Workshops will be held daily and will also be followed up with visits to contemporary art galleries in Valletta. Participants are offered the opportunity to respond to tasks put forward by guest curators and receive extensive feedback on aspects of curating, researching, producing and presenting new ideas.
Workshop themes include:
- Curating the social: participants, constituents and (new) publics
- The Social, Humanitarian, Historical, Scientific as Art
- What we have in common
- Curatorial Politics and the Question of Serviceability
- CURATORIAL PUBLICS: ESCAPING AND TWISTING AND TURNING Recent Turns in Curating, Education, and Public Art Practice
- Training for the Not Yet.
The workshops are intended for small groups of students. Applicants must indicate their preferred workshops in the application form (in order of preference 1-3) and all students will be allocated one workshop (not necessarily first preference). Students attending workshops are expected to participate actively and present their own curatorial and artistic ideas.
Michael Birchall: Curating the social: participants, constituents and (new) publics
The ‘social turn’ in art has been widely debated and discussed by artists, curators and scholars, yet the specificities associated with curating socially engaged art in the museum demand a specific set of skills and competencies that embed their practice beyond the walls of the museum. As artists have moved towards models of post-studio practice, in which the art object is no longer privileged above other forms, the gallery itself becomes a site for production, interaction and debate. This turn has seen the museum and the curators who programme exhibitions shift their attention to ‘user experience’. As such, the contemporary museum is rapidly moving into a site of production and gravitating towards participatory models. This can manifest through projects, public programmes and new commissions. However, what are the methodologies being employed by curators in these formats? How are cultural producers responding to this model of production? How do we consider our publics and constituents in this process? Are there future models that can be adopted and transplanted into different contexts?
This workshop will consider the rise of socially engaged art in the art institution, specifically how it is commissioned, presented and produced; through an interrogation of recent practices and theoretical debates. In this workshop we will discuss and explore together: (a) producing socially engaged art in the museum; (b) critical and engaged publics; (c) site-specific curating; (d) user experience and experimental pedagogies.
Alfredo Cramerotti: The Social, Humanitarian, Historical, Scientific as Art
Day 1 – Participants are invited to develop and present to the group their answers to a set of questions, such as: What does beauty have to do with, for instance, climate change, migration, mental or physical conditions? What is our understanding of aesthetics in relation to ethics? How do we tackle social themes that lend themselves awkwardly to a presentation in the (critical) visual realm?
Day 2 – Starting with case studies such as the Maldives Pavilion and other experiences by the participants, the group will relate their respective projects and highlight what worked and what did not, and why.
Day 3 & Day 4– Based on the brief proposals sent in advance, participants are invited to present to the group their next project plan (exhibition, residency, online platform, public programme, architectural or design commission, educational initiative, symposium, workshop, etc.). This will be a practical, project management-focused ‘tool kit’ that can be used to refine their specific plans.
Day 5 – Alternative scenarios: Could each participant’s project be produced somehow else? Is its digital platform following the concept and the execution, or preceding it? Is the range of artworks / artists / partners / speakers leading to unexplored territories or consolidating a prefigured approach?
Readings and reference list:
For a brief discussion of the various modes of curating, see Graham, Beryl and Cook, Sarah (2010), Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. You don’t have to read the whole book: go to pp. 154-155, p. 222 and p. 232.
For a now-archive only blog with juxtaposed selection of works of art documentation, predating social apps like ArtContemporaryDaily and the likes, see Domanović, Aleksandra, Laric, Oliver, Priglinger, Christoph and Schnitzer, Georg, VVORK, 2006-2012, online blog http://www.vvork.com/.
For bracketing as a form of (unsuspected) curating, see www.youtube.com. Guthrie Lonergan: “Making a playlist doesn’t involve altering the original content – all we’re doing is just pointing or linking to it. Videos will never be in short supply.”
Each participant proposes a book freely available online. Ask me and the rest of the group to read only its footnotes. Discuss the book during the workshop as part of your project presentation, trying to make a whole from fragments.
Kelly Large: What we have in common
In a rapidly diminishing public sphere, where once we had collectively held space, infrastructures and institutions, we are now likely to find private corporations, systems and gated enclosures. Given that for centuries artists and curators have played a vital role in shaping the physical, organisational and psychic spaces of civic experience how do we, as cultural producers, respond to this rapid transformation of public into private?
