Speaking for real: this isn’t a history painting, it’s a book of stories. A book being written with stories like the ones you get told when you’re getting your head chopped off—before going up there, or coming back from the show. Stories like they tell in museums.
This residency is addressed to participants willing to engage in speculative inquiry on the matter of exhibition, whether they work as artists, curators, or writers. The moment of exhibition will act as a figure towards which converge diverse spaces of authority (the studio, the exhibition space, criticism). The residency will thus be structured in as many points of enunciation, with individual studio and research time, public talks, and collective discussions enhanced by screenings and reading sessions.
The question of contemporary art exhibition is inevitably folded on the question of the present. This present is traditionally regarded as the site of a triangular relationship: a subject displays an object under museum lights so that this object meets the gaze of another subject. In the frame of this relationship, the object does not exist outside a scale of which the human eye is both the standard and the currency.
We will work to enact a “pocket” reversal of this theatre of a phenomenological present. Our collective research will aim to circumscribe the notion of exhibition according to the terms of an archaeological operation: not a method of access, nor the trigger of a relationship, but an operation of re-covery that is the evidence of an accumulation of hidden cuts, invisible deletions, and blind spots that disfigure the representation.
The public talks, followed by group discussions and brought further with the contributions of guest faculty, will form chapters of an “underground history” of exhibition making, a counter-history of observation where “exhibiting” means “severing.” Through the close study of various critical concepts of exhibition (ranging from the invention of the Memory Theatre to contemporary zoos), we will try to retrieve the vertigo embedded in the event of exhibition: a story of non-human actions at the border of the present and on the fringes of perception. A history without victims or heroes, maybe even without us.
Deadline: August 6, 2012