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James, A.

Live Curation: A Methodology Towards A New Platform For the Reception of Art (ISACS17: Resonant Worlds), 2017


ZKM: Centre for Arts & Media Karlsruhe, Germany.

The curation of art exhibitions is an integral part of explicating what (and where) contemporary art is today and helping it to reach a wider audience. However, time-based art such as sonic, performance and live art has exposed a problematic for the traditional curatorial model currently used by galleries and museums, whereby an exhibition is launched and remains static throughout its duration. This stasis is not only problematic for the exhibiting of multiple time-based art pieces due to it being difficult to differentiate between individual works (without a linear order or compartmentalisation), but it also negates the possibility of the audience directly influencing the evolution of an exhibition during its reception. If one considers the curatorial as an epistemological practice, this stasis produces a delayed response to what art is or is becoming in an ever evolving world.


It is crucial to understand that contemporary art is difficult to define because it is an ever-evolving discipline increasingly reliant upon the relationship between artists, artworks and the art-world (AAA). If someone were to successfully define it there would no doubt be a rush to create a work that goes against this definition, unravelling it and evolving the discipline furthermore. Live Curation does not therefore seek to discover what art is, it seeks to discover whether this AAA ecology can be explored live during an exhibition and whether it is possible to learn and evolve art and curatorial knowledge collectively.


Live Curation therefore deconstructs the impact of curating ephemerality as opposed to traditional modes of curatorial practice (whereby an exhibition is curated through months or years of planning and coordination to enable the curator to pre-determine how the exhibition space will position a combination of seemingly static or solid objects) and instead Live Curation proposes a rhizomatic approach that generates an ensemble of phenomena. In the context of a live curated exhibition, this ensemble becomes a resonant and/or dissonant ephemerality, a thickening of the ephemeral made manifest by the curation and reception of objects and art objects by a mediator: the live curator.


As an independent artist-curator I am therefore interested in transgressing traditional acts of curation and resituating the role of the curator within the live. I have explored many methods of curating exhibitions and in this paper I will specifically draw upon some of these to explore the potentiality of Live Curation as an alternative platform for the exhibition and reception of time-based art, but also as a platform that can be used to help disseminate other more traditional art forms.

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