Exhibition-Making and Political Imaginary : On Modalities and Potentialities of Curatorial Practice
Abstract: The Ph.D. project concerns itself with curatorial practice, its constituent modalities and potentialities. It consists of both a practical and a theoretical part. These are not separate entities, but immersed in each other. The point of departure is my own practice, but making claims for a general analysis of the politics of exhibition-making. Rather than proving or disproving certain proposition, ideas will be presented as proposals, as possibilities, and investigated as such. The dissertation departs from a claim consisting of three features:1.That the making and staging of an exhibition has to do with the establishment of political imaginaries, as understood in the philosophy of Cornelius Castoriadis.2.That an exhibition, through its ensemble of various elements, creates a certain world-view of what it is possible to imagine, and thus, conversely, what cannot be imagined (from a presented vantage point). 3.That any practice of exhibition-making creates a world-view in different ways, and thus invoking different imaginaries. Exhibition-making is placed within the construction of a typology, and discussed in terms of a ‘conceptual history’, as proposed by Reinhart Koselleck in The Practice of Conceptual History. This approach is contrasted with Michel Foucault’s ideas of archeology and genealogy (mainly as in The Archeology of Knowledge). The thesis looks at contemporary modes of exhibition-making, including case-studies of my own work. These are two previous projects, Models of Resistance (2000), and Capital (It Fails Us Now) (2005-6). as well as two projects conceived as part of the Ph.D., Vectors of the Possible (2010) and All That Fits (2011). The dissertation proceeds through the following three analytic terms: I. Institution Institution are seen in both the philosophical terms of Castoriadis, as ways of instituting, and instituting social relations differently, as well as in terms of art’s institutions, in both the broad and narrow senses of the word. Notions as such institutional critique and new institutionalism will be considered, as well as biennales as a major form of instituting in contemporary art. II. Articulation Articulation is understood as that which combines or recombines the various elements, whether in an exhibition or politics proper. I shall argue, that the articulatory elements of exhibition-making must be brought to the foreground in order to contribute to a different political imagination, and thus instituting. The usage of articulation is also an examination of the speaking subject in curating, reflected through Judith Butler’s Giving an Account of Oneself, exemplified by the research exhibition All That Fits, that was based on readings of Foucault’s use of the term Parrhésia). III. Horizon. Finally, such positionings is seen in light of their political imagination, that is their world-view, and thus the philosophical notion of the horizon. The notion of the horizon will be proposed as a possible way in which to think the relationship between exhibition-making and political imagination anew. The exhibition Vectors of the Possible will be presented in tandem with the book and conference entitled On Horizons.
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