Online curation is shaped and defined not merely by its content, but just as much by the nature of the structure and the systems that are used by curators and artists. It could be argued that this applies to any medium, but as this essay will show, the Web profoundly influences the role of the curator in new ways. In this paper we show how curation on the Web is not merely concerned with presenting art, but that curation functions within a wider ecology of social and technical power relations. This shift is characterized by a collision of different interests driven by economic, cultural, and socio-political agendas, and can be framed as a new space of performativity: signaling a move from curating a set of objects to a conceptual and operational process that puts different constellations of human and machinic agents, objects and practices into relation with one another. This means that a curator needs to take into account a complex interrelated network of dependencies and contexts that are often invisible or incomprehensible to most people. In such a scenario online curation becomes ‘networked co-curation’ and shifts the attention from what
is produced to how
it is performed under the socio-technical conditions and relations that characterize the current state of the Web.
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