ISSUE 4 Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-Nationalism
Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-Nationalism

In the times of post-nationalism where different degrees of globalization and de-globalization have taken place, exhibition-making in biennials, museums, and art fairs reflects a curatorial consciousness that has always dealt with a nation’s historical past and cultural pride, or rather the unconscious as something repressed. Curating practices in the sense of a “cure” fabricate the politics of memory, i.e., what to remember, to forget and to resurrect, for the public to retrieve from the collective amnesia as a result of national traumas or bio-power control. Therefore the curatorial consciousness is to recognize what is excluded from the conventional national identity to include the otherness that has been ignored along its nation-building process, or even what is repressed under national traumas. Curatorial consciousness, being aware of the short-sighted vision of national cultures, can become a public therapy through making exhibitions in the post-nationality in which borders are constantly rendered unstable and reorganized in various geopolitical, ethnic-economical, or pandemic situations. 

Sophie Goltz’s “Curating Commemoration” indicates that the performative curating, a post-studio production mode of art, can well traverse from the collective trauma of the national past to the urgent plight of transnational immigrants. Taking the commemorative exhibition in Taiwan’s White Terror Memorial Park as the entry point, Goltz uses the curatorial project, “Conditions of Political Choreography” to demonstrate possible futurology between Germany and Israel since the 1990s through sets of performative interventions and exhibitions in activating what lurks in the trans-national history. Here, choreography is the curating poetic device to compose what is repressively invisible to the noticeable foreground, where multiple dialogues can be engaged. 

Jau-Lan Guo’s “Pathways and Challenges: Art History in the Context of Global Contemporary Art” investigated the knowledge production of today’s art history in relation to the current transnational exhibitions, where biennials, traveling museum shows, and art fairs are the popular norms. In Guo’s view, today’s art history has to reinvent itself from a story of the time in keeping art’s stylistic changes into a synchronic narrative of the here-and-now. The geographically expanded version of art histories, due to the long-term effect of colonialism and imperialism, cannot be overlooked without the cultural-political factors including the age-old issues with nationalism or the problematic definition of “Asia”. Today’s art history has to perform self-criticism from its own old enterprise within the parameter of statehood in becoming the knowledge of self-reflexivity.    

Manray Hsu’s curating practice in recent years has been concerning the indigeneity in the context of Taiwan’s nationality de facto. Drawing references from an anthropologic-historical archive, Hsu critiques several ideas such as the Austronesian and Zomia, which over-romanticized the indigenous cultures. The identity politics of the Taiwan natives cannot be regarded as culture essentialism, but rather as a para-logical construction along the development of Taiwan’s nation-state which can be traced back to the settler colonialism since the invasions of the Spanish, the Dutch, the Chinese, to the colonial subjugation of Japan and KMT, and finally to today’s 3-dimensional governmentality. Hsu’s curatorial practice is a critique of Han-centric political unconsciousness, which has always already repressed the native other, as a necessary conspiracy of post-nationalism for the prolonging ethnic apartheid.
Modern curating always goes hand in hand with nationalism, and the exhibition history of mega-museum such as the Louvre or the MOMA can sufficiently demonstrated the co-operation. However, curatorial consciousness is to cure the impaired situation in the times of post-nationalism, which can be well disguised as the camouflage of globalization, urbanization, and even technopoly. The self-definition of the curating subject is a reflexive attempt in understanding its guilty past and in promising a prominent future.
Share
Email
Twitter
Facebook
Author
Manray Hsu is an independent curator and critic. His intellectual work focuses on cultural conditions of globalization, the relationship between aesthetics and politics, and geopolitical situations of contemporary art. Manray Hsu has curated exhibitions include Wayward Economy (2005, Taipei); Liverpool Biennial (2006, co-consulted/curated with Gerardo Mosquera); Naked Life (2006, Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art); Taipei Biennial (2000, co-curated with Jerome Sans; 2008 co-curated with Vasif Kortun, Taipei Fine Arts Museum); Forum Biennial of Taiwanese Contemporary Art (2010, TCAC); Autostrada Biennale (2017, Kosovo); The South – An Art of Asking and Listening (2017, Kaohsiung Museum Of Fine Arts). Manray Hsu often engages in collective work on workshop, conference and publication in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
Archive
Archive

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

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 4 Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-Nationalism

Issue 3 Curating Performativity

Issue 2 Curators' Living Rooms

Issue 1 Curatography