Title: The pleasure of the holder: media art, museum collections and paper money

Authors: Chris Dorsett

Addresses: Department of Arts, Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK

Abstract: When the artist Julian Rosefeldt exhibits video projections of cast Græco-Roman sculptures, exhibition-goers experience a crisis in resemblance and equivalence between a gallery installation and museum artefacts. On the face of it media magic seems to supersede, even eliminate, the experiential force of collection-holding. This article compares media and artefactual exhibiting practices by combining semiotic analysis, art theory and Georg Simmel's sociology of money. In the late 18th century, as European museums began to display plaster reproductions of classical sculpture and historic architectural details, economists worried that paper money would sever the representational force of monetary signifiers from the intrinsic value of the bullion they signify. Perhaps Rosefeldt defers promises like a banknote? Perhaps museums postpone the 'pleasure of the holder' like a bank reserve? In both cases, this article argues, the technologies of reproduction and repetition (old and new) tell us a great deal about the semantics of objects.

Keywords: media art; museum cast collections; semiotics; cast sculptures; sociology of money; numismatics; museology; museum collections; paper money; gallery installations; museum artefacts; art theory; reproduction; repetition; semantics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2016.077239

International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2016 Vol.9 No.2, pp.173 - 186

Received: 03 Nov 2014
Accepted: 06 Feb 2015

Published online: 25 Jun 2016 *

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