conference events, plus searchable video archive of events following the conference. * Responsive blogging: the Superscript Blog Mentorship program, presented in partnership with Hyperallergic, will feature three emerging bloggers, selected from an open call, who’ll create live reports on Superscript—from conference proceedings to interviews with speakers or attendees, commentary from attendees to issues pieces inspired by conference presenters. Guided by three professional editors, bloggers will create posts for publication on the Walker blogs and at Mn Artists, and each writer will create an in-depth piece for publication on Hyperallergic. * Twitter Q&A: whether on-site or online, audience members can participate in dialogue with presenters through Twitter. * Live stenography: For journalists and the hearing impaired, a stenographer will record the entirety of the conference in an ever-changing live document. * Virtual/actual film premiere: Walker-commissioned short films by artists Moyra Davey and Jim Richards will see their world premieres at Superscript, with synched screenings in the Walker Cinema and online on the Walker Channel, as well as a live Q&A with the artists. * Open Facebook group: We’re running an open group, both as a platform conference attendees can use to familiarize themselves with each other and with Superscript’s ideas, and as a way to invite interested non-attendees into an ongoing conversation about the present challenges and possible futures for digital arts journalism and criticism. We hope the page will live beyond the conference as a locus of thinking (and linking) about how the Internet is changing the ways we view, understand, report on, and critique the arts. * Superscript Reader: We’ve commissioned a diverse array of writers and thinkers to create 10 online essays on themes related to the conference, but featuring ideas not represented on stage. Topics range from the democratizing effects of the Internet for critics of color and the how Instagram affects architectural tourism to ways artists are using digital space to redraw a geography of the cultural center. The aim is to have a richer, more accessible discussion for online audiences, unique from but complementing that which we’ll host during the conference’s three days in May—not to mention free for anyone with Internet access.