Curate Your Context: Methods on and of Curating
With a contribution by Farid Rakun, member of ruangrupa (artistic director documenta 15) and presentations by PhD students Sascia Bailer, Katerina Valdivia Bruch, Antonio Cataldo, Hadas Kedar, Ronald Kolb, Lalita Radavić, and Maayan Sheleff
Feedback by Prof. Dr. Jérôme Glicenstein
Organized and moderated by Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter
PhD in Practice in Curating
A partnership between the Department of Art at the University of Reading (UK) and the Postgraduate Programme in Curating at the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts, Department of Cultural Analysis, Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK, supported by swissuniversities.
Contact: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter
Zurich University of the Arts
Timetable 16 November 2019
Dorothee Richter (10 min introduction)
Farid Rakun (25 min)
Katerina Valdivia Bruch
This conference will focus on methodological frameworks in curatorial practice through presentations by seven PhD students of the PhD in Practice in Curating programme. There will also be an additional contribution by Farid Rakun of ruangrupa on their artistic/curatorial practice, and Prof. Dr. Jérôme Glicenstein will respond to the presentations. We will also present the latest issues of OnCurating.org.
All seven PhD researchers see curating as a dialogic, social and relational practice (of care, of participation, of governance), though they also reflect critically on these terms. Sascia Bailer asks, “How can curating be conceptualized as a radical relational practice which addresses issues of social justice?” Ronald Kolb scrutinizes Tony Bennett’s concepts of “governmental assemblages.” Katerina Valdivia Bruch will speak about curating as a dialogic practice with a focus on the audience. She will include examples of her projects grounded on this idea and give a short introduction on her upcoming project, the symposium Rethinking Conceptualism: Avant-Garde, Activism, and Politics in Latin American Art (1960s-1980s).
Maayan Sheleff researches participatory artworks and curatorial assemblies that manifest the human voice in a collective and examines their relation to recent global protest movements. She will focus in her talk on (Un)Commoning Voices & (Non)Communal Bodies (2019), a project she curated together with Sarah Spies for Reading:International, UK. Antonio Cataldo questions the “care-taking” aspect of curating in the hope of reinventing art institutions that bear witness to those whose words remain unheard or are silenced. Lalita Radavić will discuss the constellation of theoreticians she uses to question the role artist residencies play in proliferating the neoliberal agenda of the art system in the 21st century. Hadas Kedar deals with artistic practices and curatorial formats in remote areas with an awareness of colonial pasts and hegemonic presents. The lecture will focus on three test cases from the Naqab desert that subsist under cultural erasure due to ongoing colonial rule.
The Zurich University of the Arts and the Department of Art at the University of Reading are offering a new doctoral programme for research in and as curatorial practice, the “PhD in Practice in Curating.” Research students are enrolled at the University of Reading, and the Postgraduate Programme in Curating hosts a research group and offers opportunities for teaching and lecturing in higher education. The new PhD programme specializes in offering to established curators, artists, art critics and designers from all disciplines the critical framework within which to focus on specific curatorial and cultural research topics in order to earn a doctorate from the University of Reading through a combined theoretical and practical approach.
Participants will be able to engage with the ongoing international public programmes connected to the Postgraduate Programme in Curating Zurich, and with the independent OnCurating magazine.
Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter is Director of the Postgraduate Programme in Curating, ZHdK, and Professor in Contemporary Curating at the University of Reading.
Connecting, not claiming
Using past examples and diagrams, can ruangrupa’s practice (including Gudskul) be understood as a curatorial method, continuously unfolding in time and space, without clear beginnings or endings? Beyond events. Letting go ownership. Hopefully also authorship.
A visiting lecturer in the Architecture Department of Universitas Indonesia, he is also a part of the artists’ collective ruangrupa, with whom he co-curated TRANSaction: Sonsbeek 2016 in Arnhem, NL and who are currently functioning as the collective Artistic Director for documenta fifteen (Kassel, 2022). As an instigator, he has permeated various global institutions such as Centre Pompidou, La Biennale di Venezia, MMCA Seoul, Sharjah Biennial, Bienal de São Paulo, Harun Farocki Institut, and Dutch Art Institute (DAI)
The Governing Methods of Curating
The PhD project deals with curatorial practices and community-based art practices in a global context with a focus on techniques and methods of governance.
This endeavor will start from Tony Bennett’s thoughts on the “Exhibitionary Complex” and speak about the implications of the newer shift of seeing exhibition formats as a “governmental assemblage.”
Bennett’s newer writings shift from the idea of exhibitions as a disciplinary complex (seen through the concept of Foucault’s Knowledge/Disciplinary Power derived from the discipline of spectacle) to Foucault’s concept of Governmentalite/Bio-Power, which addresses the individual’s behavior in relation to the government/sovereign.
Ronald Kolb works as a designer (www.biotop3000.de), lecturer, and filmmaker in Stuttgart and Zurich. He was an Associate Professor at Merz Akademie, University of Applied Arts, Design and Media from 2009–2015 and is now Co-Head at the Postgraduate Programme in Curating, ZHdK. He is the Co-Publisher of the web journal On-Curating.org and has been honorary vice-chairman of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart since 2014.
