This article examines the intersections between public art, curation and Web 2.0 technology. Building on the case study of Autopoiesis, a digital art project focusing on the curation and online exhibition of artworks received from members of the public in the United Arab Emirates, the article explores the ways and extent to which a Web platform can enable participatory culture and novel forms of audience engagement. While major cultural institutions in the region tend to promote brand-like activities and prestige cultural projects, Autopoiesis seeks to offer a more inclusive platform to facilitate autonomous creative self-expressions and enable greater public participation in culture. By providing a critical reflection on the ‘material’ contexts of this digital project, the article also demonstrates the related tensions between the virtual and the physical, and the wider ‘local’ realities enframing this project.
Arts and International Affairs, 2017, Vol 2, Issue 1, p. 57-83