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Superscript Conference Transcript: James Bridle Keynote

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the keynote by UK-based artist, publisher, and writer […]

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James Bridle. Photo: Paul Schmelzer

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the keynote by UK-based artist, publisher, and writer James Bridle.

Download a PDF of the full conference transcript. To view videos of all Superscript panels and keynotes, or to read commissioned essays and live blogging by participants in the Superscript Blog Mentorship program (a partnership with Hyperallergic), visit the Superscript Reader. To report errors in this document, email superscript@walkerart.org.

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Superscript Conference Transcript: Ben Davis Keynote

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of critic Ben Davis’s keynote on “post-descriptive criticism.” Download […]

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Ben Davis. Photo: Paul Schmelzer

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of critic Ben Davis’s keynote on “post-descriptive criticism.”

Download a PDF of the full conference transcript. To view videos of all Superscript panels and keynotes, or to read commissioned essays and live blogging by participants in the Superscript Blog Mentorship program (a partnership with Hyperallergic), visit the Superscript Reader. To report errors in this document, email superscript@walkerart.org.

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Superscript Conference Transcript: Credibility, Criticism, Collusion

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the conference-opening panel, Credibility, Criticism, Collusion, featuring short […]

Christopher Knight, Ryan Schreiber, Isaac Fitzgerald, Orit Gat

Christopher Knight, Ryan Schreiber, Isaac Fitzgerald, Orit Gat

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the conference-opening panel, Credibility, Criticism, Collusion, featuring short presentations followed by a group discussion with panelists Ryan Schreiber (Pitchfork), Orit Gat (WdW Review),  Christopher Knight (Los Angeles Times), and Issac Fitzgerald (Buzzfeed Books).

Download a PDF of the full conference transcript. To view videos of all Superscript panels and keynotes, or to read commissioned essays and live blogging by participants in the Superscript Blog Mentorship program (a partnership with Hyperallergic), visit the Superscript Reader. To report errors in this document, email superscript@walkerart.org.

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Superscript Conference Transcript: Sustainability, Growth, & Ethics

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the Sustainability, Growth and Ethics panel, featuring short […]

Susanna Schouweiler, Eugenia Bell, James McAnally, Carolina Miranda, Veken Gueyikian

Susanna Schouweiler, Eugenia Bell, James McAnally, Carolina Miranda, Veken Gueyikian

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the Sustainability, Growth and Ethics panel, featuring short presentations followed by a group discussion with panelists Veken Gueyikian (Hyperallergic), Eugenia Bell (Design Observer),  Carolina Miranda (Los Angeles Times), and James McAnally (Temporary Art Review), moderated by Mn Artists editor in chief, Susannah Schouweiler.

Download a PDF of the full conference transcript. To view videos of all Superscript panels and keynotes, or to read commissioned essays and live blogging by participants in the Superscript Blog Mentorship program (a partnership with Hyperallergic), visit the Superscript Reader. To report errors in this document, email superscript@walkerart.org.

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Superscript Conference Transcript: Connectivity and Community

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the Connectivity and Community panel, featuring short presentations […]

de2015SuperScript_ SuperScript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, May 28 - 30, 2015; Garden Cafe; Cinema. Lectures, Talks & Readings; Parties & Special Events.  Architecture/Design; New Media; Theater; Film; Literary Arts; Music; Visual Arts. SuperScript is a three-day conference that convenes an international array of thinkers to consider issues and questions about the brave new world of arts publishing in a digital age.  A gathering for writers, editors, artists, theorists, and curators in the thick of both the innovation game and the practical challenges of the still-evolving landscape of cultural publishing online. The conference is copresented by  the Walker Art Center and Mn Artists. Speakers and guests on May 30, 2015 include Fionn Meade, Paul Schmelzer, Claudia La Rocco, Ayesha Siddiqi, Alexander Provan, Brian Kuan Wood, Marisa Mazria-Katz, Dan Fox, Claire Evans, James Bridle.

