ISSUE 3 Curating Performativity
Curating Performativity

The independent curator who brought about a paradigm shift in curation, and an important trailblazer in the field, Harald Szeemann is also an actor and stage designer. In his renowned exhibition “Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (1969)”, Szeemann reworked curating into a linkage between different disciplines conveying a core concept. His background in theater suggests that the role of a curator involves elements of performing arts, thus being interdisciplinary from the very beginning. Curation, indeed, has always had elements of performativity. 

The theme of this issue is “Curating Performativity.” It begins by discussing technicity, body, exhibition and performance, before going on to explore the intervention of performance in the research aspect of curatography. In this issue, “performative curating” does not refer to the production of performance works, but rather emphasizes a performative way of curating. “Curating Performativity” assembles the viewpoints of curators and researchers from Japan, Thailand and Taiwan to explore the connection between performance, installation, technology and curation in the context of contemporary art, and how artists and curators use the method of  “performativity” to reframe the exhibition as an experiential environment undergoing relational transformation. 

The first featured article “Choreographing Exhibitions: Curating Performativity in Taiwan” scrutinizes the shift toward performance in curatography. I use dance history to discuss how training approaches in different artistic disciplines influence the perspective from which interdisciplinary arts are appreciated. Through the concept of “performativity” proposed by performance theorist Judith Butler and the notion of “choreography” by dance scholar Susan L. Foster, I explore the possibility of using dance studies as a theoretical base for further research on performative curatography. Furthermore, I examine the context of and connections between contemporary performative curating in Europe and Taiwan. A number of exhibitions are studied in an attempt to understand the interrelationship through local social changes “in-between” Asia, and to propose a potential ‘localized performative curatography’ in Taiwan and Asia. 

“Living and Working Together in the Now Normal: Visual Arts and Co. at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre” is written by Pawit Mahasarinand, former artistic director of the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Center (BACC). With his background in theatre, Mahasarinand is mostly interested in the interdisciplinary aspects of contemporary art. Under his direction, the works of internationally celebrated choreographer Pichet Klunchun and the exhibition “A Possible Island?” by the Marina Abramovic Institute were presented at the BACC. Live arts exhibitions like these erase the physical constraints of the art space through the body, allowing participants to imagine the possibilities for future museum spaces. In addition, the contrast between performance and visual art may also suggest the negotiation and struggle BACC faces, located on prime real estate in the Bangkok city center, surrounded by fancy department stores, and nested between contemporary art and capitalism, art community and governmental control.
In “The Curatorial as A Praxis of Disobedience,” Miya Yoshida reflects on curatorial practices and their significance in the age of digital culture. She investigates cognitive recognition of technologies such as programs that filter and manipulate visual data. She notes that the embodied experience of technology has reached another level of techno-sensuality, forming a new sensory mechanism, further developing organology, and blurring the boundaries between organism and machine as a result. From blurred actions to gestures of knowing, and finally investigating the blurring of temporality, Yoshida describes, in a poetic way, how we can tease out a new dimension of curation by including bodily sense in our perception of technology.
These articles reflect on how to rethink and redefine art and curation from different perspectives, including curating in the Asian context, de-colonial performative exhibitions, performative curation and globalized curation. They also raise a number of related questions — how does performance redefine the format of exhibitions? Does performative curating imply an alternative approach to deal with the relation between locality and social changes? As “process” is valued most highly in participatory exhibitions, to what extent does curation itself become a performance event? If curation is regarded as a form of practicing disobedience, can knowledge and research of curatography be viewed as a possible realm for international collaboration?
“Curating Performativity” seeks to transgress artistic conventions. It focuses on interdisciplinary and post-human art activities outside of the traditional White Cube. By reflecting on technicity and corporeality, this issue brings about imaginations of a different future through curating.
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Author

I-Wen Chang is an Assistant Professor at Taipei National University of the Arts. She received her PhD in Culture and Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her areas of specialization include partner dance, Taiwanese theatrical dance, interdisciplinary and intercultural performance. I-Wen is the co-author of the book Pina Bausch: Dancing for the World (Taipei: National Performing Arts Center, 2007), Popular Dance Reader (Taipei: Dance Research Society Taiwan, 2019), and a performance critic for the Artist Magazine (Taipei) and Performing Arts Review Magazine (Taipei) since 2007. 

Archive
Archive

Issue 7 The Heterogeneous South
Editorial / The Heterogeneous SouthHongjohn Lin
The South - An art of asking and listening Manray Hsu
Uncharted Territory: The Roots of Curatorial Practices in Eastern Indonesia Ayos Purwoaji
South Fever: The South as a Method in Taiwan Contemporary CuratingPei-Yi Lu

Issue 6 The Beginning of Curating
Editorial / The Beginning of CuratingSandy Hsiu-chih Lo
Are Curators Really Needed? Bùi Kim Đĩnh
The Documents 15 and the Concept of Lumbung ruangrupa
The Three Axes of Curating: Ethics, Politics, and AestheticsSandy Hsiu-chih Lo

Issue 5 Curatorial Episteme
Editorial / Curatorial EpistemeHongjohn Lin
Epistemic EncountersHenk Slager
The Curatorial ThingHongjohn Lin
Ethics of CuratingMeng-Shi Chen

Issue 4 Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-Nationalism
Editorial /​ Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-NationalismManray Hsu
When Kacalisian Culture Meets the Vertical City: Contemporary Art from Greater SandimenManray Hsu
Pathways and Challenges: Art History in the Context of Global Contemporary ArtJau-Lan Guo
Curating Commemoration: Conditions of Political Choreography, a Performance Exhibition in RetrospectSophie Goltz

Issue 3 Curating Performativity
Editorial /​ Curating PerformativityI-wen Chang
Choreographing Exhibitions: Performative Curatorgraphy in TaiwanI-wen Chang
Living and Working Together in the Now Normal: Visual Arts and Co. at Bangkok Art and Culture CentrePawit Mahasarinand
The Curatorial as A Praxis of DisobedienceMiya Yoshida

Issue 2 Curators' Living Rooms
Editorial /​ Curators' Living RoomsSandy Hsiu-chih Lo
Extended Living Room: Space and Conversationruangrupa(Ade Darmawan, Mirwan Andan)
Freeing the Weights of the HabitualRaqs Media Collective
Curating TopographySandy Hsiu-chih Lo

Issue 1 Curatography
Editorial /​ One Step Forward, Two Steps BackwardHongjohn Lin
What is Curatography?Hongjohn Lin
Les fleurs américainesYoann Gourmel, Elodie Royer​
There are No Blank SlatesEileen Legaspi Ramirez​
Issue 7 The Heterogeneous South

Issue 6 The Beginning of Curating

Issue 5 Curatorial Episteme

Issue 4 Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-Nationalism

Issue 3 Curating Performativity

Issue 2 Curators' Living Rooms

Issue 1 Curatography