edited by Carlos Cardenas, Vincent Justin, Marie Maertens – Collect Digital Video Art


Les presses du réel, ISBN-13: 978-2955226704, English, French, 208 pages, 2015, France

How can we define the collection of “contemporary art” if the latter doesn’t engage with digital technologies? This was the topic of a panel hosted by Rhizome in 2013, but it essentially describes a paradox we have been living with for several years: the contemporary art world is still allergic to including ephemeral digital artworks in its rock solid market economy. This text engages mostly with the territory of “digital video,” which is a liminal one, as on one hand it is something the art market is familiar with, but on the other its digital nature has implications that corrupt this familiarity in the attempt to handle works as “objects”. So the value of this book is as a systematic and well-informed text for video collectors, but also indirectly as necessary reading for artists and gallerists to understand real world figures, dynamics and possibly sketch successful strategies, bringing first-hand information that can’t just be “googled.” The result of conversations with experts, it examines works by renowned artists like Cory Arcangel and Bill Viola, tracking their evaluation and sales. It also describe how galleries in Europe and US, for example, are coping with new rapidly forming interests in different boom countries around the world. The text can be revealing for different reasons for different people involved in the art market, but its success lies in triggering a double positive effect: rising awareness in digital artists and offering a grounded perspective to gallerists and curious collectors.