Claudia La Rocco, Dan Fox, Alexander Provan, Ayesha Siddiqi

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the Connectivity and Community panel, featuring short presentations followed by a group discussion with panelists Claudia La Rocco (The Performane Club), Brian Kuan Wood (e-flux journal),  Alexander Provan (Triple Canopy), and Ayesha Siddiqi (New Inquiry).

Download a PDF of the full conference transcript. To view videos of all Superscript panels and keynotes, or to read commissioned essays and live blogging by participants in the Superscript Blog Mentorship program (a partnership with Hyperallergic), visit the Superscript Reader. To report errors in this document, email superscript@walkerart.org.

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Superscript Conference Transcript: Artists as Cultural First Responders

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the Artists as Cultural First Responders panel, featuring […]

Fionn Meade, Dan Fox, James Bridle, Marisa Mazria-Katz, Claire Evans

Fionn Meade, Dan Fox, James Bridle, Marisa Mazria-Katz, Claire Evans

From May 28–30, 2015, the Walker Art Center hosted Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference on cultural publishing’s current challenges and its possible futures. All sessions of the convening were transcribed live by a stenographer; below is an edited transcript of the Artists as Cultural First Responders panel, featuring short presentations followed by a group discussion with keynote speaker James Bridle, and panelists Marisa Mazria-Katz (Creative Time Reports), Dan Fox (frieze), and Claire Evans (Vice), moderated by the Walker’s Fionn Meade.

Download a PDF of the full conference transcript. To view videos of all Superscript panels and keynotes, or to read commissioned essays and live blogging by participants in the Superscript Blog Mentorship program (a partnership with Hyperallergic), visit the Superscript Reader. To report errors in this document, email superscript@walkerart.org.

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On Diversity and Localism at Superscript

Looking back on last weekend’s Superscript, we’re pleased that so much of what we intended with the conference came to fruition. We hosted an incredible array of thinkers who are daily engaged in innovating within digital arts media. We represented cultural platforms, large and small, which aspire to national and international reach with their online […]

Superscript 2015Looking back on last weekend’s Superscript, we’re pleased that so much of what we intended with the conference came to fruition. We hosted an incredible array of thinkers who are daily engaged in innovating within digital arts media. We represented cultural platforms, large and small, which aspire to national and international reach with their online projects. And we achieved a compelling mix on stage, bringing together voices from different disciplines, geographies, races, and perspectives to shed light on the conference’s central concerns. Superscript has been a rare and wonderful opportunity to bring an extraordinary group of people at the leading edge of online arts publishing to Minneapolis to speak, and we couldn’t be more grateful and pleased with how those conversations unfolded.

But we know that the mix on stage last week left out some key voices—a fact that we’ve heard online, in tweets, and in person at the conference itself. While we featured speakers of many backgrounds, there were no African American panelists on stage, and the only Twin Cities residents featured were Walker or Mn Artists staffers.

We take criticisms of the makeup of Superscript panels sincerely, as input for if and when we do this again (and we hope we do). And we’d like to underscore: the degree of racial diversity reflected on stage was not the result of a lack of awareness, personal investment, or effort, but due to far more mundane issues including, notably, scheduling conflicts with invited speakers. The choice to feature non-Minnesota panelists was just that, a choice. Our intention was to be a good host, to bring thinkers working far away—from LA to St. Louis, New York to the UK—to Minneapolis for our community to meet.

Did we make the right choices? Not sure. Is there room for improvement? Always. Given the enthusiastic response to this inaugural presentation of Superscript, we’re hopeful that we’ll have many more chances in the future to bring in topics and speakers less in evidence in this first iteration of the event. The thoughtful responses and critiques currently circulating in person and online around the conference sessions and its related essays and blog posts seem to us a very good place from which to launch these questions and conversations going forward.