In this workshop we will re-imagine what ‘being public’ might be now and for the future. Together through a series of creative activities, readings, case-studies, assignments, presentations and group discussions we will explore tactics for constituting new forms of public space and collective action, and ways in which artistic and curatorial practices can enable platforms for critical citizenship to emerge in neo-liberal conditions. Collectively workshop participants will address a range of questions and provocations including the following: Should we retreat from public life or occupy it more visibly? Where does art practice intersect with politics and activism meaningfully? What role does emotional affect have in making collective spaces? Collaboration, participation, co-operation — what kinds of publicness do these different ways of working together produce?
Dr Nina Möntmann: Curatorial Politics and the Question of Serviceability
In our age of new nationalisms worldwide, rising xenophobia and often violent oppression of the freedom of expression, the tasks and responsibilities of curatorial practices have to be renegotiated. While in the 1990s a common discourse was supporting symbolic political projects in the arts, the paradigms are shifting towards accepting and promoting a new necessity for real political involvement. White cube exhibitions discussing these threats can only be one facet among many others of a newly formulated curatorial agency.
How can political involvement within and beyond institutions be formulated and staged with the aim to stimulate social change? How does this affect the collaboration between artists and curators? What is the role and function of ‘creativity’ in that context? How does institutional programming take shape in relation to visitors and publics? Can a newly formulated idea of serviceability put institutions in a position to act as an agent for civic concerns as well as open its doors for those who are expelled elsewhere? Is there a responsibility towards the (colonial) history of Western institutional spaces? Can curatorial action offer a useful service in that sense? And, finally, how can possible negotiations with the public body be reformulated? New steps in the direction of political action in the cultural field clearly need alliances, international networks and support systems that have to be built.
In the workshop we will discuss curatorial and institutional examples, which are creating paradigms of social innovation. Participant will also be asked to present their curatorial projects, exhibition concepts as well as essayistic writing or art criticism. An intense discussion of the respective practice of the participants will constitute a central part of the workshop. The workshop seeks to provide an environment that empowers the participants to contribute their own position and methods in critical exchange, collaborative practice and new encounters.
Paul O’Neill: CURATORIAL PUBLICS: ESCAPING AND TWISTING AND TURNING
Recent Turns in Curating, Education, and Public Art Practice
This workshop will look at recent turns in contemporary public art, education and curatorial practice. In doing so it will explore concepts of the discursive, the durational, the publicness and the educational in contemporary art curating. Given that the exhibition (in its many forms, models, sites and formats) has become the primary site and medium for curatorial experimentation, the exhibition as a medium still represents a relatively new discursive space within artistic and curatorial practice.
This workshop will explore the ways in which different publics are constituted by the coming together of art, education and curatorial practice as co-operative exhibition-making structures, where multiple actors and agencies are at work during different stages of co-production.
This workshop will also address the ongoing “curatorial turn”, “discursive turn” in contemporary curating, and the more recent “educational turn”, in a way that seeks a critical reconstruction of “the exhibition” and “the school” and “the Public” in curating and in contemporary art. Key terms to be explored will be the curatorial, collaboration, duration, participation, ritual, citizenship, sociality, relationality, publicness, attentiveness, and the discursive.
The workshop will also include a group ‘Writing Exhibition’ workshop, where the participants will write collectively and give form to exhibiting through writing as a curatorial becoming-ness. This will be framed by an introduction to five key questions: ‘What is an Exhibition?’ ‘What is a School?’ ‘What is a Public?’, and ‘What is Duration?’ ‘What is Escape?’
As starting points, these questions will assist in the production of a collaborative Dictionary of Terms. It is proposed that this Dictionary will be produced by the participants in order to look at key issues, concerns, questions and understandings stemming from their own practices, seeking common points of reference to draw upon and to use as a means of articulating their current aims and objectives within their work.
Jeanne van Heeswijk: Training for the Not Yet
We will question how the investigative and explorative qualities of the arts can serve a process in which we can learn collectively how we can engage and act upon the world in order to re-negotiate the condition of our existence.
- Mapping skill sets to respond to change (How to build a collective understanding of a territory when territories are fractured?)
- Creating spaces to care for one another (How to create safe(r) space for people to take risks in relation to others especially when composed of non-homogeneous groups?)
- Imagining how we can collectively live together (How to approach the notion of collectives not as a pre-existing social structure but as actively becoming in context?).
- Deep listing and willingness to engage in uncomfortable conversations (How to engage in just cultural exchanges among different communities?)
– Harvey, David, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution (Verso, 2013)
– Garces, Marina, ‘Honesty With the Real’, Journal of Aesthetics and Culture (vol. 4, 2012)