PGR Lecture Series 2020/21

Architectures of the New Curatorial

This lecture series invites speakers to reflect on the recent challenges to curatorial practices, particularly concerning an arguably new kind of architecture for research that has gained urgency during the recent pandemic. On the one hand, the pandemic revealed even further the systemic inequality intersecting multiple layers of society, but also affecting the concept of the museum and exhibition-making platforms. On the other hand, the conceptualisation of the exhibition space expanded rapidly into the digital realm. This lecture series aims to reflect on these “architectures of the new curatorial”, inviting curators, architects and researchers who have recently produced exhibitions, or are developing work concerned with the intersectional and transnational politics of their research as a form of counter-institution. It also aims to explore how they are engaging in the changing relation between analogue space and digital media. This lecture series looks to the practice of curating as research as a way to build new understandings of institutions while destabilizing established ones.

The lectures and conversations will discuss three main issues: One looks at current museum practices that address their problematic histories and institutional forms and protocols. For some institutions, this has meant a process of collective reckoning that questions their legacies, the financing of their buildings and governing structures, their endowed chairs celebrating histories of oppression, or their exhibition practices perpetuating discrimination based on race or gender. The second looks at models of new curatorial research in architecture that helps engender feminist, anti-racist, decolonial modes of counter-institutional practices. Approaching these issues with a focus on their architectures and temporality, the conversations in this series will examine concepts of research that aim to expand their cooperation with local partners and alternative constituencies to go beyond the actual event of an exhibition. The third looks at the potential of digital media and exhibition design to connect new audiences and ideas. It will look at what is gained and what is lost in that translation and in the politics of these technologies, as well as how conditions of precarity and exploitation are reframed and transformed when migrating to the digital realm.

This lecture series was initiated and organised by Eleni Han and Guillermo Ruiz with the support of Ines Weizman.

It was kindly supported by a Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Event Support Grant (Spring 2021).

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