In closing, we’d like to share a key part of our thinking about Superscript: it’s not just a conference for 300 people who could join us at the Walker for three days in May. We intend it to be an ongoing conversation sparked by a conference—and informing any future iterations of it. To this end, we strove for accessibility to the ideas presented and created a platform to expand the discussion and include more voices and vantage points. Our three-camera live webstream (made available online today) brought the conference, for free, to people all around the world. Our Superscript Blog Mentorship program—featuring a truly diverse group of emerging writers and arts editors—gave opportunity to new bloggers, while providing context to the conference for those not in attendance. And the Superscript Reader, the conference’s online editorial companion, is featuring an array of voices and topics not addressed on-stage, including, among others, An Xiao Mina writing on the ways artists can use the Internet within social movements, Art of the Rural’s Matthew Fluharty on how the Internet can help us draw a new map of the art world, and ARTS.BLACK’s Taylor Aldridge and Jessica Lynne’s consideration of privilege, race, and criticism, to name a few. We’re proud of those efforts, and we’re ever striving to do better.

We’re so grateful to all of you who have participated in Superscript, at the Walker, online, and in your own writing. And we’re eager to keep the conversation going to make Superscript—the conference and the discussion that surrounds it—even better.

Let Us Now Unpack “Connectivity and Community”

Describing Superscript’s developments, artist William Powhida put it succinctly: To give a little more context: during the second day’s session “Connectivity and Community,” the conversation moved away from the previous day’s forms of criticism as such, and toward criticism in a digital age. That age is mediated by largely historical—sometimes colonial—structures of power, surveillance, economics, marginalization and its counterpart, co-option. The […]

Community-image-for-blog-post

A global communion of single-colored hands. 

Describing Superscript’s developments, artist William Powhida put it succinctly:

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 5.38.19 PM

To give a little more context: during the second day’s session “Connectivity and Community,” the conversation moved away from the previous day’s forms of criticism as such, and toward criticism in a digital age. That age is mediated by largely historical—sometimes colonial—structures of power, surveillance, economics, marginalization and its counterpart, co-option. The faux-academic in me wants to understand a bit more using hand gestures, so let’s do it the way we do best: by unpacking.

1. Why was it SO cold in the Walker Cinema?

Nothing to unpack, should’ve packed more.

2. Can we life-hack in some way beyond Pinterest/tech bros?

‘Disruption,’ a rather aggressive act, is accepted as desirable, necessary, and a sign of progress. By extension, the rise of Silicon Valley brings ‘hacking’ to everything; nothing is inherently unsolvable, you just have to change your mindset and introduce the right technology. But what kind of hacking really matters? Making bananas ripen quicker by putting them in a plastic bag with an apple is sort of useful, but what about lives that need more than hacking in the (well-stocked) kitchen? How does a trans person navigate a hostile, reductive, largely heterosexual (excluding porn) digital space, for example? Where are their start-ups with cutesy ads in the New York subway?

3. Private vs. public

This binary was brought up in terms of social media and other communication platforms (Skype, Google Hangout, but also, I might add, Tinder, Grindr, etc.) that break boundaries between an intimate inner life and a public-facing persona. To me, the idea is especially relevant for the queer community (many of whom are also people of color) who live with that precarious balance, and who must negotiate fear, confidence, defiance, denial, reluctance, and self-hatred every day. How do these ambivalences migrate to web platforms? And how does my sexual identity or relationship status on Facebook affect my employment, right to citizenship, uninhibited travel, and my authority to have an opinion (or, in other words, be a critic)?

4. Marginalization vs. normalization

Social media is not a public, democratic space, but a parading of our free labor, a forum for peep shows. And within that media, normalization isn’t mere access to a platform, but being liked, accepted within that structure. Is a lifestyle legitimate when enough people care about it? And if this is normalization, then what and where is the marginal space on the Internet? An abandoned website, a measly number of likes, antiquated design, complete or partial censorship?

Remind me why we love to unpack? It just makes a mess. I’m left with more questions than when I began.

