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 3 Curating Performativity
Editorial /​ Curating Performativity I-wen Chang
Choreographing Exhibitions: Performative Curatorgraphy in Taiwan I-wen Chang
Living and Working Together in the Now Normal: Visual Arts and Co. at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Pawit Mahasarinand
The Curatorial as A Praxis of Disobedience Miya Yoshida
Issue 2 Curators' Living Rooms
Editorial /​ Curators' Living Rooms Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo
Extended Living Room: Space and Conversation ruangrupa(Ade Darmawan, Mirwan Andan)
Freeing the Weights of the Habitual Raqs Media Collective
Curating Topography Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo
Issue 1 Curatography
Editorial /​ One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward Hongjohn Lin
What is Curatography? Hongjohn Lin
Les fleurs américaines Yoann Gourmel, Elodie Royer​
There are No Blank Slates Eileen Legaspi Ramirez​
Issue 3 Curating Performativity
Issue 2 Curators' Living Rooms
Issue 1 Curatography