How can artistic and curatorial practice deal with the rise of totalitarian and demagogic voices, utilizing the political potential of the human voice? This is one of the main questions of my PhD research, looking at participatory artworks and curatorial assemblies that manifest the human voice in a collective, and examining their relation to recent global protest movements that began in 2011. In this talk, I will focus on a project I curated together with Sarah Spies, (Un)Commoning Voices & (Non)Communal Bodies, at Reading: International, UK (2019), a project that created a linkage between both of our research subjects, the voice and the body, via the politics of performativity.
Maayan Sheleff is an independent curator as well as the artistic advisor of The Art Cube Artists’ Studios in Jerusalem and the founder and curator of its international residency program, “LowRes Jerusalem.” She is currently working on an exhibition at the Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, Holland, that will open in May 2020. She teaches at Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem.
How can curating be conceptualized as a radical relational practice which addresses issues of social justice? By referring to curating´s etymological Latin root curare = to care, my interests lie in exploring curating as a relational, caring practice, which forms a basis for connectivity and visibility around issues of care-work, gender equity and communal living. Apart from reviewing different theoretical positions around the notion of “Curating-as-Care,“ I will also critically examine the structural manifestations of contemporary social injustices. In a next step, I will explore my own strategies/methodologies within my curatorial work as Artistic Director of Arthur Boskamp-Stiftung — arguing for curating to serve as a process-based social practice which can address socio-political and spatial urgencies in multiple ways.
Sascia Bailer’s curatorial and scholarly work is located at the intersection of public space, contemporary art and social justice. She is the Artistic Director 2019/20 of the Arthur Boskamp-Stiftung.
Displaying the Politics of Inactivity
To reinject fluids into the assembly, curating is often associated with taking care, taking its root from the Latin curare. What if the word “curator,” technically the one in charge of a museum, a zoo, or other places of exhibit instead comes from the Spanish curaré, a word that came into use in Europe during the sixteenth century, and then again in the 1700s, to identify the poison that tribes in South America were using on their arrows to “anesthetize” their victims. When this poison entered the laboratory – the medical institution –modern physiologists availed themselves of the paralyzing property of this drug to keep the animal they wished to vivisect absolutely motionless, not allowing them to die by losing their power to breathe. What if this immobility is the pharmakon we are left with today, an inescapable poison that has curative potential to recover our colonization from cognitive capitalism?Antonio Cataldo is employed as the artistic director of Fotogalleriet Oslo.
Katerina Valdivia Bruch
Curating as a Dialogic Practice
My curatorial practice is research-based and participatory. I am interested in engaging different types of audiences, offering an open stage for the invited artists, researchers in the humanities and social sciences, or art historians to participate in a discussion and open up questions, ideas or comments, as well as gain an insight into the behind-the-scenes of an art or research project.
I will talk about curating as a dialogic practice, based on some ideas about the spectator in Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator and the dialogic principle in Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. As part of my presentation, I will include examples of my projects grounded on this dialogic idea and give a short introduction to my current project, the symposium Rethinking Conceptualism: Avant-Garde, Activism, and Politics in Latin American Art (1960s-1980s).
Katerina Valdivia Bruch is a Berlin-based independent curator, writer and art critic. Her projects have been presented at ZKM-Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Para/Site Art Space, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, amongst others. In 2008, she was co-curator of the Prague Triennale at the National Gallery in Prague. She regularly contributes to different art publications and magazines. www.artatak.net
Power, Myth and Reproduction: An Examination of The Artist Residency in the 21st Century
Artist residencies have come to serve as a critical credential in the legitimization process of artists in accruing agency within the art system. This process of capital gain occurs in tandem with a broader trend within the art world where global actors – from north to south and east to west – are coerced into buying into a globalized art system. How does the residue of forced hegemony on a multipolar world (Chantal Mouffe) affect the practice of artist residencies? Is there a mythos around artist residencies and the iteration of artistic economies either vertically or horizontally?
Lalita Radavić is a New York-based independent curator, artist, writer and educator, teaching at various institutions including The New School and The School of Visual Arts.
Extremities and Extremisms: Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Strategies in the Naqab Desert and Beyond
A critical inquiry into three test cases from the Naqab Desert that address artistic and curatorial strategies that are caught up in a colonial narrative. The lecture will focus on the culture of subjectivities of the desert that subsist under cultural erasure due to ongoing colonial rule. By addressing the context in which interpellated subjectivities of the desert exist – global warming, radiation, smog, noise and chemical pollution – we respond to urgent issues in our times by dealing with human rights and urgent ecological issues which are pertinent to understanding life in the desert and other extremities.
Hadas Kedar is an artist/curator based in Tel Aviv and Arad (Negev Desert). She is the director and curator of StudioBank (Tel Aviv, Israel), a municipal arts complex in a seven-story former bank (and future hotel) that holds events and exhibitions.
CONF: Curate Your Context: Methods on and of Curating (Paris, 16 Nov 19). In: ArtHist.net, Nov 2, 2019 (accessed Feb 28, 2021), <https://arthist.net/archive/21981>.