The Superscript Blog Mentorship program, a partnership with Hyperallergic, is presented as part of

Three Questions for Artist James Richards

On a breezy, sunny day in Minneapolis, I sat down with the artist James Richards, whose newest work, Radio at Night (2015), premiered here at Superscript. The work was created for Walker Moving Image Commissions, an online platform featuring the work of six artists and launching on June 1 with Richards’ Radio at Night and Moyra Davey’s Notes on Blue (2015). Ryohei […]

James Richards, Radio at Night, 2015, video

James Richards, Radio at Night, 2015, video

On a breezy, sunny day in Minneapolis, I sat down with the artist James Richards, whose newest work, Radio at Night (2015), premiered here at Superscript. The work was created for Walker Moving Image Commissions, an online platform featuring the work of six artists and launching on June 1 with Richards’ Radio at Night and Moyra Davey’s Notes on Blue (2015).

Ryohei Ozaki: I’m struck by the central place that music has in your work. How does it play into Radio at Night?

James Richards: The commissioned piece is a continuation of a process that began in spring of last year, when I was making Raking Light (2014). The starting point is sort of technical; I hadn’t really updated my music equipment for about 10 years or something, so I bought a new music application. The program is all-encompassing and contains synthesizers, sequencers, and samplers that allow you to work in many different ways. I spent a lot of time making music independently of visual art while I was on a residency, learning and finding a way of working with this software and trying to find a voice with it. It was about trying to funnel that into a piece and make something unapologetically luscious.

RO: This ties into my next question, about the phrase “digital age,” used in the title of the conference. It’s a bit vague and overused IMHO. But what does it mean for you as an artist working in digital audio and visual media?

JR: If we weren’t in a digital age—well, you can’t really hypothesize this stuff too much—but if I wasn’t in this era, I’m not sure I would be a filmmaker. I’d probably work in collage or something. Digital has an immediacy I like. One can work unprecedentedly in a casual, cheap, and constant way, which is very much the product of recent technological changes, compared with work made earlier. Artists I admire would likely have to go out to special facilities for a very limited time frame, perhaps with a great cost, and so they’d have to plan and organize it in a very different way. Now all one’s tools are on a laptop and you can be generating and manipulating and experimenting. There’s something about that immediate relationship and that way technology makes working like this almost like writing, with a similar level of directness.

RO: What are you most excited to be working on at the moment?

JR: I’m continuing to experiment with the material generated and developed in my last two pieces, Radio at Night and Raking Light. Next year I’m making a large installation of this material, fragmenting it and working with multichannel setups in an exhibition context. I did something similar six years ago, but I’m approaching it with new material and a new attitude. I’m thinking of moving music away from images, working with sound installed in space, which I’m really excited about. This will be at Bergen Kunsthall in Norway and the Kestnergesellschaft in Hannover in a two-part show.

The Superscript Blog Mentorship program, a partnership with Hyperallergic, is presented as part of

Meet Norma Miller, the Woman who Transcribed all 113,361 Words of #Superscript15

Inspiring weekend at #superscript15 everything was recorded A video posted by Lauren Thorson (@laurenthorson) on May 30, 2015 at 6:13pm PDT Employing stenographers has become de rigeur at conferences nowadays. Seasoned veteran stenographer Norma Miller has been transcribing every single word that’s been said at Superscript for audiences following the conference via live stream. “And yesterday […]

Inspiring weekend at #superscript15 everything was recorded

A video posted by Lauren Thorson (@laurenthorson) on

Employing stenographers has become de rigeur at conferences nowadays. Seasoned veteran stenographer Norma Miller has been transcribing every single word that’s been said at Superscript for audiences following the conference via live stream. “And yesterday that included 55,826 words. So I’m glad we’re not paying by the word,” joked conference organizer and Walker Art Center Editor Paul Schmelzer, alluding to recurring debates about critics’ wages. In his remarks, he challenged the audience to shout out artspeak to stump Miller. “Anyone?”

“Recontextualizations.”

“Liminality!”

“Zombie Formalism.”

The words appeared on screen as soon as they were yelled out.

During a break from typing out what would eventually total 113,361 words, I pulled Miller aside to ask her about the practice of stenography and how its increasing employment by institutions might indicate that they’re becoming just a tad bit less ableist.

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