Monday, February 4. 2008
Welcome to February's Pick 'N Mix, my monthly annotated list of interesting tidbits that have captured my attention recently.
- I found this post about the "Video Vortex: Curating Online Video" symposium in Amsterdam really interesting, especially towards the end where there is this quotation: "...there was a short panel discussion about the role of the curator. [...] Hierarchies are changing and curators have to respond to those things. From the audience comes the remark that curators were the middle person between the artist and his audience. This position is threatened due to 2.0. Maybe its a solution to look at the curators role to help to rate and analyze the work. This would make a shift instead of being an audience seeker he would become an intellectual."
- "Who gets to tell the story?" is a great question that Rebecca Durkin asks on the Burke Museum blog. Ms Durkin expresses concern about photographs of Native Americans taken by a white person who "felt he was documenting a "vanishing" race" being displayed simultaneously alongside an exhibition of Native American artifacts and taped interviews. Ms Durkin says: "I'm excited to see the shows open this weekend and compare the stories the two shows are telling. Will This Place Called Home serve as a test of sorts for the authenticity of the images in Peoples of the Plateau? And how will the historic photos in Peoples of the Plateau inform the context with which we look at the cultural materials in This Place Called Home?" In this case, it seems that the Burke Museum is valiantly attempting to let more than one story be told at the same time, giving the viewing public some space to reach their own conclusions.
- There are some very critical and challenging statements being made in a text "Terminal Souvenirs: What is wrong with curatorial practise today" by Maia Damianovic, a critic and independent curator based in New York. The whole text is excellent reading, but I thought I'd excerpt some quotations that were very resonant for me.
Too often, we can discern in current practice the insidious an implacable macula of conservative constraint trying to disguise itself behind critical, ideological and political posturing. Our theories and our practices, for the most part, simply do not match, Over and over again, we are confronted by didactic, pedagogic and formulaic curatorial mechanisms that glamorize a gamut of dull, dry or safe conceptual choices. Are the mechanisms surrounding curating so elaborately enshrined that we are confronted with a symptom of overwhelming conservatism, of being stuck in the pursuit of easy prescriptions, but also perks and rewards? In any case, curating today opens to a whole field of different investments, that seamlessly slip into the arena of politics, power and finances at the mercy of all their jumbled forces. But, politics and ideology can also become packaged commodities.
Why are we so complicit? A transformation of curating and exhibiting today could amount to an ethical and political change of destination. A change of destination that would eschew comfort, self-gratification and success, and open itself to insecurity and anxiety; moving from protected to vulnerable contexts. lt could also move from pragmatics to poetics.
A little confusion and chaos would work wonders. Why not swim against the current a little more; against the large survey show, 'against curating as a formula of success by default. Perhaps the curating and exhibiting of art today should be anxious, insecure practices.