System Maker Files
: Practice-led investigation into online system making within Artist-led Initiatives

  • Alejandro Daniel Ball

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The following PhD. thesis focuses on Internet art-based artist-led curatorial initiatives and the exhibition or artwork development process that takes place within this type of art organisation. The main concern of this investigation is the understanding of creative effect on contemporary Internet practice by an artist-led initiative through the development of an online multi-platform artwork, and or, exhibition. The research builds on an inter-disciplinary body of discourse, which encompasses the field of curating, critical coding studies and artistic practice. The topics discussed in connection to these fields are the distributive exhibition model, and curatorial modes of practice; research on system theory and aesthetics within artistic and curatorial practice; discourse around the expansion of space, the online art platform, and the site of art (and by extension the site of the exhibition) In combination with the rise of mobile technology; finally, coding studies and design philosophy platform building such as Internet protocol are covered. The research carried out for this PhD. thesis consists of a practice-led methodology that utilised researcher Alejandro Daniel Ball’s own practice as a system maker within two artist-led initiatives: PILproject, and Agorama, where a chronology of artist-led artistic and curator projects was developed and realised by the researcher and his collaborators during the period between 2015 to 2018. Each project during this period are analysed through three system-based parameters: The project’s multiple interfaces, using the critical perspective of the interface being an effect between the frontend and backend, i.e., the implementation of the platforms HTML, CSS and JavaScript architecture; The project’s distributive network, i.e., the tangible hyperlinks and social media links each platform uses to interconnect with the wider exhibition system and external social media platforms; the final aspect centres on the protocological effect and system evaluation of each exhibition and, or, artworks presented. The essential findings and outcome of this research reveal the possible technological effects artist-led curatorial initiatives can enact with an embedded system maker practice, such as propagating open-source protocols and protocological objects. Additionally, a further outcome of this research is the development of workable web architecture frameworks, which can be used to create distributive sites for art and the exhibition.
Date of Award2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAnna Notaro (Supervisor) & Sarah Cook (Supervisor)

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